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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Neue Hirtenwege im Pfälzerwald

Areas and habitats
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Federal state
Division II 2.1 Biotope Protection and Management; Protected Areas
Project I: 2017 - 2022, Project II: 2023 - 2033
Funding area (consisting of 7 individual Areas): 8,534 ha
German part in the biosphere reserve Pfälzerwald - Northern Vosges; Areas in the districts of Bad Dürkheim, Kaiserslautern, Südliche Weinstraße, Südwestpfalz, and in areas of Landau, Neustadt, Physiographic region: Pfälzerwald, Oberrheinisches Tiefland
Grant amount
Project I: 1.772.000 (federal funds) €

Project description

The Palatinate Forest is the largest contiguous forest area in Germany (1,800 km², forest share 75%). Typical for the landscape is the alternation of streams, valley meadows, orchards, forest and rock formations. The main focus of the project are the open land biotopes and their interconnections, especially:

  • wet meadows and stool or hump meadows (old culture of meadow irrigation)

  • mesophilic and lean grassland

  • orchard meadows

  • dry and semi-dry grasslands

  • Borstgrass meadows, dwarf shrub heaths

  • fallow vineyards (sporadic)

  • Dry stone walls

  • Semi-open areas and hedges

Various species of national responsibility of Germany are found in the promoted area, such as marsh shrew, pug bat, Bechstein's bat and golden fritillary butterfly (all species cat. 2 "strongly endangered" according to the Red List of Germany - RL -) and the broad-leaved orchid (RL 3). Leading species are Hoopoe, Little Owl, Cirl Bunting as well as Ant Blue (all RL 2). Rare species such as stag beetle, stone crayfish (both RL 2) and praying mantis (RL 3) should also be mentioned.

The occurrence of these and other species according to Annex II/ IV of the Habitats Directive as well as the Birds Directive also prove the high degree of naturalness of the assisted area. 25% of the assisted area is designated as Natura 2000 - sites of European importance.

The open land sites are used for cattle and sheep farming as well as for wine and fruit cultivation. In the partly structurally weak region, the near-natural tourist use of the attractive cultural landscape plays an important role. At the same time, especially along the Rhine River, the development areas are threatened by growing settlement and recreational pressure. In addition, open areas are disappearing due to bush encroachment and afforestation.

  • Preservation and development or interconnection of the open land biotope complexes as well as adjacent forest ecotones within the Pfälzerwald.

  • Preservation and promotion of the richness of the rare species and biotic communities associated with them

  • Establishment of a continuous system of pastoral trails and thus the preservation of the open countryside.

In project I, the first step is to develop the maintenance and development plan. This includes a socio-economic part in which, among other things, the situation of agriculture, primarily the current 10 shepherds with 3,500 sheep and goats will be examined. The planning will be accompanied by moderation and public relations.

If Project I is successfully completed, planning will be followed by implementation of the measures in a Project II.

Entity responsible for the project

Bezirksverband Pfalz (Träger des Biosphärenreservates Pfälzerwald)
Bismarckstrasse 17, 67655 Kaiserslautern

Project funding agencies

BMU/BfN, State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Pfalz District Association
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