German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Pressel heathland-woodland complex and peatlands (Presseler Heidewald- und Moorgebiet)


North-west Saxony, north-east of Leipzig

Physiographic unit:

Elbe-Mulde-Tiefland (Elbe-Mulde lowland)


Core area 4,380 ha

Project description:

peatland @ Ralf Forst (BfN)

The Pressel heathland-woodland complex and peatlands consist of broad-scale formations of peatland and carr woodlands (in particular the 'Wildenhainer Bruch' and 'Zadlitzbruch' areas as refugia for endangered biocoenoses of damp sites) surrounded by expansive pine forests. The area is composed of a large number of near-natural habitat types, some of which are endangered in Germany as a whole, including peatlands, swamps, wet meadows, near-natural sections of stream, dwarf shrub heaths and carr woodlands. Besides the remarkable avifauna - 169 bird species have been sighted including breeding bird species which are rare in Germany such as the common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), grey partridge (Perdix perdix), hobby (Falco subbuteo) and the crested lark (Galerida cristata) - the 35 attested mammal species, which include the Eurasian river otter (Lutra lutra), Elbe beaver (Castor fiber albicus), pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) and Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens) and several bat species, are of national importance. Furthermore, nationally endangered amphibians are found (e.g. the pool frog (Rana lessonae)), reptiles (e.g. the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis)) and a multitude of invertebrates, among them the broad-fingered crayfish (Astacus astacus) and four native white-faced darter species (Leucorrhinia sp., dragonflies). The area is also of national significance as Germany's most south-western breeding, flocking and resting site for the Eurasian crane (Grus grus). Conservation measures in progress aim to safeguard, develop and (where necessary) restore this landscape. The main priorities are stabilization and improvement of the groundwater balance to conserve the wetlands, conversion of monotonous forests into near-natural woodlands, reduction of nutrient run-off from agriculture into watercourses, and management of visitors.

Funding period:

1995 to 2009

Grant amount:

€8.9 million

Entity responsible for the project:

Zweckverband "Presseler Heidewald- und Moorgebiet" (Special-purpose association 'Pressel heathland-woodland complex and peatlands')
Weidenhain office
Schloßplatz 7
04860 Weidenhain, Germany

Tel./Fax: +49 3421 715141


Project funding agencies:

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) / Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Land (state) of Saxony, Zweckverband "Presseler Heidewald- und Moorgebiet" (Special-purpose association 'Pressel heathland-woodland complex and peatlands')

Liaison at BfN:

Ralf Forst, Unit FG II 2.3

Further information:

Natur und Landschaft (Nature and landscape, German language journal), Volume 71 (1996), Issue 7/8: 324 - 329 (Ordering instructions, only in German)

...find out more on the Internet (only in German)

Last Change: 19/03/2021