Plants and Animals
The forests in the Drents-Friese Wold are mostly cultivated and consist for 70 to 80% of conifers. In places with poor soil, like Berkenheuvel and the area north of Kale Duinen, there are large areas with Scots pine and craw berry forests. The large areas with craw berries are especially unique. In areas with richer soil, nature may develop oak-beech forests, with high natural values. Some typical coniferous forest species, like creeping lady’s tresses, little evergreen, twinflower and stiff club moss, can be found in the coniferous forestry of Smilde and Appelscha. The forests on shifting sand are characterised amongst others, by three-nerved sedge. In places with a slightly richer soil species like the May lily, multi-flowered Solomon’s seal, common holly, arctic starflower, hellebore and oak fern may flourish. The Appelscha forestry has a rich supply of mushrooms.
In the wet, lower lying places in the heathlands, bell heather, bog gentian, common cotton grass, shore weed, bog asphodel, spotted heath orchis, oblong and round leaved sundew and ordinary and brown beak sedge can be found. Common heather, wood rush, harebell, wild thyme, lousewort and the rare arnica montana grow in higher sand grounds. Special is the presence of three different types of club moss: Marsh club moss, running club moss and cypress spurge. The shifting sands are characterised by the sparse presence of plants like pearlwort spurrey, shepherd’s cress and various types of moss and lichens.
Round the fens, the three heather species, bell heather, crowberry and common heather are found, as well as fen berry species and plants like many-stalked spike-rush, cranberry, lavender heather, bladder worth and sometimes, bur reed. There is special place in the Smilde forestry where the bog bilberry grows, a very rare species in the Netherlands. In the brook valleys, species can be found pointing at relatively poor groundwater, like water violet, marsh marigold, water sedge and two-sided sedge.
An area rich in birds!
The variety in landscape types and associated plant growth has resulted in a rich animal realm.Especially birds are plentiful.Forest birds, grassland birds and swamp birds can be found within a short distance from each other.
Bird-watchers have taken stock on several occasions over the last twenty years, providing us with a good overview of the birds living in this area. Especially heath, fens, shifting sands and well-developed forests appear to be important bird biotopes. In open shifting sand areas, the woodlark and the tawny pipit can be found.The stone chate and the wheat ear are characteristic for the more densely vegetated dry heath. The rare nightjar may be seen in the transition area towards the forests. Waders like the black tailed godwit, redshank and common snipe are using the bog heath areas during migration. These species sometimes brood in these areas. Rough terrain with bramble bushes serve as the brooding grounds for the very rare red-backed shrike. Open water fens are used for brooding by the black tern, the black-necked grebe, the little grebe, the common teal and others.The waterside area is used for brooding by the marsh harrier. The extensive forests are an excellent brooding area for birds of prey and owls, like the honey buzzard, common buzzard, hawk, sparrow hawk and barn owl. The hobby uses forest edges and heath for its brooding. Five different types of woodpeckers have been spotted in the forests. Other special brooding birds that have been found in the forests are red poll, haw finch, nightingale and crossbill. The forests are, of course, of great importance for several more ‘common’ birds like the coal tit, spotted fly catcher, green finch and garden warbler. During migration, the Drents-Friese Wold is visited by several bird species. Especially the bean goose and birds of prey like the hen harrier and the peregrine falcon are noticeable.