Natural mixed deciduous forest in Germany

Luchs im Buchenwald, Foto: Dr. Fried
Protected land 157.781 m²
Importance for biodiversity High
Climate protection factor
(in t CO2)
Status Ended


Protecting old forests in Germany

Naturefund bought together with the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the natural foundation David an old beech forest on the "Hohe Schrecke" ridge in Thuringia and protected it permanentaly for the nature.

Hardly anyone knows that one of the most threatened primeval forest types is not in the southern hemisphere of the earth but right in front of us are the endangered beech forests.

Germany is the heartland of the European beech. By nature were about 66 percent of Germany covered with beech forests. There are no more major beech forests, but there are still a few remains of old beech forest that give us an idea of ​​what a primeval forest might have looked like. Such a forest is on the "Hohe Schrecke", an offset of the Harz.

7,300 hectares of uncultivated forest in Germany

The forest area on the "Hohe Schrecke", with an area of ​​7,300 ha, is one of the few large, undivided forest areas in Germany that has only been used for forestry since the Middle Ages but has never been fully lumbered.

A mixed deciduous forest was preserved from which experts say that it has the characteristics of a primeval forest. Ancient, gnarled giant trees make up this forest. The lynxes, wild cats and red deer find here an excellent habitat. An absolute speciality are the primeval forest relics, which were rediscovered on the "Hohe Schrecke" and confirm the primeval forest character.

Buying wild forest for nature

Naturefund has purchased a total of 157,781 m² of forest and open hills for nature and was therefore able to protect the nature in the longterm. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation supported the purchase of forest and added 9 € to every Euro donated.

The purchased forest area was designated as permanent wilderness area without any forestry use. The new nature reserve regulation also designated the forest area as a wilderness area.

Numerous people and companies like toom Baumarkt, my care and Telefonica helped to secure this old forest with a generous donation. Many thanks from the Naturefund Team!


Special feature

The 7,300 ha of forest on the "Hohe Schrecke" ridge was never completely cleared. This is proven by the eleven primeval forest remnants identified to date, which are dependent on permanent primeval forest stands. The original stands have a high proportion of dead wood and mighty old beeches.



The forest on the "Hohe Schrecke" has only been used moderately and extensively since the Middle Ages. From 1934 to 1992 it served as a military area. A regulated forestry did not take place during this period.

From 1992 onwards took Germany over the "Hohe Schrecke". In 2004, the valuable forest on the "Hohe Schrecke" was recognized and with about 3,500 ha designated as the largest nature reserve in Thuringia. However, a big part of forest land is still privately owned, so that the purchase and protection of forest areas is an important step towards being able to convert further forest areas permanently into a primeval forest.


Calculation of Central European beech forest: 1 tree on 10 m² stores a total of 200 kg of CO2.

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