German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


The Murnau peatlands (Murnauer Moos)



Physiographic unit:

Voralpines Hügel- und Moorland (Pre-alpine hill country and peatland)


Core area 6,939 ha

Project description:

Murnau peatlands @ BfN
Murnau peatlands

In terms of its scale and quality, this area represents the most significant of the pre-alpine peatland complexes in Central Europe. The site combines broad-scale 'straw meadows', fens and transition mires, spring pits, oxbows and relic lakes with fully formed raised bogs to form a complex of habitats with many rare and endangered animals and plants. The species categorized as endangered at national level include autumn lady's-tresses (Spiranthes spiralis), bug orchid (Orchis coriophora), fen orchid (Liparis loeselii), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica), moor-king (Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum), Hudson Bay sedge (Carex heleonastes), slender cotton-grass (Eriophorum gracile), moor rush (Juncus stygius), marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus), swamp willow (Salix myrtilloides), the shrub birch (Betula humilis), along with the corncrake (Crex crex), the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), the northern shrike (Lanius excubitor excubitor) and the adder (Vipera berus).

The objective of the project is broad-scale work to safeguard the long-term integrity of natural or near-natural habitats, particularly the damp sites, nutrient-poor grasslands, bog forests and the forests of the rocky 'Köchel' hills, and to develop them in line with the principles of nature conservation. Diverse habitats like the 'Murnauer Moos' would not survive if their near-natural elements such as the bogs were isolated within an environment otherwise subjected to intensive use. So far it has been possible to maintain traditional patterns of use on a broad scale on sites all around the bogs, for instance extensive pastures or 'straw meadows' ('Streuwiesen', meadows managed extensively without fertilization, mown once every 1, 2 or 3 years, the straw traditionally being used for stable litter). Particularly in southern parts of the region, however, plots of land have been enlarged in recent years and intensification of agricultural land-use has been observed. Alongside this, the abandonment of use of the 'straw meadows' is having an increasingly negative impact on the structure and populations of flora and fauna. Hence a central concern of this conservation project is to conserve the 'straw meadows' in the long term. Where sites are becoming overgrown with encroaching scrub or reeds due to abandonment of use, suitable measures will be taken to restore the original habitats.

Support period:

1992 to 2003

Level of funding:

17.84 Mio. Euro

Project funding agencies:

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Land (state) of Bavaria, Landkreis (district) of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Liaison within BfN:

Dr. Volker Scherfose, Unit FG II 2.3

Further information:

Natur und Landschaft (Nature and landscape, German language journal), Volume 69 (1994), Issue 7/8, 362 - 368 (Ordering instructions, only in German)

Last Change: 19/03/2021