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Vegetation development in Uller Eng since 1980

This website is a presentation of the Uller Eng in Hørret forest and the development that has taken place in the vegetation over the past 40 years. The Department of Ecoscience has been fortunate enough to take over a - under Danish conditions -unique time series that contains information about the development of vegetation and changes in the management history.

Uller Eng

Uller Eng is located in Hørret forest, south of Aarhus (56.084303 N, 10.196598 E). The meadow is approx. 4 hectares and is surrounded by forest. A small stream runs through the meadow, and the groundwater level is very high in some places. Uller Eng contains several different habitat types, from relatively dry meadows to rich meadows and several small springs. The vegetation is very species-rich, with the incidence of regionally rare species such as barren strawberry, common butterwort, northern bog sedge, pendulous sedge and woolly feather-moss (Tomentypnum nitens). In addition, there is a large population of broad-leaved marsh orchid. In the past, globe flower was found, but, unfortunately, this beautiful plant has disappeared. A large part of the meadow is dominated by plants such as lesser pond-sedge, wood clubrush, bottle sedge, meadowsweet, water mint, rough bluegrass, hard rush, common alder, big trefoil, yellow loosestrife and marsh-marigold.

Management of Uller Eng

Uller Eng can be found on maps dating back to 1793 and has been grazed and/or mowed in connection with the traditional production of hay on Danish meadows for centuries (Andresen 2005). In the period 1961-66, the meadow was not grazed for two years and some alder trees started growing. Even when grazing was resumed in 1967-72, more trees appeared. After 1972, management of the meadow ceased, and the vegetation became a mosaic of alder, tall perennials and true sedge habitats. But, fortunately, Aarhus Municipality decided to resume management with the aim of restoring the species-rich fen vegetation.

Uller Eng is currently grazed by cattle owned by a local cattle grazing guild. Grazing takes place as traditional summer grazing during which the animals are on the area from May to October. Aarhus Municipality owns Uller Eng and carries out supplementary nature management in the form of mowing and removal of red-and grey-willow.

If management in the future changes to e.g. year-round grazing or rewilding as part of  Aarhus Municipality’s reorganisation of the management of the city's forests, the time series could be used as a very valuable baseline and be an important contribution to the understanding of the effect of year-round grazing and rewilding. 

The project is financed by

Monitoring is funded in the period 2022-2027