Staatsbosbeheer (Dutch Forestry Commission)

Staatsbosbeheer owns approximately 5,000 hectares of natural and woodland area in this former inland sea. The Lauwersmeer area, to the extent that it is the property of Staatsbosbeheer, is managed as the lower reaches of a rain-fed river. This type of area requires the presence of open water and large grassy meadows. A great deal of work is required to bring this about, since nature takes little notice of human notions: doing nothing in the Lauwersmeer area would eventually lead to it being overrun with vegetation and to the untrammelled growth of woodland.
In order to prevent this, Staatsbosbeheer makes use of large grazing animals. Approximately 300 Scottish Highland cattle and 150 Konik horses (a tough breed originally from Poland) help Staatsbosbeheer to prevent the plants from taking over. In the summer an extra couple of hundred domesticated cattle and horses belonging to local farmers are also employed.

(c) foto: Jörgen de Bruin / Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer