German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Kyffhäuser mountains


Thuringia, Kyffhäuser mountains near Bad Frankenhausen

Physiographic unit:

Thüringer Becken mit Randplatten (Thuringian Basin and surrounding area)


The core area comprises 3,155 ha

Project description:

flock of sheep © Volker Scherfose (BfN)
flock of sheep

The gypsum karst area of the southern edge of the Kyffhäuser mountains is a geological and ecological site of national importance. In the xerothermic oligotrophic and dry grassland communities, rocky heaths, karst-beech forests and oak-mixed forests of the Kyffhäuser mountains many species are found whose main area of distribution is in south-eastern Europe.

The endangered vascular plants include Adonis flammea (one of the pheasant's eyes), the corncockle (Agrostemma githago), thorow wax (Bupleurum rotundifolium), European bellflower (Campanula bononiensis), autumn gentian (Gentiana amarella), the broomrape species Orobanche arenaria and Orobanche artemisiae campestris, cow cockle (Vaccaria hispanica) and purple viper's grass (Scorzonera purpurea). Significant in ornithological terms is the occurrence of barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria), wryneck (Jynx torquilla), woodlark (Lullula arborea), northern shrike (Lanius excubitor excubitor), stonechat (Saxicola torquata) and all seven European species of woodpeckers (Picidae). The Kyffhäuser provides habitats for fourteen bat species including four species listed in the Habitats Directive (Annex II): The barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii). This is the only site in Germany where the grasshopper Stenobothrus crassipes is found, while populations of the grasshopper Stenobothrus nigromaculatus and the heath grasshopper (Chortippus vagans) are of national significance. Butterflies worth mentioning include the following highly endangered species: The hermit (Chazara briseis), baton blue (Pseudophilotes baton), dryad (Minois dryas), damon blue (Agrodiaetus damon) and poplar admiral (Limenitis populi).

The main project objectives are to control the bush encroachment onto the open oligotrophic and steppe grasslands with their numerous species specially adapted to these habitats, and to develop near-natural mixed beech forests including sub-areas which are no longer managed in any way. The long-term management of the nutrient-poor grasslands will be ensured by sheep grazing.

Support period:

1997 to 2008

Level of funding:

6.29 Mio. Euro

Project executing agencies:

Markt 8
99706 Sondershausen, Germany

Tel.: +49 3632 741233; Fax: +49 3632 240

Project funding agencies:

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Land (state) of Thuringia, Kyffhäuserkreis

Liaison within BfN:

Dr. Volker Scherfose, Unit FG II 2.3

Further information:

Natur und Landschaft (Nature and landscape, German language journal), Volume 73 (1998), Issue 7/8: 327-333 (Ordering instructions, only in German)
Natur und Landschaft (Nature and landscape, German language journal), Volume 85 (2010), Issue 11: 453-459

Last Change: 19/03/2021