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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Feldberg and Belchen hills with upper Wiese river valley (Feldberg - Belchen - Oberes Wiesental)

Agriculture and forestry
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Core area of the southern part of the Upper Black Forest
Federal state
Division I 2.4 Nature Conservation in Agriculture
Funding phase I: 2002 bis 2005 (planning), Funding phase II: 2005 bis 2012 (implementation)
Core area: 10.074 ha
Baden-Württemberg, Feldberg area and Belchen along with the upper Wiese river valley and catchment area (in the districts of Lörrach, Waldshut and Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald)
Grant amount
Funding phase I: 700.000 €, Funding phase II: 5.200.000 €

Project description

The area includes the Feldberg, Herzogenhorn and Belchen hills which are the highest hills of the Black Forest region. It is characterized by small-scale agricultural land use alternating with extensive areas of forest. The share of forests in the total area is 76% and includes structurally rich and species-rich deciduous woodlands such as:

  • Acidophilous beech forest or fir - beech forest (Luzulo-Fagetum) (predominant natural woodland community on medium sites),
  • Mixed fir - spruce forest (Luzulo-Abietetum) (in the more continental upland areas of the eastern Feldberg region),
  • Mixed beech and fir forest (Asperulo-Fagion / Abieti-Fagetum)
  • Montane mixed sycamore - beech forests with tall herbaceous undergrowth (Aceri-Fagion, Aceri-Fagetum) (limited to uplands, most species-rich woodland community of the Black Forest region).

Other woodland communities in isolated patch habitats include, for example, spruce forests with greater whipwort (Bazzanio-Piceetum), birch carr on the edge of raised bogs, grey alder alluvial woodlands in the Feldberg region, as well as Aceri-Fraxinetum forests and Aceri-Tilietum mixed forests of slopes and ravines. 

A further characteristic are the extensive nutrient-poor pastures (the so-called 'Weidfelder' = grazing fields) which are used as common grazing areas to this day. Remnants from the last ice age (corries, moraines, mamillated rocks) still visually dominate the landscape (e.g. the corrie "Gletscherkessel Präg"). 

The region is home to numerous species endangered on a national scale, e.g. the alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus), northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii), greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), hazel hen (Tetrastes bonasia), rock bunting (Emberiza cia), marsh felwort (Swertia perennis), flat sedge (Blysmus compressus) and green-winged orchid (Orchis morio).

The main objective of the project is to maintain and develop the high species diversity and structural diversity of the area and to link the habitats more closely. More specifically the objectives are:

  • To maintain the open character of the existing open and agriculturally used areas and to instigate land use practices that are in keeping with conservation objectives, especially with regard to the 'Weidfelder'
  • To increase the share of near-natural woodlands;
  • To minimize negative impacts of intense recreational use, i.a. in order to protect species requiring large territories and those that are sensitive to disturbance.

Measures planned in order to achieve these objectives primarily include initial restoration measures (i.a. scrub removal, initial mowing, improvement of transitional habitats between forests and grasslands, forest management measures, and visitor management) and site purchases.

Project executing agencies

Zweckverband Naturschutzgroßprojekt | Feldberg - Belchen - Oberes Wiesental
Talstr. 22, 79677 Schönau i. Schw.

Project funding agencies

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)/ Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Land (state) Baden - Württemberg, Zweckverband (special-purpose association) Naturschutzgroßprojekt Feldberg - Belchen - Oberes Wiesental
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