The maintenance of semi-natural habitats (skjøtsel)

"Skjøtsel" is a Norwegian word for the maintenance of habitats, species and landscapes. When human activity ceases in an area it will quickly become overgrown with vegetation. Many of the plant species that are dependent on human activity gradually disappear.

It is mainly certain types of landscapes, some specific species, and certain vegetation classes that humans have previously utilised, and that have been regularly cut or grazed, that are dependent on "skjøtsel". DNV performs different forms of "skjøtsel" to maintain areas such as these in a similar condition to how they traditionally have been. The work we perform compensates for the cessation of traditional human land management practices. Cutting, clearing, burning and the removal of undesirable species are some of the practices performed as part of "skjøtsel".

 

Many plant species associated with human activities are dependent on nutrient poor areas with good access to sunlight. Traditionally semi-natural grasslands (or meadows) were not fertilised and the vegetation was cut on a regular basis with an abundance of low growing light-demanding species. These species are poorly suited to modern agricultural practices, and we often find only remnants of these plant communities in remaining areas of meadows and other places where the vegetation is cut on a regular basis, such as roadsides.

 

The traditional use of mire vegetation has also ceased, in most places over a century ago. The fact that mires regenerate on such a slow basis, due to the wet conditions, means that these areas can be restored even after being abandoned for so long. By cutting and clearing these areas we can achieve the same species richness that existed before. Orchids are one such type of plant that benefit from this cutting and clearing. DNV is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of two large mires that had traditionally been cut and grazed.

 

DNV performs lots of work within "skjøtsel", especially in spring, summer and autumn. We do this on behalf of private landowners, municipalities and the County Governor. We can offer guidance concerning the “skjøtsel" of rare and threatened species and perform much of the practical work ourselves. Get in touch if this is of interest