Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Biodiversity mapping

Stadtwald forest

Floristic, faunistic, and ecological survey on forest stands around Rhine-Main airport and biotope mapping of Frankfurt Stadtwald forest (Frankfurt Municipal Forest)

In 2000, the Research Institute Senckenberg was entrusted by the city of Frankfurt and the Fraport AG with the realization of a floristic and faunistic survey in the area of three possible variants for the enlargement of Rhine-Main airport. In addition to an area-wide mapping of habitat types a floristic inventory and vegetation studies were performed. Subject to extensive faunistic surveys are animal groups like large and medium-sized mammals, bats, small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, dragon-flies, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, wood beetles, ground beetles, spiders, and harvestmen.

The results of this intensive examination areas around the airport (territories of Schwanheim, Kelsterbach, Mörfelden) are presented in an expert opinion, consisting of seven parts with numerous maps, entitled „Erfassung von Flora, Fauna und Biotoptypen im Umfeld des Flughafens Frankfurt am Main“ (only in German).






The entire Frankfurt "Stadtwald" forest is also an area under investigation. Here, for example, 38 water bodies and water systems were precisely mapped in order to explore the populations of amphibians and dragon-flies. In particular, the very large populations of the nationwide highly endangered frog Rana dalmatina (see picture right above) are remarkable. This species was hitherto recorded only from a few few specimens; during the examinations in spring 2000 and 2001, populations of more than 1.500 spawning females were registered.

On the other hand, the dragon-fly Anaciaeshna isosceles (see picture right bottom), found in 2000 at a pond in the easterly forest, is very rare in the area.

The survey results clearly show the degradation of water bodies in urban areas. Many ponds support large populations of exotic fish species. Also recorded are great numbers of non-indigenous tortoises. In such water bodies successful reproduction of indigenous amphibians is hardly possible. Thus, the results are used, among others, for planning measures to help rehabilitate ecological quality and functionality of standing waters.

Our explorations of the urban area has revealed a rich diversity, especially within the old deciduous tree stands of the Frankfurt Stadtwald forest. For example, eleven bat species were found in partially highly urbanised areas. As an ecological and faunistic specialty e.g., single specimens of the Europe-wide threatened bats Myotis bechsteini and Myotis myotis were recorded from Schwanheim forest.