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Scientific Research Institut and Museum of Nature Senckenberg

Research Station for Central European Highlands

In 1969, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society founded a re-search station in the Hessian Spessart to study the biodiversity of highland regions. Known as „Lochmühle“ the station, nestled in a former railway station, has aimed at studying temporal and spatial dynamics of highland habitats and their inhabitants throughout central Europe.

This unique institute tackles both basic and applied research, hand in hand, helping scientists and the local people to better understand and sustainably manage their environment. The station supports regional development and conservation efforts in numerous projects and offers expert surveys and appraisals. Here a special emphasis lies on monitoring species development (biomonitoring) and quality control of expert surveys in applied sciences.

The basis for this work lies in scientific study of numerous disciplines including stream ecology (limnology), botany, taxonomy and systematics, molecular and classic biogeography, geology and geomorphology. Integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enables a spatial analysis of scientific data.

By offering excursions, lectures and courses for adults and children, the station effectively promotes environmental education in the area. Both at a regional landscape-specific and at a scientific level, it here-by helps safeguard and pass on knowledge and awareness for the natural resources of highland areas.

To enhance regional aspects of research, there is a close co-opera-tion with the J.H. Cassebeer-Gesellschaft, a non-profit association indebted to promoting biological studies with regional aspects and environmental education throughout all age groups within the region.

The Spessart - Model Area for Highland Research

The Spessart remains one of the largest coherent forested areas in Germany. Agricultural land use is relatively extensive, which together with its sparse population make this sandstone region representative for wide areas of the German highlands. It thus represents an ideal model area for studying highland ecosystems.

Highlands boast richly structured ecosystems hosting an extra-ordinary diversity of plants and animals and have thus become an important compensation-resource for the overcrowded industrial and urban settlements. Some research projects at the station are directly connected with the Spessart region, while others have a relevance for the land use and protection of all central European highlands.

How to get there

The Research Station for Central European Highlands lies on the K889 between the village of Wiesen in Frankonia, Bavaria and the community Bieber in the municipality of Biebergemünd in Hesse.


design: Kai M. Wurm
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