We present a landscape model to investigate the ecological consequences and costs of different management regimes in semi-natural grasslands. The model integrates dynamic abiotic conditions, management (i.e. disturbance) regime and response of more than 50 characteristic plant and insect species by modelling the dynamics of relevant niche parameters as predictors for species distribution models. We compare our results for exemplary scenarios differing in spatial and temporal scales and exemplary species belonging to different functional groups through several steps of aggregation. Our analysis aims at the question whether an infrequent massive disturbance by rototilling can serve as a less expensive alternative to annual mowing for preserving the characteristic species composition of open dry grasslands in Southern Germany. Rototilling results in a shifting mosaic determining the habitat quality for plant and animal species that may reduce the survival of local or regional populations. For some meadow species as well as the encroaching shrub species, rototilling has a detrimental effect on regional habitat quality. Other species, e.g. weeds and annual pioneers, strongly benefit or show only negligible reaction. Since this is a multi-objective problem, there is a no magic bullet in selecting an optimum scenario of measures. But by visualising the trade-off between ecological consequences and costs, our model is a valuable tool for conservation managers providing a sound scientific basis for management decisions relying on available ecological knowledge. It is also an interesting example for a model describing complex communities in a relatively simple way, simultaneously considering the main driving factors.