The Harz region runs across three states (Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia) covering an area of 100 km. It is the highest mountain region in the north of Germany. It is 30 km wide, stretching from the northwest (Seesen) to the East (Eisleben). This region which occupies an area of 2,226 square km, is divided into two parts, Upper Harz (Oberharz) located in the northwest and Lower Harz (Unterharz). Its highest summit is Brocken, standing at a height of 1,141.1 metres above sea level.
Initially an imperative mining area for silver, iron, copper, lead and zinc dating all the way back to the Bronze Age, resources however eventually grew scarce and became obsolete. Today the economy is no longer fueled by the mining industry, but instead, its tranquility nature and breathtaking sights have attracted many tourists to the area. Due to heavy rainfalls, the area is abundant with rivers and dams.The endless efforts put in by the National Park Rangers has ensured that the stunning area is well maintained.
The Harz National Park or “Nationalpark Harz” is a nature reserve located in the German federal states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. It is 24,700 hectares covering about 10 per cent of the total Harz area. The national park lies in the western part of the Harz and stretches from Wernigerode and Ilsenburg (north) to Herzberg and Bad Lauterberg (south). The highest point of the Harz, Brocken is also located within this park. The responsibility of managing and preserving of this nature reserve lies on park rangers.
The Harz region is rich in flora and fauna. However, over the years, environmental changes has resulted in endangering many of these beautiful plants and creatures. As a result, the Harz National Park plays an important role of conserving and protecting of all the organisms.
Wildlife in the Harz region
Harz is the home to many wildlife, farmed animals, plants and vegetation. In the wild, red deers, roe deers, wilds cats and foxes are common. The vegetation varies according to the altitudinal zone. These vegetation are covered by beech woods, mixed woods, spruce woods and raised bogs.
Although the Harz region provides the natural habitat for many organisms, over the years environmental changes have left many defenseless and susceptible. As a result, many organisms within the Harz are now protected by the Harz National Park. Organisms that fall under the endangered species category includes lynx, pygmy owl (a small type of owl), peregrine falcon, ring ouzel (type of bird) and many others.
The lynx was exterminated in 1850 in Germany due to poaching and loss of their natural habitat. However, was reintroduced into Harz in the 1990s. In 2002, the first birth of wild lynx was conceived on German soil, in the Harz National Park. One can also expect to see many sheep, goats, and cowherds grazing hilltops and farmlands with active shepherd’s dog guarding them.