The alder swamps of the "Knippertzbachtal" and the "Mühlenbachtal" are invaluable near-natural wetlands. Because such woodlands have been become rare, the Knippertzbachtal and the Mühlenbachtal areas have been designated as protected nature reserves and have been accorded European protection as Natura 2000-sites. Despite the ban on all activities that have negative impact, both nature preserves are exposed to a variety of enviromental burdens. This thesis strives to show, how these areas could be more effectively protected and which methods could reduce or eliminate the relevant burdens. The aim of the study described in this thesis has been to identify what endangers these areas and to propose solutions. The results of the study show, that enormous potential exists for improved protection of these habitats. Through numerous conservation and also development measures, the present problems around regional structure and land use could be solved. However, with the approval of opencast brown coal mining at Garzweiler I and II, a sword of Damocles hangs above more than these two nature reserves, due to the accompanying threat of lowering the groundwater level. Any reduction in the groundwater level would cause considerable ecological change because reductions of only decimetres already damage wetlands irreversibly. The mining company has been obliged to implement measures to avoid or minimize negative impacts. Artificial influent seepage will be implemented with great technical effort and at great cost, in an attempt to counteract dehydration and to prevent further negative impacts. Even so, the ecological effectiveness of the influent seepage measures is not certain, nor can the long-term effectiveness of this strategy be foreseen.