Mountain meadows are found in the uplands from an altitude of approximately 500 metres above sea level. They are one of a group of meadows with moderate water content and relatively low nutrient levels known in German as Frischwiesen. This ecological and geographical designation can be broken down further on the basis of vegetation. Following this definition, only specific species-rich meadow types are considered mountain meadows. These belong to the group of yellow oat-grass mountain meadows. Considering the climatic condi-tions in the mountains (short growing periods, high precipitation, low average annual temperatures), the mountain meadows are relatively heavily cultivated. This promotes uncompetitive species.
Depending on location and usage, these grass- and herb-rich meadows of relatively uncrowded medium-height vegetation contrast with the tall-oat-grass meadows of the lowlands and hill country and low- and easy-growing mat-grass sward. Land use, which defines the structure and cultural value of all meadows, must be comparatively extensive. A hay harvest following the first growth is a typical feature of the utilisation of moun-tain meadows. Depending on the productivity of the soil, the summer weather and the altitude of the moun-tain meadow, one or two further growth cycles may be used for harvest or animal grazing.
During their period of historical use, the mountain meadows were fertilised only sparingly – and primarily in the areas near settlements. Nowadays, the fields receive approximately as much nitrogen from the rain as was added to the fields using fertiliser a century ago. There is therefore no ecological need to fertilise the flowering mountain meadows to increase their yield. Chalk can be added occasionally to coun-teract acidification of the soil. To date, the mountain meadows of Saxony have only been studied in context by Hundt (1964). Author: Dr. Wolfgang Böhnert Böhnert, Wolfgang (2001): “Blütenbunte Bergwiesen im Naturpark ‘Erzgebirge/Vogtland’” In: Natur-park Spezial issue 4