© BSP 2013 Heathland ecology Intensive mangement results in monotonous heather vegetation. Traditional farming (top) results in a landscape with much higher biodiversity. Restoration of acidified heathland soils, whilst maintaining current biodiversity, is still a challenge. In many parts of Europe, heathlands are replacing forest ecosystems as a result of human land use. Our interests focus on causal relationships between small scale heathland farming in creating heathlands of high biodiversity value, and, particularly in the Netherlands, the effects of acidification and nitrogen deposition on the ongoing decline of heathland biodiversity. Sod-cutting has been a widely used tool to extract nitrogen from heathland ecosystems. However, other nutrients are also removed from the ecosystem by this practice, resulting in biodiversity-poor heathland communities. Current developments in heathland management emphasise returning nutrients to heathland ecosystems, solving the problems of low mineral availability, acidification, and the disbalance in nitrogen to mineral ratios.