BR Pfälzerwald

Palatinate Forest Biosphere Reserve

Germany's largest connected forest area in a range of low mountains

The Palatinate Forest is the largest closed upland forest in Germany. Together with the northern Vosges Mountains it forms the largest contiguous forest in Western Europe. Approx. 75% of the area is afforested whereby conifers - mainly pine - account for about 70% of the trees. There are, however, also forests of European chestnut, beech and oak.

Although large parts of the Palatinate Forest are heavily influenced by forestry, it embraces a broad spectrum of habitats worthy of protection, notably expanses of rock, calcareous grassland, wetlands and siltation areas around bodies of standing water. Even peat bogs and forests characteristic for the continental climate zones can be found in the Palatinate Forest because of its special climatic conditions.

Biogeographically fascinating is the parallel occurrence of continental and Atlantic species.

The Palatinate Forest is located in the transnational Nature Park and Biosphere Reserve Palatinate Forest-North Vosges.

The sampling area covers 1,798 km2 and is situated in the German part of the biosphere reserve.
Important characteristics of the area include:

  • The massif is a water reservoir and the origin of many rivers.
  • Currently, the area is restructured within the framework of the ecological forest conversion.
  • Open areas in the Palatinate Forest are used either for intensive viniculture or, in the case of grassland, for grazing of livestock
  • Due to its scenic beauty and unique landscape the Palatinate Forest is used extensively for recreation.


  • Landscape in the Dahner Felsenland, the touristy heart in the southwestern Palatinate


  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
  • The roe deer is the most common of the larger herbivores (first order-consumer) to be found in the wild in Europe.
  • Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.


Sampling period

2001 - 2023