Heathland is a vegetation community dominated by dwarf shrubs, such as ling, bell-heather, crowberry, and bilberry, and hardly any or no trees and larger bushes. Heathland is mainly found on higher sandy ground and in dune areas.
Although the total area of heathland in the Netherlands has decreased substantially in the last hundred years, but its still amounts to around 35 thousand hectares, excluding drift sand and moorland.
Without grazing, burning off, cutting or sod cutting, heathland will spontaneously evolve into woods. When the management of heathland was discontinued in the 1960s, the area of decreased further as it was taken over by trees and bushes.
Grass takes over heathland as a result of an increase in nitrogen. Grazing by sheep and cattle or sod cutting are the most common methods to prevent this.