In the Thuringian Forest, a nature park you can observe a variety of rare plant species in their natural diverse habitat.

Already in 1979, the Biosphere Reserve Thuringian Forest was recognized by UNESCO, it is one of the oldest nature parks in Germany. The Thuringian Forest stretches over a hundred kilometres from northwest to southeast along the Rennsteig, which mountains are through the entire park. At the Beerberg the Thuringian Forest reaches its highest point at 982 m. In 1990 the Thuringian Forest had been declared a national park, in order to protect the still unspoiled nature. The presence of approximately 1900 species of plants, lichens and fungi as well as around 2600 species of animals underlines the biological diversity in the region.

Forest ecology is the study of all aspects of the ecology of wooded areas, including rainforest, deciduous and evergreen, temperate and boreal forest. It includes the community ecology of the trees and other plant and non-plant species, as well as ecosystem processes and conservation.

Year after year, a layer of dead plants and leaves sets on the forest floor again. From countless soil organisms crushed and mixed, humus is produced. Which is recognizable by its black to dark brown colour. Rainwater and burrowing animals transport the humus substance into the underlying mineral soil, creating fluid transitions. The Forest Ecology Laboratory studies the structure, growth and function of forest ecosystems. It is especially interested in the canopies of deciduous forests.

The fall foliage layer remains very thin in a natural deciduous mixed forest, because the plant remains are decomposed within one year and thus returned to the natural material cycle. In natural deciduous mixed forests, the light passes through the variety of tree species and their different ages in many places down to the ground. As a result, many soil plants (geophytes) find development opportunities, and there is a pronounced stratification

Tree layer: forms the conclusion with the canopy

Shrub layer: perennial shrubs and young trees

Herb layer: annual and perennial herbs that give the spring forest its colourful dress.

Moss layer: Moose and mushrooms

Fall foliage layer: discarded and rotting leaves

Interesting website

Natural mixed forests in the future

"Close to nature" means design and care with nature (and its own laws) and not against them. By no means, however, is meant to let everything proliferate wildly. The spruce stands, which consist of only one species of tree and also the same age, pose great risks and are therefore increasingly being viewed critically by forestry experts as well. Although the spruce will retain commercial importance in the future, forest conversion, i.e the development of coniferous wood stands to semi-natural mixed forests has become a priority task, not only in the Thuringia Forest. In addition to the change in the species spectrum, in which the deciduous tree is to be increased significantly, but it is also about one, the natural growth dynamics adapted juxtaposition of different ages of the trees. Another important point is added: Plants are not just so in the Around, but are part of their respective communities.”

A garden close to nature is not a sign of laziness, but visible evidence of a pronounced environmental awareness and a corresponding way of thinking.

Native shrubs and plants are important food sources for animals

Alone and from the garden gnome dreaded as persistent, of this „weeds" live no less than 81 animal species. On the other hand, non-native plants or breeding forms often cannot fit into local communities and offer no food supply to domestic animals. Without stinging nettles no butterflies - without stinging nettles, no birds that live from the caterpillars. The above statements should not mean that you can overgrow, greed stinging nettles, but you should also tolerate so-called weeds in some corners - the biodiversity and not least for our own sake.

Ladybirds and lacewing larvae, for example, have huge appetite for aphids. Birds, hedgehogs, toads and parasitic wasps keep greedy caterpillars at bay. But nudibranchs do not! A black specie is native, the larger brown specie almost a pest. As a rule, however, the greatest possible structural wealth and the predominant use of native plants, shrubs and trees offer the best guarantee for a high level of biodiversity and thus for a balanced ecological balance. Toleration of small structures such as rotten tree stumps, piles of stones and rice, uncut margins, etc. can cause a surprising amount of different animals. They are habitat and shelter for a variety of animals, including robins and wren, hedgehogs and weasels, amphibians and lizards, and a variety of insects.

Nurturing trees also as a hedge

Wild shrubs for hedges

Field maple (Acer campestre)
Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Schwarzerle (Alnusglutinosa)monogyna)
Black cherry (Prunusavium)
Bird cherry (Prunus padus)
Winter lime (Tilia cordata)
Sommer lime (Tilia platyphyllos)

Shrubby trees:
Woodapple (Malus sylvestris)
Medlar (Mespilus germanica)
Holzbirne (Pyrus pyraster)
Pussy willow (Salix caprea)

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
Bromm heath (Calluna vulgaris)
Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)
Red dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
Seidelbast (Daphne mezereum)
Pfaffenhütchen (Euonymus europaea)
Färberginster (Genista tinctoria)
Commun privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Blackthorn(Prunus spinosa)
Hunsrose (Rosa canina)
European willow (Salix aurita)
Besenginster (Cytisus scoparius)

Hainbuche (Carpinus betulus
Black Elder (Sambucus nigra)
Haselnut (Corylus avellana)
Eingriffeliger Weißdorn ( Crataegus)
Stechpalme (Ilex aquifolium)
Gemeiner Liguster (Ligustrum vulgare)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Echter Kreuzdorn (Rhamnus catharticus)
Wolliger Schneeball (Viburnum lantana)
Essigrose (Rosa gallica)
Common Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)

Sand birch (Betula pendula)
Common ash(Fraxinus excelsior)
stone Vistula (Prunus mahaleb)
English oak(Quercus robur)
Blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerules)
European larch (Larix decidua
Yew (Taxus baccata)

Today, the forest is not only threatened by many factors in its existence. Emissions from our industrial society have dramatically increasing nature since the beginning of the 1980s. Economic growth with all damage does not stop at the nature parks or the forest.