The 600-hectare Rastatter Rheinaue is considered one of the last intact floodplains in Europe and has been under nature conservation since 1984.
The area almost resembles a jungle, which has also earned it the nickname "Baden Jungle". The great biodiversity of the animal and plant world is impressive. At the same time, the floodplain forest protects people and the region from floods as a natural reservoir.
Unique diversity of species and plants
The Rhine floodplains serve as a habitat for countless animals. In addition to deer, wild boar and foxes, immigrant species and rare mammals such as nutria, raccoons and golden jackals also cavort there.
The almost extinct and extremely shy wildcat has also already left its traces in the "Baden Jungle", and the beaver is just migrating in.
More than 90 different species of songbirds also build their nests in the Rhine floodplains. There are up to 152 breeding pairs on ten hectares - also thanks to the species-rich mixed forest, which also benefits the insect world.
Floodplain forest protects from floods
Since 1990, the Rastatt Forest has also relied on hardwoods typical of floodplain forests when planting new trees: English oak, elm, field maple and wild fruit. Along the watercourses, black poplar, silver poplar and quaking aspen as well as silver willow are predominant. These tree species have their natural distribution area in the floodplain forests and are able to survive even large and long-lasting flood events.
The floodplain forest itself also serves as a natural floodplain. If the Rhine overflows its banks, the forest is flooded. The water can then gradually run off, seep away and evaporate. Up to 34 million cubic meters of water can flood the floodplain forests in an emergency.
Without the Rhine floodplains, many towns north of Rastatt would be acutely threatened by floods several times a year.