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The riparian forest

Verwunschene Auenlandschaft Foto: Dr. H. Fried

The riparian forest near the Beuren monastery accompanies the emerging river Leine for 1,5 kilometres. Black alder, ash and willows hang low over the water surface. Over the centuries, the area was barely used by humans and a rare biotope was conserved.

Detail: Riparian forest in Thuringia

Riparian forests Riparian forests along rivers and streams are regularly flooded. Some deciduous trees, such as alder, ash and willow, have adapted to the wet. Two thirds of all plant populations are found in riparian forests, but in the past over 80% of these forests have been cut down and drained in Germany. Nonetheless, the remaining riparian forests offer a habitat for many threatened species, such as kingfisher and dipper.

Flora

The 2 hectare wetlands between Beuren and Wingerode is a typical riparian forest biotope, dominated by ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and black alder (Alnus glutinosa). In the fields, nitrogen indicators, such as common nettle (Urtica dioica), cleavers (Galium aparine) and dewberries (Rubus caesius) prevail. Commonly found in the shrub layer are elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and black cherry (Padus avium), and crack willows (Salix fragilis) in the wet areas.

Black cherry and ash

Phytosociologically, this vegetation is classified as „black cherry-ash forest“ (Pado-Fraxinetum, Oberd 1953). The threatened forest is protected under §20c of the German Federal Nature Conservation Act. The riparian forest merges into a strip of wood, running along an oxbow of the Leine for about 1 kilometre. It consists of black alder, crack willow and some old British oaks (Quercus robur).

Middle-spotted woodpecker habitat

The riparian forest as well as the river-accompanying woods feature numerous trees with a high level of dead wood and tree-caves, hollowed by decay and woodpeckers. The rough bark of old ash and oak trees is prerequisite for the middle-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius) to find food. Hence, the middle-spotted woodpecker can be regularly observed in the Leine riparian forest, but is almost entirely missing from the working forests of the county, which are dominated by European beech trees, whose smooth bark doesn't offer nourishment for this particular bird. Thus, the Leine riparian forest is of great significance for the middle-spotted woodpecker. Join us and help us to buy more land for nature! Save land now! More about the kingfisher More about sedge reeds

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