The most beautiful thing about the Wuhlheide is the nature, which is characterised by different types of landscapes. Large near-natural forest areas alternate with meadows and open spaces characterised by horticulture. This opens up many possibilities for visitors. You can go for a walk here at will, listen to the cries of native bird species, rest on the designated lawns or, sitting on a bench, simply let your gaze wander.
If you walk through the Wuhlheide with your eyes open, you will discover some ecological features, whose biodiversity encompass various value-adding ecosystems. We would like to introduce you to some of them below.
A particularly protected habitat form with a great tradition, many inhabitants and, nowadays a great rarity, is the acidic soil oak forest as we find it in the Wuhlheide. These sparse oak forests depend on dry, nutrient-poor, sandy soil conditions and reside there in intimate association with some of today’s very rare, and particularly protected plant species, such as the white-flowered cinquefoil (Potentilla alba). The forest is therefore also called the cinquefoil oak forest. The occurrence in the Wuhlheide is one of the largest in the northeast of Germany.
The native oaks (pedunculate and sessile oak) are the most long-lasting living tree species in our flora, which is why they can form stable habitats for well over 1000 different animal species. Especially insects such as the rigorously protected Great Capricorn Beetle from the family of Longhorn Beetles, which are among the largest beetles in Central Europe, feel at home here.
It is more likely to hear than to see some of the bird species in the oak forest. Since old oak trees like to form large cavities, they provide shelter for the large woodpecker species such as the black woodpecker and owls such as the tawny owl.
The countless wood-destroying fungal species and microorganisms, which preferably live in and on old or damaged trees, have immense ecological significance.
In the area of the original Rohrlake moat lowland (Rohrlake-Wallgraben-Niederung), Rohrlake-Wallgraben-Niederung, an ice age drainage channel in the glacial valley of the Spree, there are last remnants of an alder and willow swamp forest.Urstromtal der Spree, gibt es letzte Relikte von Erlen- und Weidenbruchwald.
In the past, the Rohrlake – now a marshy stream – carried enough water to form some bodies of water such as small lakes and standing streams in the Wuhlheide. Perfect living conditions for the alder and willow swamp forest. Local drinking water extraction lowered the groundwater level and dried out the Rohrlake, so that these wetlands can now only be preserved to a small extent by re-wetting.
European or common toads and ringed (grass/water) snakes live in the wetlands of the alder and willow quarry forest. For the wild boars, the pools serve as wellness oases. This is where they take their mud baths, which protect them from sunburn, overheating and vermin.
The dry and semi-dry grassland is a habitat that is particularly protected throughout Europe and to which many specific species of flora and fauna have adapted.
Whitish hair grass, sea pink (thrift, sea thrift) and silver cinquefoil, hare´s foot clover, sheep’s fescue and maiden pink cultivate a beautiful plant community here. This in turn forms the habitat for sand lizards, tiger beetles, the blue-winged grasshopper and other species of the typical Berlin dry grassland, as it also occurs in the Wuhlheide, e.g. on about 3 hectares north of Kastanienallee.
The main location factors for a stable stock of dry grassland include a dry warm climate, direct sunlight and, above all, nutrient poverty.
Nutrient oversaturation, particularly as a result of increasing respiratory nitrogen inputs, is difficult to counteract by landscape conservation measures (mowing with removal of the mown material). Unfortunately, the biodiversity of dry grasslands is thus increasingly at risk.
To protect the hotspots of nature conservation, the existing diversity of habitats and species, a protected status as a nature or landscape conservation area is planned for parts of the Wuhlheide.