experience nature

The landscape of the Nature Park was created in the geological age of the Trias, 250 million years ago. It exhibits a rich variety of structures, what many rare species use as refugial area. 

The natural conditions like the warm and dry climate support a Flora and Fauna with fondness for Mediterranean circumstances.  Here you can find many plants with a geographical extension in south and southeast Europe, e.g. species of Helianthemum, Veronica and Stipa furthermore 25 wild orchids like Cypripedium calceolus and different Ophrys and Dactylorhiza species.

The human enriched the landscape by traditional farming: small fields cultivated in a time-consuming and non-intensive way (manual, with animals or later with small machines) created a rich mosaic of habitats and its temporal changes. The wetlands in the river valleys and dry habitats in the south-facing slopes characterize this diversity.  Many species that are rare today are adapted to these ancient types of use.

The Fauna - also based on the diverse vegetation structures - is well developed. Among the protected mammals are hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and edible dormouse (Glis glis). Also several species of bats are hunting insects in the Nature Park, e.g. Nyctalus noctula, Rhinolphus hipposideros and Plecotus auritus.
In the Nature Park you’ll find breeding birds, migrants and guests in the winter months. At least 189 species are verified, rare species are kingfisher, white stork, eagle owl and common raven.
Examples for amphibians are the alpine newt (Triturus alpestris) and pool frog (Rana lessonae). The harmless smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is a representative of the reptiles.
The warm and dry habitats are occupied by interesting insects like stag beetle (Lucanus cervus), scarab beetle (Sisyphus schaefferi) and the scarce swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius).

The increase of agriculture hampers the preservation of the diverse mosaic and thus limits suitable habitats. In order to preserve important biotopes sensitive parts are protected. Adjusted to the ecological requirements the usage of these parts will be managed. The preservation should be close to natural or cultural-historic usage to preserve these areas in a sustainable way.

There are 3 classes of protected areas within the Nature Park:
nature protection area (German NSG): 3.737,04 ha
landscape protection area (German LSG): 54.302 ha
protected areas in the European network NATURA2000: 9.969 ha


Zeitzer Forst

This area in the south of the Nature park is a landscape protection area and fractional part of the NATURA2000 network. The large woodland enriched with open areas offers a great diversity. Horses (Koniks) and cattle graze and preserve the open spaces. A nature trail informs about species and ecology.


Kayna-Süd

Former mining pits evolved into valuable protection areas. Non-intensive year-round pasturing keeps the area open. Special places can be preserved and will prevent a succession in the whole area. The animals (Konik-Horses and Galloway-Cattle) arrange minor expansion of shrubbery, shape rare places without vegetation and support an ecological mosaic. Adapted species are reliant on these special structures.
Kayna is part of the Natura2000 network
(Special Protection Area). Information about the project.
Experience this outstanding project over the 12 km circular hiking & biking trail!