The core area encompasses the portion of the Hohe Schrecke hill ridge that falls within the state of Thuringia and also the Beichlinger Schmücke ridge (Thuringia). The Hohe Schrecke is not only of outstanding national importance, it is also important internationally as part of the Natura 2000 European network of protected areas. It is one of the largest unbroken areas of acidophilous mixed beech forest in Central Europe, featuring associations such as Luzulo-Fagetum and Asperulo-Fagetum beech forest, with some stands displaying the conditions of ancient forest. The area also includes large areas of oak and mixed oak forest (Stellario-Carpinetum and Galio-Carpinetum oak-hornbeam forest). Also notable are forests of slopes, screes and ravines with large proportions of old trees and dead wood.
The area’s fauna and flora include large numbers of rare and threatened species, including orchids such as bee orchid and three-toothed orchid and bat species such as barbastelle, Bechstein’s bat, mouse-eared bat and horseshoe bat.
The primary aims of the project are the preservation and development of forest ecosystems in conformity with nature conservation objectives. Among other things, the area is intended to assume an important role in the trans-regional ecological network (for example as a wildcat corridor). Measures planned to date include promotion of exemplary, sustainable forest management and cessation of use in large areas of forest.
A characteristic feature of the project, which was among the five prize-winning projects in the idee.natur competition, is that it not only promotes nature conservation measures but also encourages regional development in accordance with nature conservation goals (for example with the planning of tourist offerings and improved regional marketing). Additional funding is provided for this purpose by the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELI).