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1,300
 km2
Area
The Hainich-Dün Exploratory counts an area of 1,300 km2 and has with 116 inhabitants per km2 the highest population density of all three exploratories.
258 – 550
 m a.s.l.
Elevation
As an extensive wooded ridge, the Hainich frames the Thuringian Basin and the surrounding arable land. With 16,000 ha, it is one of the largest continuous deciduous forest areas in Germany.
500 – 800
 mm
Annual precipitation sum
The annual precipitation sum decreases from the humid Hainich ridge in the West to the dry Thuringian Basin in the East. The mostly fresh sites are dominated by European beech forests with extensive wild garlic abundances in spring.
Facts
Area1,300 km2
Annual precipitation sum500-800 mm
Elevation258-550 m a.s.l.; highest point: “Alter Berg” in 494 m a.s.l.
Typical plant speciesWood anemone, large stands of wild garlic, mercury, spring snowflake
Dominant forest typeEuropean (mixed) beech forests
Characteristic management typesSelection-cutting forests (so-called “Plenterwald”) organised in forest cooperatives; extensively managed grasslands grazed by sheep forming juniper heath
Specific informationWith 16,000 ha one of the largest continuous deciduous forest areas in Germany. Forest sites of the national park since 1935 unmanaged and out of use.

Agriculture

The forest areas of the Hainich are surrounded by small settlements, arable land, meadows, pastures and limestone grasslands (fig. 3). In the Dün and Eichsfeld region grasslands and agricultural land occur with variable management intensity. Compared with the forest region, the extent of grasslands is relatively small, because they are under a pressure of land-use change. Extensively managed grasslands were formerly grazed by sheep (fig. 4), and these are under pressure of afforestations, while the more fertile intensive grasslands are under pressure to be converted to arable land. Towards the east the Hainch-Dün adjoins the agricultural land of the Thuringian Basin, which belongs to the most fertile soils in Germany.

Geology

In the exploratory Hainich-Dün Exploratory, limestone (upper shell-limestone) and Loess constantly alternate (fig. 5). Therefore, silty, loamy and clayey soil textures dominate. Because a varying quantity of loess is deposited, the soil depth is varies considerably. While the limy, weathering clays often consist of carbonate, the pH value is between 5 and 6. In loess soils, strong soil leaching causes the development of clayey stagnant horizons and stagnant moisture. Dominating soil types are lessivé and pseudogley. On shell-limestone along hill sides rendzina occurs. Otherwise brown earth is frequent (fig. 6).

Image: The photo shows a flock of sheep in a green pasture, with a forest in the background.
Sheep grazing as the original form of farming in the Hainich keeps the extensively managed grassland open.
Image: The photo shows a drill core held in front of the camera, lying in the soil sampling container of a core drill rig.
The soil horizons of the mountain ranges of the Hainich are characterised by the Muschelkalk
Image: The photo shows three men in the forest holding and aligning a core drill rig for soil sampling.
The soils of the exploratories are regularly examined for nutrient ratios, material flows and the composition of the soil flora and fauna

Local Management Team Hainich-Dün

Hainich-Dün Exploratory
Technical University of Munich
Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Hainich-Dün Exploratory Field Station
Am Burghof 3
99947 Mülverstedt

Contact:
explo.hai@wzw.tum.de
Phone: +49 (0) 36022 159 843

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Weisser
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Weisser
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Project leader, LMT Hainich-Dün and core Arthropods project
Dr. Anna Katharina Franke
Dr. Anna Katharina Franke
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Local manager
Parental leave
Dr. Miriam Teuscher
Dr. Miriam Teuscher
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Local manager
Parental leave substitute
Christin Schreiber
Christin Schreiber
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Technician, grassland
Ulrich Pruschitzki
Ulrich Pruschitzki
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Forester
Matthias Groß
Matthias Groß
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Measurement engineer
Michael Ehrhardt
Michael Ehrhardt
Technische Universität München (TUM)
General technician
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