The six Life project sites have all developed on inland dunes having emerged after the last ice age (ca. 10,000 years ago) and are now situated on the so-called low terraces of the River Rhine and River Lippe. These are the areas now adjacent to the rivers’ natural floodplains, i.e. they are no longer being flooded (even in case of a crevasse).
The sandy soils cannot retain any nutrients. The original river sand also lacks lime, which makes the soil acidic. Where the River Rhine and the River Lippe once sedimented flood clay, now precipitation water is retained. If there is no clay and the sand thus cannot retain water, the soil dries out soon after even a heavy rainfall.
These conditions have led to the formation of the acidophilous oak woods, heath meres, moors, wet and also dry heaths and neglected sand grassland now part of the European natural heritage and our project. We will now present you the most important habitats found in the six Natura2000 sites.