LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoration of habitats for root vole *Microtus oeconomus mehelyi

Reference: LIFE17 NAT/SK/000621 | Acronym: LIFE Microtus II



The root vole Microtus oeconomus mehelyi is an endemic and relict species of the Pannonian lowland. Isolated populations survive in western (especially north-western) Hungary, eastern Austria and south-western Slovakia. It is listed in the Habitats Directive as a priority species for conservation, and also in the Bern Convention and the IUCN Red List. It occupies freshwater marshes, floodplains and dense vegetation along streams. The root vole’s habitat requirements are narrow and specific, and it is extremely sensitive to changes of environmental conditions. The main threat to the species is loss of suitable habitats, due to the drainage of wet meadows and grasslands in the Danube lowlands to create arable land. This is often abandoned, becoming overgrown by invasive and ruderal vegetation. A previous LIFE project (LIFE08 NAT/SK/000239), restored wetlands, wet meadows and reed beds, and created bio-corridors for Microtus oeconomus mehelyi. Monitoring of this work showed that vole populations successful re-colonised restored habitats, as a result of the changed management and raised water levels.


The LIFE Microtus II project aims at restoring habitat for the Pannonic root vole Microtus oeconomus mehelyi, particularly wetlands, streams, marshlands and wet meadows in various stages of degradation. Furthermore, the project aims to create ecological corridors and ‘stepping stones’, to connect existing isolated vole habitats and restored habitats. This will enable migration and gene flow to prevent genetic isolation and the degradation of the species. The project will increase scientific knowledge about the species, especially on the genetic structure of the population and the threat from competing invasive species. Finally, the project will raise the awareness about the root vole, the necessary conservation measures, and the general importance of wetland ecosystems.

The project directly implements the Habitats Directive. In addition, once the grassland habitats are restored they will be managed by local stakeholders to maintain biodiversity under the Common Agricultural Policy, by restoring and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture.

Expected results:

  • Acquisition of at least 113 ha of land for nature protection;
  • Restoration of at least 300 ha and 250 ha of root vole habitat in Slovakia and Austria, respectively, and restoration of over 30 ha of wetlands and 2 500 m of stream side-branches in Hungary;
  • Creation of at least 50 km of ecological corridors and ‘stepping stones’ for voles;
  • Production and dissemination of information materials;
  • Installation of an educational root vole exhibition in a visitors’ centre;
  • Construction of viewing towers/platforms;
  • Organisation of educational workshops, both inside and outside the project area, and field excursions for students and researchers who will be trained in telemetry to help replicate project methods;
  • At least a 20 % increase of Microtus oeconomus mehelyi abundance in restored habitats.


    Reference: LIFE17 NAT/SK/000621
    Acronym: LIFE Microtus II
    Start Date: 01/09/2018
    End Date: 31/08/2025
    Total Eligible Budget: 5,586,121 €
    EU Contribution: 4,189,588 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Na Rivire 7/A, 84104, Bratislava,
    Contact Person: Jakub SIGMUND
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Mammals


    • biotope network
    • endemic species
    • environmental education
    • wetland
    • restoration measure
    • land purchase


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (01.06.1982)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Microtus oeconomus mehelyi


    Type Code Name
    SPA AT1110137 Neusiedler See - Nordöstliches Leithagebirge
    SPA HUFH30004 Szigetköz
    SCI SKUEV0070 Martovska mokrad
    SCI SKUEV0073 Listove jazero
    SCI SKUEV0077 Dunajske trstiny
    SCI SKUEV0090 Dunajske luhy
    SCI SKUEV0093 Severny Bodicky kanal
    SCI SKUEV0155 Aluvium Starej Nitry
    SCI SKUEV0279 Sur
    SCI SKUEV0295 Biskupicke luhy
    SCI SKUEV0395 Pohrebiste
    SCI SKUEV0552 Lohotsky mociar


    Name Type
    Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development Coordinator
    Nationalparkgesellschaft Neusiedler See - Seewinkel, Austria Participant
    North-Transdanubian Water Directorate (Éduvizig), Hungary Participant
    Štátna ochrana prírody Slovenskej republiky (State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic ), Slovakia Participant
    Comenius University in Bratislava - Faculty of Natural Sciences, Slovakia Participant
    Výskumný ústav vodného hospodárstva (Water Research Institute), Slovakia Participant
    Pisztráng Kör Waldorf Természetvédö és Természetjáró Egyesület / Trout Circle Association, Hungary Participant