Beaver biotope in Oberzell

Beaver munching on willow leaves.
Beaver munching on willow leaves.
Photo: Dietmar Nill

Naturefund, together with HGON Main-Kinzig purchased a 7.898 square metre piece of land where beavers live. The beaver was once extinct in Hesse. Thanks to a resettlement of 18 beavers 25 years ago the beaver has been successfully reintroduced.

Large beaver lodge

The beaver habitat at the Steiersbach in East Hesse has existed for seven years. The beavers have already built two small, and one large dam. Two ponds with a wet fallow and a unique humid biotope have already appeared. There has been a large lodge at the beaver lake since 2008.

Basic data

Location

South-east Hesse, along the transition region between Spessart and the Rhön Mountains, in the community of Sinntal

Size

7.898 square metres

Wildlife

In and around this area you can find beavers, slowworms, grass snakes, fire salamanders, water frogs and common frogs, common snipes, perdix, quails, Dusky Large Blue butterflies, marsh grasshoppers, along with certain dinner guests, such as Kingfisher, White Stork and Black Stork.

Flora

Large Pink (Dianthus superbus), Water Avens, Meadow Saxifrage, meadowsweet

Special characteristics

This land is part of the FFH area „Hemmersbach, Bergwiesen bei Ziegelhütte“. About 500 metres away the official FFH area „Biberlebensraum Hessischer Spessart“ (The Hessian Spessart Beaver Reservation) begins.

The next beaver habitat is only a couple of hundred metres away in the nature reserve of Zienerwiesen of Oberzell at the Schmale Sinn close to the border of Bavaria. The Zienerwiesen beaver habitat was already purchased and permanently secured by Naturefund in 2010. It is most probable that the beaver families are related to one another.

History

The beaver was once extinct in Hesse. Thanks to a resettlement of 18 beavers from the river Elbe in 1987 and 1988, the beaver has been successfully reintroduced. The animals were released in the Spessart in the Sinn and Jossa rivers, and from there spread very fast. The piece of land Naturefund purchased together with HGON is about one kilometre as the crow flies from the river Sinn. 10 years ago, a beaver was sighted here for the first time.

For seven years, this land has been seen as a self-contained beaver habitat. Within an area of around 8.000 square metres, a beaver family has built dams, stopped the water flow and created a pond with a wet fallow. Fish such as grayling, burbot and brook lamprey have returned.

Different kinds of butterflies have also occurred, such as the Sooty Copper, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, the Mazarine Blue and, at the forest border in the softwood the Purple Emperor, which are typical for mountain pastures and valley meadows.

Beavers change landscapes, and occasionally there are conflicts of interests between the owners and the users of the land. To ease this conflict and secure a safe habitat for the beavers, we purchased this land.

Partner

The owners will be the  Hessische Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz (Hessian Society for Ornithology and Nature Preservation), short: HGON.


Concept for protection

As beavers create their own habitats, an intensive level of care for the area is not necessary. Only the securing of the local path ways must be assured.

 

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