All excursions will take place Friday, 9th September 2016

Points of departure and return will be announced during the conference at the latest.

Old Forests in and around the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park

(Host: Stefan Brunzel)

On steep and rocky slopes, two old forests tower over the Edersee Reservoir, an artificial lake in Northern Hesse: the Kahle Hardt and the Hünselburg are two gems at the northern border of the young Kellerwald-Edersee National Park. Both of these forests provide magnificent views on the mountains and forests of the national park. The respective forest communities are shaped by extreme soil and morphological conditions: the Kahle Hardt is an oak forest estimated to be more than 500 years old. It is classified as the phytocoenological unit Quercion-robori-petreae with several xero-thermophilous species as remnants of more favourable climatic conditions; the Hünselburg is a lime-elm-maple-tree forest (Tilio-Acerion) on vast talus slopes without any historical records of forestal management. Although the Hünselburg forest gives the impression of being untouched by man, it is known for its celtic ramparts.

Departure – 08:00 a.m., Return – ca. 05:00 p.m.

Costs: 40 EUR (including transport and lunch box)

Further information:

Oaks in the Kahle Hardt forest - slow growth and extreme conditions resulted in sometimes bizarre shapes.

Steep slopes made the use of forests of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park unprofitable - and thus protected unique habitats.

Mountain heathlands in the Hochsauerland region

(Guided by Birgit Ziegenhagen, Thomas Fartmann and Stefan Wallney)

In the midst of spruce and beech forests, the largest mountain heathland complex of Northwest Germany is located in the region Hochsauerland. The heathland is under protection as a nature reserve named Neuer Hagen, on the crest of the Rothaargebirge with an elevation of about 800 m (asl) and an extension of 75 ha. It is characterised by a beautiful rough landscape with a mosaic of dominant heathland vegetation and spring fens and bogs at the margins. During this excursion, habitats and species will be presented while historical landuse as the former driver of the system will be illustrated by pictures. Further topics will shed light on the conflicts between conservation targets and tourism as well as on management and restoration scenarios.

Departure – 09:00 a.m., Return – ca. 04:00 - 05:00 p.m.

There will be a possibility to have lunch in a small taverna close to the heathland.

Costs: 32 EUR (only transport, lunch is not included)

Further information:
Schubert, W., Trappmann, R., Gräf, B. (2008): Erhalt und Restitution von Heiden im östlichen Hochsauerlandkreis. Abhandlungen aus dem Westfälischen Museum für Naturkunde 70: 261-276.

Some pine trees managed to survive in the rough landscape, amidst heathlands, fens and bogs.

Fruits and flowers on Vaccinium vitis-idaea.

View from Neuer Hagen.

Treasures of the biosphere reserve Rhön

(Host: Stephan Imhof)

The Rhön is a low mountain range with a high organismic diversity. In 1991 it became one of now 15 German UNESCO biosphere reserves and celebrates its 25th anniversary as a reserve this year.

The location in central Europe prevented the Rhön from being covered by ice shields during the last glacial maximum, with sub-continental, sub-Mediterranean as well as oceanic influences on the vegetation. Bunter sandstone, basalt and shell limestone create high pedological and geomorphological diversity, with valleys from 250 m a.s.l. up to hill tops as high as 950 m a.s.l.. Moreover, poor soils, a rough climate, and centuries of being a border region only allowed rather extensive land use, creating a cultural landscape which is rich in species.

We will visit several habitats of this beautiful landscape: mat-grass swards, slope forests, peat bogs, and dry grasslands on limestone can be found in close vicinity. Especially the Black Moor in the High Rhön (Fig. 1), and the Weyershauk near Ostheim (dry meadows on shell limestone) are two of the most precious biotopes of this biosphere reserve.

Departure – 08:00 a.m., Return – not before 06:00 p.m.

Costs: 40 EUR (including transport and lunch box)

Further information:
The Rhön biosphere reserve
The Rhön biosphere reserve (select your language of choice in the right upper corner via the world symbol)
The Black Moor

The Black Moor in the nature reserve „Lange Rhön“.

The Wasserkuppe, view from the Simmelberg.

The Rother Kuppe, view from the Ilmenberg.