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Berlin Environmental Atlas

05.03 Valuable Areas for Flora and Fauna

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Map Description

Berlin is, in its outer areas, characterized by large forest and water areas in the north and southwest and also in the southeast. Spacious field landscapes determine the picture in the northeast and west of the city. Green shorelines and vacant areas along pathways extend in a strip-like manner from the outside area to the inner city. Typical open spaces here are parks, cemeteries and vacant areas.

By comparison with the 1986 map, it is striking that the vacant areas have been significantly diminished. This is due mainly to the settlement of businesses and the resumption of operation of rail lines.

Some biotopes on which no sufficient knowledge was yet available in 1986 and/or which were located in the area of the former border, have been newly incorporated in the map. This includes small bodies of waters in the north of Berlin, such as the Great Kienhorst and the Fichtewiese in Spandau.

Changes in appraisal are recorded particularly for some areas of arable land and also for individual cemeteries and parks.

Biotopes of Bodies of Water, Shorelines and Bogs

A large part of the bog area still existing in Berlin (Biotope Type 47) is greatly endangered by the drop in the groundwater tables, pollutant entry etc. Because of their unique living conditions for plants and animals, they are classified as especially valuable biotopes, despite their currently partially unsatisfactory condition. Especially outstanding are the Krumme Lake and the Teufelsmoor bog in Köpenick, with remainders of highly endangered plant associations. Some species no longer occur anywhere else in Berlin. The Hundekehlefenn, the Barssee lake and the Langer Luch have outstanding significance due to their high share of endangered species, particularly of fauna.

In the surrounding countryside, there are still large bogs in the area of the Havel north of Berlin, at Hennigsdorf and west of Gross-Glienicke. The bogs in the area described are dependent on the groundwater level of the environment. Therefore they have for decades been subject to major changes in species composition due to widespread drop in the groundwater levels, caused by drinking water production.

A high proportion of the ditches (Biotope Type 51), pools and small bodies of water (Biotope Type 48) has been technologically developed. Species-rich animal and plant stocks are to be found in approx. half of the pools and small bodies of water, and in approximately one third of the ditches. The most valuable ditch segments with unreinforced banks and the most extensive site-appropriate bank vegetation lie in the field landscapes in Lübars, Heiligensee, Gatow, Buch/Hobrechtsfelde and Weissensee, and also in the forest areas of Spandau (Kuhlake, Kreuzgraben) and Köpenick (Krumme Lake in Grünau, Plumpengraben). Especially valuable pools and/or small bodies of water include the Karow Ponds, one the most important brood areas for waterfowl species, and the pools in Rudow and also the small bodies of waters in the Spandau Forest, which are habitats for numerous endangered amphibians. In the eastern part of the city, some small bodies of waters in Hohenschönhausen, Marzahn and Hellersdorf still have amphibians which have already died out or are severely endangered in the western part of Berlin. In the northeast of Berlin, on the Barnim Plateau, there are still many kettle-holes, which offer habitats for many animal and plant species in a cleared agrarian landscape.

Most streams with reinforced banks (Biotope Type 49), the Spree River and the Teltow Canal, have only a slight biotopic value. Only comparatively few animal and plant species can live on the steep, reinforced banks. Classified as especially valuable segments because of their relatively high near-natural condition are only a short section of the Panke in the area of an old bog run, and also a very small Spree segment at the Rummelsburg Bay with deteriorated bank reinforcement. "Valuable" bodies of water include the Gosen Canal and the Oder-Spree Canal, the banks of which are reinforced with rock fill.

Streams largely without reinforced banks (Biotope Type 50) still exist only in Lübars/Pankow (the Tegeler Fliesstal - Tegel Creek Valley), Köpenick (the Fredersdorfer Mühlenfliess - Fredersdorf Mill Stream) and to some extent in Rudow (the renaturalized Rudower Fliess - Rudow Creek). Particularly Tegel Creek, in connection with adjacent remains of alder swamps, wet meadows and the fontinal slopes in Lübars and Pankow (Biotope Type 54) are classified as an outstanding biotope complex. Numerous endangered animal and plant species have their habitats here. The source areas are the only area with recent tufaceous limestone formation in the Central European plains. Outside of Berlin, streams with still largely near-naturally flowing segments include the Fredersdorf Mill Stream, the Neuenhagen Mill Stream and the mill stream at Altlandsberg.

The Havel, Spree and Dahme are typical flatland rivers (Biotope Type 52) with lake-like extensions. The share of well-developed reed beds and riparian forest vegetation at the banks is relatively slight. At the beginning of the sixties, approx. 40% of the shoreline of the Havel was still covered with sometimes quite broad reed-bed belts; today, this is down to 10-15%. Especially valuable areas because of their vegetational stock include the banks of the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) and the northern tip of Lower Neuendorf Lake and also the banks in Köpenick, with their extensive floating moss and reed-bed areas, which constitute the only black tern breeding area in Berlin. In the nearer surrounding countryside, Sacrow Lake west of Berlin is the only still moderately nutrient-rich lake (mesotrophic to slightly eutrophic).

Biotopes of the Forests and Woodlands

Hardly any natural woodland associations are to be found today in Berlin. Artificial forest associations (Biotope Type 46) occupy the major part of the area. Remainders of the natural vegetation occur only in small areas such as at the Moorlake and in the Buch Forest (durmast oak-beech forest), in the Spandau Forest (durmast oak-hornbeam forest) and in the area of bodies of water and bogs (remainders of alder swamp forests). Aside from the remainders of natural forest, only a small part of the Berlin forest and wooded areas is classified as especially valuable, because it is near-natural. This includes the Plänterwald Forest with its relatively large areas of near-natural deciduous tree. Overall, the Berlin forest areas provide habitats for an abundant bird community, compared with other North German forests. Approx. three-fourths of the Berlin species populations and seven of the nine bird of prey species occur in the forests and woodlands. The northwest area of the Spandau Forest has the largest species diversity. In Brandenburg, too, there are no natural forests any more in the mapped area. There, pine forests prevail. Above the Spandau Forest is the Neuendorf Heath with swamp and riparian forests, and also, near ground water, rich mixed-deciduous forests, in which extensive oak stands form the main tree species, together with birch, pine, poplar, alder and ash. Further valuable forests lie west of Berlin, the swamp and riparian forests along the Hirtengraben in the Parforce Heath are south of Berlin (cf. Map 05.06, SenStadtUm 1995).

Biotopes on Agricultural Land

Field and meadow landscapes are valuable retreat areas for typical animal and plant species. A requirement for this is, however, relatively extensive farming and the maintenance and/or the restoration of structural elements. Particularly in Lübars/Pankow, Weissensee and Hohenschönhausen and also in Spandau, large connected areas are still to be found, which are, however, partly threatened by planned construction projects. They consist of farmland and meadow areas (Biotope Types 40, 41, 42, 43), agricultural fallows (Biotope Types 37, 38), former sewage farms (Biotope Type 39) and also, in the northeast of Berlin, of reforested sewage farms (Biotope Type 46). A part of the reforested sewage farms and the former sewage farms with agricultural use are classified as especially valuable because of their high structural diversity (remainders of former field groves, hedges, drainage ditches, wetlands, remainders of reed-beds), and their species diversity, particularly regarding birds and insects. Of particular significance are the Falkenberg sewage farms with their numerous endangered animal species. The strong heavy-metal pollution of the soils in the area of the sewage farms is a problem. With dropping pH values and the associated drop in soil cohesiveness, the pollutants are on one hand eroded into the groundwater, on the other hand, poisonings of plants and burrowing animals occur. In 1986, almost all arable land in West Berlin was classified as especially valuable as a remainder of the farmland in the city, even if it did not fulfill the criteria. On the present map, the agricultural areas on the southern outskirts, which are small in comparison with the especially valuable areas in the north and west, are classified only as valuable, because of their characteristics. Valuable biotopes on farmland outside of Berlin are found mainly on the plateaus of Teltow and Barnim, which have been characterized by agricultural use for centuries. In contrast to the appraisal of the Berlin fields and meadow areas, only few meadows and pastures in Brandenburg fulfill the criteria for a classification as valuable biotopes under that state's definition. Farmland is not designated at all. Rather, a multitude of valuable field groves and tree-lined avenues are mapped, which fulfill an important function in the otherwise cleared agrarian landscape, as habitats for numerous animal species.

Aside from the valuable rich wet meadows mentioned in connection with field and sewage farm areas, such moist meadows (Biotope Type 43) include especially the Tiefwerder Wiesen (meadows) and the Gosen meadows, which are unique in their size for Berlin, and which also continue into Brandenburg. In addition to these, extensive moistmeadows exist along the Nuthe to the east of Potsdam.

The only three old orchards in Berlin are to be found in the eastern part of the city. The area at Köppchensee Lake and the old pear plantation in Hohenschönhausen can be considered especially valuable, particularly for typical animal species, because of their tree populations and their dry meadows.

Urban Vacant Area Biotopes

In the inner city, the vacant areas (Biotope Types 21, 35) are counted among the most valuable habitats. In contrast to other cities, where vacant areas resulting from war-time damage were rebuilt relatively quickly, extraordinarily species-rich vacant areas were able to develop in Berlin because of the political situation, particularly on the unused or only partially used railway right-of-ways. On these warm urban locations, species such as the ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) and the Adriatic oak (Quercus cerris), which otherwise occur only in southern Europe, can live. Outstanding locations with high species diversity and numerous endangered plants and animal species include the Südgelände and remainders of the Gleisdreieck. Many vacant areas have been lost in the last years through development and/or are endangered through current construction projects. Valuable and especially valuable areas, which have been destroyed particularly through the resumption of operations on railroad property, include, for instance, the railroad embankments in Frohnau, Lichtenrade and Düppel, the City Rail South Ring and the areas around Gesundbrunnen Station.

Horticulturally-characterized Biotopes

Of the numerous parks, city squares, sport facilities and shoreline green strips (Biotope Type 29, 30, 31) and also the cemeteries (Biotope Type 90, 32, 33, 34) only a relatively small part is classified as especially valuable. This includes predominantly the large, old parks and cemeteries, which because of their size and their structural diversity and also their stock of old trees, still provide undisturbed, partially feral retreat areas for flora and fauna, despite intensive use and care. The green-space biotopes are distributed over the whole urban area; in the inner city, however, they constitute the only open spaces, aside from urban fallows and individual small bodies of waters. Examples of especially valuable inner-city green-space biotopes are the Charlottenburg palace gardens with their species-rich plant stocks, and the old cemeteries in Mitte, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg. In the outside areas, these include - most significantly, because of their old-tree stocks and their abundant, partially relatively near-natural species composition - Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), Glienicke Park and the Buch palace gardens.

Biotopes Assigned to Different Biotope Type Groups, Depending on their Characteristics

Gravel, sand and marl quarries (Biotope Type 28) provide valuable substitute habitats for species which depend on open areas, cliff edges and unreinforced slopes, which are found only rarely in the natural landscape. Especially valuable sites include the species-rich gravel quarries in the Grunewald forest and in Köpenick.

The rough meadow biotopes (Biotope Type 44) are habitats for specialized flora and fauna. Especially outstanding rough meadow areas include the former Johannisthal airfield, with its unique aculeate fauna and also the Baumberge and Püttberge Hills, where the rough-meadow areas have developed in association with xerophilous woodlands.

Former dumps (Biotope Types 30, 35, 46) have in some cases developed as valuable secondary habitats. They offer habitats to organisms dependent on dry slopes and open structures, similar to quarry biotopes. However, the waste heap is not the prerequisite for the emergence of these structures. Similar or equal conditions could also be created, for instance, through the preservation of glades in forests. Especially valuable areas, particularly due to the occurrence there of endangered bird species, are the dump in Ahrensfeld and the Kienberg dump in Marzahn. and also parts of the Wannsee. The former dump in Marienfelde restored as a park displays an extraordinary insect wealth; some species are attested for Berlin only here.

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