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Bundesamt für Naturschutz


Areas and habitats
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Federal state
Division II 2.1 Biotope Protection and Management; Protected Areas
Funding Phase I: 2010 - 2013 (development and management planning), Funding phase II: 2015 - 2024 (implementation)
core area: 7,640 ha
Hesse, Osthessisches Bergland Physiographic unit: Hoher/Unterer Vogelsberg
Grant amount
Funding phase I: 800.000 €, Funding phase II: 9.900.000 €

Project description

The Vogelsberg is the largest contiguous basalt massif in Central Europe. Outstanding near-natural vegetation units include the mixed beech forest of the Oberwald. These are surrounded by richly structured cultural landscapes with numerous springs and watercourses; the montane hay meadows are notably of national importance. 

Nationally threatened plant species include green-winged orchid, large brown clover, globe-flower, arnica, common lousewort, lesser panicled sedge, flea sedge and large pink. The region’s great conservation value is also demonstrated by the presence of fauna such as Miller’s water shrew, grey long-eared bat, great grey shrike, black stork, bog fritillary, clouded Apollo, poplar admiral, hermit beetle, the Rhön spring snail Bythinella compressa and thick-shelled river mussel.

The project has a three-fold vision:

Conservation and development of a unique cultural landscape and particular open countryside habitats

Improving the conservation status of forest habitats and habitats rich in springs and watercourses

Conservation and promotion of a rich diversity of rare and threatened species and ecological communities

Based on the prevailing threats and the project vision, the project’s objectives are as follows: 

For open countryside habitats, conservation and protection of extensively farmed grassland communities, creation of species-rich grassland, integration of grassland farming methods compatible with nature conservation objectives into economically sustainable production cycles, conservation and protection of extensively farmed arable communities, regeneration and extensivisation of intensive farmed arable land, protection of hedgerows, conservation and expansion of stocks of old animal breeds, and conservation and protection of fens and springs.

For forest habitats, conservation and protection of the valuable habitats with special focus on beech forest, establishing natural succession areas covering some 240 ha, regenerating forest stands transformed by forestry, and conservation and protection of rocky outcrops, springs and boulder fields.

For wet habitats, regeneration of modified springs, renaturalisation of rivers and restoration of continuity, regeneration of bogs, fens and mires, wet forest habitats, standing waterbodies, and distributed water retention.

Entity responsible for the project

Natur- und Lebensraum Vogelsberg e. V.
Adolf-Spieß-Str. 34, 36341 Lauterbach

Project funding agencies

BMU/BfN, Land Hessen, Natur- und Lebensraum Vogelsberg e. V.
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