LIFE Project Cover Photo

Ville Forests

Reference: LIFE13 NAT/DE/000147 | Acronym: LIFE Forests-waterworlds



Large proportions of Germany’s oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli habitat are found in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). This project covers one of the two main sites of this habitat type in NRW. Due to the large extension of this habitat type, the project site is of national and European value.

Changes in natural hydrology patterns remain a key threat for this forest type. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to optimise the site’s hydrology through a closure of drainage ditches and raising of the water level. Such measures should also help to stabilise populations of several endangered amphibian species.


The LIFE Forests-waterworlds project’s main objective centred on conserving and developing oak-hornbeam forests, beech forests and lowland hay meadows in the targeted areas. The project also seeked to preserve and support woodland bird species (black, middle spotted and grey-headed woodpeckers) through the protection of dead wood and the management of suitable areas. The improvement of valuable water and wet habitats in the areas was also planned, in order to preserve and support the existing populations of warty newt, midwife toad and agile frog.



The LIFE Forests-waterworlds project conserved oak-hornbeam forests, beech forests, lowland hay meadows (and other habitat types of the EU Habitats Directive), and woodland bird species, in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany.

The project team protected and restored the natural water balance in the targeted areas through management actions. They extensively re-wetted 533 ha via controls on drainage ditches. In particular, this will improve the long-term conservation status of oak-hornbeam forests.

They initiated the development of forest habitats on nearly 234 ha. Natural processes of ecological succession were also supported, especially in beech woodlands. These actions will improve the connectivity between existing forest habitats.

In the actively-managed forests, the project team secured a total of 11 713 trees as biotope and habitat trees. This corresponds to an average of 13.3 trees/ha in the forest stand of native tree species older than 100 years.

The project team introduced coppice structures, in combination with permanent protection and management of dead wood to benefit species such as woodpeckers, particularly in oak-hornbeam forests. Coppice with standard management was introduced on 40 ha.

Management of meadows was carried out on 12 ha. The project team restored, and improved connectivity between, patches of Nardus grasslands, Molinia meadows, and Lowland hay meadows.

The project team constructed or improved a total of 81 water bodies of differing sizes (11 outside the LIFE project, but within project areas). These have been accepted as spawning sites by the targeted amphibian species, such as agile frog, great crested newt, warty newt, and midwife toad (listed in the Habitats Directive). In one of the water bodies, the very rare plant Luronium natans (Habitats Directive Annex II, IV) reoccurred from the dormant seed bank.

All 18 project sites were transferred to the voluntary nature conservation contract scheme of the federal state NRW, and are being further managed by the farmers of the region.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan/After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Reference: LIFE13 NAT/DE/000147
Acronym: LIFE Forests-waterworlds
Start Date: 01/07/2014
End Date: 31/12/2020
Total Eligible Budget: 3,298,299 €
EU Contribution: 1,649,149 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW, Regionalforstamt Rhein-Sieg-Erft
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Krewelstrae 7, 53783, Eitorf,
Contact Person: External Team NEEMO-PARTICIP
Email: Send Email

LIFE Project Map



  • Forests


  • forest ecosystem
  • protected area
  • nature conservation


  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"
  • 6410 - "Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)"
  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9130 - Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9160 - Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli


  • Dendrocopos medius
  • Dryocopus martius
  • Picus canus
  • Triturus cristatus
  • Rana dalmatina
  • Alytes obstetricans


Type Code Name
SCI DE5207303 Altwald Ville
SCI DE5207301 Waldville
SCI DE5207304 Villewälder bei Bornheim
SPA DE5308401 Vogelschutzgebiet Kottenforst-Waldville
SCI DE5308303 Waldreservat Kottenforst


Name Type
Landesbetrieb Wald und HolzNordrhein-Westfalen, Regionalforstamt Rhein-Sieg-Erft, Germany Coordinator
Biologische Station Bonn / Rhein-Erft e.V., Germany Participant