Here, the beech forest seems to plunge into the sea. Dead tree giants create bizarre landscapes on the rocky shore. This stunning backdrop once enchanted the artists of the Romantic era: The contrast between the white chalk cliffs, the beeches’ green, and the blueish-green sea could not be more spectacular.
- UNESCO recognition: 2011
- Protected area: Jasmund National Park
- Beech forest region: Baltic
- Area: 492.5 ha
- Number of component parts: 1
- State: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
- Altitudinal range: planar (lowland, 60 – 161 m above sea level)
- Fauna: White-tailed eagle, Peregrine falcon, House martin, European fire-bellied toad
- Beech forests on the chalk cliffs © Tilo Geisel
- Free-standing beech on the cliffs © Tilo Geisel
- Guided tour of the World Heritage site © H. Bärwald
- Beech forest by the sea © Tilo Geisel
- Mushrooms on dead wood © Tilo Geisel
- View of the coast © I. Stodian
- Nature Experience
On extended hikes along the cliff path Hochuferweg, the whole diversity and beauty of the area can be experienced. The imposing backdrop of the chalk cliffs and sweeping vistas across the Baltic Sea provide hikers with an unforgettable experience. The National Park Centre at the Königsstuhl chalk cliff, which protrudes 118 metres from the sea, offers an interactive exhibition where visitors can learn more about the history of the landscape and the biocoenosis of the beech forest.
Due to the complex interactions between climate, landscape and soil, Jasmund National Park exhibits an extraordinarily broad range of habitats. The beech forests alone, with their different characteristics, inhabit a wide range of nutrient-poor to nutrient-rich and dry to damp sites on limestone and glacial deposits. Different types of mire are scattered throughout the forest in a mosaic-like pattern, and the limestone plain is dotted with a network of streams. During the Ice Age, glaciers repeatedly crossed, flattened, and compressed the Jasmund chalk block. As the Baltic Sea evolved in the post-glacial period, this dynamic limestone coastline formed a steep escarpment, crowned by a forest landscape.
- Flora and Fauna
The diversity of habitats provides the basis for a great diversity of flora and fauna. Particularly noteworthy are the rare lady’s-slipper orchid, the giant horsetail, and the coralroot. The limestone cliff face is a breeding ground for peregrine falcons and other birds, and there are several colonies of house martins. Breeding bird species also include the white-tailed eagle.
- Beech Forest Type
Jasmund represents the beech forests of the lowland. The approximately 3,000-hectare protected area is home to the largest contiguous beech forest on the Baltic coast, covering some 2,100 hectares. The Baltic wood barley beech forest is the predominant forest type here. It is accompanied by orchid beech forests on steep limestone escarpments, with ash-beech forest in creek valleys, with alder, spring swamps, and mires. On the chalk cliff faces, the beech forest gives way to a dynamic mosaic of open areas, bushland, and genuine primeval forest. The forests alongside the cliff faces remain undisturbed due to their steepness and inaccessibility.
The area was first placed under protection back in 1929, prompted by concerns that this impressive landscape could be under threat from chalk mining. Other protective legislation followed in 1935 and 1954, until the area was finally designated a National Park in 1990. Since then, the forest has been gradually left to its natural development.