Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Terrestrial Zoology



strict forest reserve

Strict forest reserves are the "primeval forests of tomorrow", man does not interfere directly in the development of the forest

The research in the strict forest reserves falls into the area Biodiversity and Ecosystems.


Strict forest reserves in Germany

Since the Year of Nature Conservation in 1970 the setup of strict forest reserves throughout Germany was intensified, to gain a spectrum of reserves, which allow an undisturbed development of forest communities and their investigation. In detail the following goals were aimed at:
 conservation, protection and re-establishment of natural forest communities, with their typical diversity of structures and species
 fundamental research on forest communities (soil, vegetation, structure, fauna)
 gaining reference areas for silviculture (deductions for comparable working forests, i.e. concerning regeneration and forest management)
 gaining reference areas for orientation by nature
- in which the functioning of the ecosystem and the degree of disturbance compared to the forested land can be measured
- which can be used as benchmarks for assessments of environmental effects or for evaluation of habitats 
- which can be used as calibration areas for forest site mappings
An overview of all German forest reserves is presentet at


Strict forest reserves in Hesse

Since 1988 strict forest reserves exist in Hesse. These are former working forests, which have been taken out of utilisation. Today 31 areas exist with a total size of 1228 ha (arithmetical mean: 39.6 ha, median: 30.3 ha, single areas: 7.7 ha–140.2 ha), which cover the spectrum of forest communities occurring in Hesse. They are also named "total reserves". According to the character of Hesse, beech (Fagus sylvatica) is dominating most of the reserves. Besides beech pedunculate oak-, sessile oak-, pine- and spruce-forests are represented. For 22 of the total reserves an area for comparison was established – mostly immediately neighbouring, where silviculture is continued (in total 767.4 ha, arithmetical mean: 34.7 ha, median: 27.8 ha, single areas: 4.6 ha–113.3 ha). First goal of the research is to to inventory these forest areas as meaningful as possible, in which foresters, botanists and zoologists are involved. In the year 1990 the zoological research by Senckenberg started.

The position, tree species composition and size of all forest reserves in Hesse shows Hessen Forst.


Cooperation partners

Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz
Landesbetrieb Hessen Forst
Nordwestdeutsche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt NW-FVA


Research is conducted in cooperation with and financially supported by “Landesbetrieb Hessen-Forst”.