• Calciphilous;
  • Drainage;
  • Ground-water composition;
  • Mire regeneration;
  • Vegetation reconstruction

Abstract. The Lieper Posse is a calcareous, ground water-fed fen system, situated in the end-moraine area of northeastern Germany. Nowadays the fen is partly drained and the vegetation adversely affected; hence regeneration measures are considered. Here we report a pilot survey of the actual vegetation cover in relation to the hydrological conditions of the system.

The vegetation in the central part of the fen system can be assigned to the Caricetum lasiocarpae, with small areas of Eleocharitetum quinqueflorae. The southern part of the system includes a Ledo-Pinetum sylvestris bog. Along the edges eutrophic forest types are present.

Peat analysis revealed that the system started as an open lake and subsequently changed into a rheophilous mire, ‘percolating mire’. The southern bog has only recently come into being. Hydrological investigations showed that the original mineral-rich ground water had to a large extent been replaced by acid rainwater; this is likely due to the construction of a ditch before 1850. The effects of this drainage on hydrological conditions and some aspects of soil fertility are discussed. Possible consequences for the restoration of calciphilous vegetation types are being considered. It is concluded that the vegetation development is predictable only to a limited extent, which is mainly due to a lack of knowledge on hysteresis effects in both vegetation and soil.