DFG_Biodiversity_Exploratory_SchwaebischeAlb - Germany
The establishing Biosphere Reserve Schwäbische Alb covers more than 84,000 ha in the centre of the mountain range of the Schwäbische Alb in the state of Baden-Württemberg in SW-Germany. 42000 ha of this area comprise the Exploratory. The Schwäbische Alb with its calcareous bedrock was formed during the tertiary, when the sediments of the Jurassic sea rose due to tectonic movements in the upper Rhine valley. The landscape is representative for a wide range of similar calcareous mountain ranges, which extend from the Franconian Alb in the NE to Swiss and French Jura mountains. It is characterized by a mosaic of forest and grassland, where grasslands generally have a relatively high proportion, mainly due to a many-century-long tradition of sheep herding. Forests range from natural old-growth beech forests over mixed forests to intensely managed spruce monocultures. Special forest types include park-like forests with many solitary trees created by century-long grazing, and untouched mixed forests in small canyons. Grasslands range from unfertilized pastures mainly grazed by sheep over unfertilized or moderately fertilized meadows to fertilized intensely used grassland. Forest and grasslands are interspersed with root crop fields, while hardly any cereals are cultivated in the area. The area has been characterized by low-intensity agriculture for many centuries.
General Characteristics and Status