German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

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Animals, plants and fungi

Distribution centres of indicator species for near-natural habitats in Germany

Most near-natural habitats found in upland, mountain

Near-natural habitats such as peatlands, heaths and dry grassland are primarily found in the uplands and mountains and in parts of the eastern German and Holstein lakes and coastal regions. Regions with particularly large numbers of near-natural habitats can be identified and presented on maps by reference to characteristics plant species.


Certain plant species are characteristic of near-natural habitats such as peatlands, heaths and dry grassland. An abundance of such indicator species indicates regions with a large number of near-natural habitats (near-natural diversity hotspots). These include uplands and mountainous regions and parts of the eastern German and Holstein lakes and coastal regions. By contrast, regions with large-scale intensive farming - as with large urban conurbations - have only small numbers of indicator species for near-natural habitats.

The distribution of near-natural diversity hotspots can be presented in map form using data from vascular plant surveys that have been carried out for many decades (flora mapping data). For this purpose, the number of indicator species for near-natural habitats is determined as a percentage of the total number of species recorded for each map grid cell (each sheet in the standard German 1:25,000 topographic map series).

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