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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Swabian Alb is part of the European Jura and represents an undulating landscape. The Swabian Alb is a low mountain range and the biggest coherent karst area of Germany with more than 200 km in length. Different geological conditions, different bio-geographical regions and the activity of humans have
developed various types of habitats. It is characterised by four geologic formations. The northeastern border of the area is characterised by the so-called “Albtrauf” - a step in the terrain which is up to 400 m high.
North of this rim, the foreland of the Swabian Alb (“Albvorland”) is the place where most of the settlements in the region are located and beechforests are typical. Wine is produced in this part. The northwestern border of this area is characterised by widespread traditionally extensive sparse orchards (“Streuobstwiesen”), which are of high biological value, because of the habitat they provide for many species and the organic fruits they produce. The “Albtrauf” steep terrain is known for its beech forests which are situated on hillsides and inside of canyons, being exposed to special conditions.
Behind the steep rim the following high plateau of the Swabian Alb is characterised by the so-called “Kuppenalb”, with its bumpy relief with different kinds of beechforests interspersed with pine and spruce forests and grassland. In a south-eastern direction the high plateau becomes more level. This part is called
“Flächenalb” and is used for agronomic farming.
The announced 26 core zones of the Biosphere Reserve Swabian Alb with a total area of 2.685 hectares guarantee long-term protection and natural development of the forests in these areas.
For the bordering congested European Metropolitan region of Stuttgart the Swabian Alb is a popular recreation area. Under these basic conditions the biosphere concept is a model for other regions aiming for sustainable development in densely populated areas. About 150.000 inhabitants constantly live in the
biosphere reserve. Not less noteworthy, also in the international context, are the habitats of the cultivated landscapes. The
former training area in Münsingen offers special biologic conditions, because it was used for military purposes only for more than 100 years. Hence this area has developed a special biodiversity. Another typical landscape is the extensive meadows, representing the result of grazing sheep, which kept this area free of bushes and trees during the last centuries.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broad-leaf forest and woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Forests (40%) Natural sub-montane and colline broadleaf deciduous forests with beech (Fagus sylvatica), oak (Quercus petraea, Quercus robur, Quercus pubescens), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), great maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) Cultivated landscapes (51%): dominated by meadows, grassland, acre and extensive grassland-orchards
  Location   Central Point: 48°26’04,5428“ N 9°28’43,5642“ E
Northern Point: 48°37’49,3309“ N 9°33’23,1835“ E
Southern Point: 48°12’29,8581“ N 9°26’47,2120“ E
Eastern Point: 48°23’26,3880“ N 9°45’42,8431“ E
Western Point: 48°25’33,5717“ N 9°07’06,7586“ E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   85
  Core area(s)   2.685
  Buffer zone(s)   35.122
  Transition area(s) when given   46.718
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   329 meters to 872 meters
  Year designated   2009
  Administrative authorities   Zukünftige Biosphärengebietsverwaltung Schwäbische Alb
  Brief description   Abiotic research: land utilization, soil condition
Biotic research: nature conservation, extensive grassland-orchards, forest and meadows research, cultural landscape, habitat and biodiversity research, Evaluation and documentation of the subjects of protection
Socio-economic research: umbrella brand for regional products, tourism, short-distance traffic, sustainable development, regional products, regional economy, renewable energy sources, demographic research
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, geology, geomorphology, groundwater, habitat, hydrology, indicators, meteorology, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, soil, speleology, topography.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, autoecology/synecology, biodiversity, biogeography, biology, biotechnology, birds, community studies/communities, conservation, degraded areas, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, fauna, flora, forest systems, genetic resources, indicators, microorganisms, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, natural resources, perturbations/resilience/vulnerability, phenology, phytosociology/succession, plants, population genetics/population dynamics, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, taxonomy, temperate forest, temperate grassland, vegetation studies/plant cover, volcanic/geothermal systems/volcano, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, anthropological studies/anthropology, archaeology/paleontology, cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, economically important species, energy production systems/alternative energy, forestry, human health, hunting, indicators, indicators of sustainability, industry, local participation, mining, modelling, monitoring methodologies, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, people-nature relations/man/nature, quality economies, recreation, resource use, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, stakeholders' interests, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge, transport.
  Integrated monitoring   Biogeochemistry, carrying capacity/sustainability, conflict, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, environmental quality, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, indicators, infrastructure, institutional and legal aspects, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, interdisciplinary studies, land tenure, land use/land cover, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, mapping, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, urban systems/towns/cities.
  Contact address    Zukünftige Biosphärengebietsverwaltung Schwäbische Alb
c/o Start-Team Biosphärengebiet Schwäbische Alb am Regierungspräsidium
Altes Lager Gebäude R13, Tübingen
72525 Münsingen-Auingen
  Telephone   +49.7381-93293811
  Fax   +49.7381-93293815
  Web site

Last updated: 10/08/2009

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