The northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is very rare throughout Europe and therefore strictly protected. The Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall is one of the few areas in Luxembourg where it can still be found. Conservation of the Mëllerdall population is therefore of great importance.
Causes of the northern crested newt’s decline:
- destruction or alteration of still waters (ponds and pools) in the open landscape
- heavy use of fertilizers in the environment leads to the waters being overloaded with nutrients (eutrophication)
- spread of copses on the banks and consequently greater shading of the expanse of water
- destruction of habitats in the landscape (for example, hedges, wetlands and field copses)
- obstacles or overly great distances between the crested newt populations make exchanges difficult (isolation)
- losses caused by road traffic during the northern crested newt’s migrations between expanses of water.
In recent years, the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall has conducted a survey of the northern crested newt population and defined practical conservation measures. The core of the project is the upgrading of various pools in which the northern crested newt lives. For this purpose, contracts have been negotiated with the neighbouring farmers to regulate an appropriate, more extensive management of the surface areas. In addition, our forest wardens intentionally remove trees that overshadow the ponds too much, thus reducing the quality of the habitat for the crested newt.
In addition, some landfills are removed selectively. The ponds are also silted up in places: some such pools are dredged and thus made inhabitable again for the crested newt.
Like many other nature conservation projects in the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall, the northern crested newt project is being implemented in close cooperation with the Nature and Forestry Administration and external experts.