Forests, fields - fantastic! The Steigerwald margins at Iphofen and Markt Einersheim

A unique man-made and natural landscape can be experienced in and around the margins of the Steigerwald in the vicinity of Iphofen and Markt Einersheim. For many centuries the under storey was coppiced about every 30 years for firewood, whilst the upper storey, consisting mainly of oaks, was left to grow in peace. This created what became known as the "Mittelwald" (coppiced woodland). The result was the characteristic appearance of the oak and hornbeam forests and their vast richness of a variety of structures (e.g. different storeys, hollow trees and dead wood).

Today the region between Iphofen, Uffenheim and Bad Windsheim is the last major, commercially exploited expanse of coppiced woodland in Germany. The wooded areas are closely interspersed with almost unspoilt meadows and narrow valleys drained by streams.  A wealth of rare and endangered species developed in these habitats. The edge of the Steigerwald therefore makes a special contribution to the preservation of biological diversity and constitutes an important building block in Natural 2000, the Europe-wide network of Nature protection areas. The intention is that the area is to be protected and developed with the aid of the EU's Life+Nature support programme as an important centre of biodiversity as well as the centre of coppiced woodland cultivation and management in Germany and Central Europe. In doing so, Life+ will also open a unique display window for people to observe this fascinating and attractive environment.