The Adelegg - flora, vegetation and ethnobotany of a central European mountain landscape

The Adelegg with a altitude of up to 1129 m and an area of 112 km² is a mountain landscape that is mainly wooded today. Parts of the Adelegg mountain ridge belong to the 6.4 km² Adelegg fauna-flora habitat area (FFH no. 8326-341). Large parts are located in the 68.14 km² large Adelegg landscape protection area and associated tertiary foothills (CDDA no. 319441), as well as in the Adelegg bird protection area (VSG no. 8226-441).


The Adelegg lies north of the Allgäu Prealps and is a transitional landscape to the subalpine young moraine country. the region is not an offshoot of the alpine fold mountains, but part of an alluvial cone in the Molasse basin stretching between the Alps and the Swabian Jura, and was folded up only insignificantly during the formation of the Alps. The conglomerate molasses of the Adelegg consists of Nagelfluh and belongs to the Upper Freshwater Molasse that was deposited by the Ur-Iller in the Miocene, and mainly consists of material from the southern Central Alps. Adelegg includes the Adelegg mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, and the Bavarian areas of Hohentanner Wald, Kürnacher Wald, Buchenberger Wald and the Sonneneck mountain ridge.


While parts of the Adelegg are now under special protection as a Flora-Fauna Habitat area and bird sanctuary, the massif was used intensively in the past. After settlement by Benedictines in the Middle Ages, a large number of glassworks later followed, which cleared a large part of the forest areas for production. Species-rich plants developed on these clear-cuts. This change from forests to alpine meadows gives the Adelegg its special character. The mountain range is home to countless plant and animal species, for example chamois or wood grouse. Today, the Adelegg is mainly used for forestry and tourism.


The Adelegg is part of the biodiversity hotspot "Upper Swabian Hills and Adelegg", a young moraine landscape interspersed with glacial basins, lakes and moors with numerous crests and depressions. Characteristic of the young moraine landscape is the small-scale alternation of forest areas (mainly spruce forests) and intensively used agricultural areas (mainly grassland, but increasingly arable farming), which are interspersed with extensively used or unused wetlands. These are high and low moors with moor forests, meadow meadows and wet meadows, as well as spring moors, lakes and ponds that are connected to one another by watercourses. In the Adelegg area itself, steep slopes with extensive grazing and partly very natural montane hillside forests as well as Alps in the higher areas determine the landscape. In particular, the hillside forests rich in deadwood and the high altitudes favor a very species-rich avifauna.


On the one hand, our new project will examine in detail the flora (vascular plants, mosses, lichens, fungi) and recent vegetation of the Adelegg, on the other hand, the use of plant and fungal resources will be documented over the centuries, and this knowledge will be combined with current ethnobotanical and ethnomycological studies Adelegg residents added. On the one hand, this serves to document the historical change that Adelegg was exposed to and the recent global change, on the other hand, it creates the basis for future nature conservation and development measures, not least with regard to a possible designation of the area as a biosphere reserve.