The Fichtelgebirge is home to many endangered species. And the biodiversity in the
Fichtelgebirge is particularly high since the most diverse kind of habitats co-exist in a
relatively small area.
Large unbroken forests offer sufficient room and peace from humans to shy forest
dwellers with spacious habitat needs, with special emphasis on lynx, European
wildcat, wood grouse, black stork, pygmy and boreal owl, eagle owl and red deer. At
the sunny edges of the woods, in particular where the woods border at marshes or
moors, there is one of the largest populations of the common European adder, our
only native venomous snake.
Along the rivers and in the riverside marshes, otter, beaver, dipper and kingfisher
live. The freshwater pearl mussel is a particular treasure, which survived in individual,
especially clean water courses and which is often accompanied by brook lampreys.
In ponds, the moor frog, tree frog and natterjack toad can be found as well as the fire
salamander in the west of the Fichtelgebirge, where there are warmer areas with less
The cultural landscape also offers diverse habitats. You can watch white storks stalk
through extensively used wet meadows, whinchats and partridges breed in fallows at
the margin of fields and in meadows that are only mown once per year. The large
number of rock cellars, which were formerly used for storing potatoes and other crop,
offer a frost-proof winter refuge to many kinds of bats. In some towns, you can find
colonies of the particularly rare barbastelle behind the traditional wooden lagging of
barns and old farmhouses. Owing to the diverse landscape elements, a wide variety
of insects lives here: dragonflies, butterflies, ground beetles and spiders can be
found, some of which have long been extinct in other regions.
Of course, only some few of the species have been mentioned here. The mappings
and research in this field are nowhere near to be concluded and are sure to bring
As a connection between mountains, the Fichtelgebirge takes a special position
among the lower mountain ranges. Together with the adjacent Steinwald, it
represents the crossing point between the Franconian Forest, Franconian
Switzerland, the Upper Palatinate Forest and the Bavarian Forest as well as the Ore
Mountains. The lower mountain ranges as well as water ways are important migration
and distribution corridors. At the same time, they connect lower altitude regions with
relatively cool high altitudes. Extensive coherent wooded areas and cultural
landscapes meet here. Since the Fichtelgebirge offers climate that is Atlantic in
character as well as continental climate in the eastern part, this also adds to
biodiversity. Like a hub of biodiversity, the Fichtelgebirge links the Central European
lower mountain ranges as well as the various water systems. However, scientific
research of this prominent function within Europe has only just begun.