Forest & Nature Experience


Two people cycling in the hessian forest

Hessen is rich in forests

895,000 hectares (2.211 acres) of Hessen’s terrain, i.e. 42 percent, is covered in forest. 40 percent of Hessen’s forests are state-owned. 35 percent of the forested areas are distributed across 418 municipalities or cities. There are only eight Hessian communities without any forest. 25 percent is private forest, one third of which is widely scattered small rural private forest.

The Romans called it "Buchonia"

What is most remarkable is the high share of deciduous forest of 55 percent. Many of the mixed forests feature a high percentage of deciduous trees, above all the local beech that is so characteristic of Hessian forests. Even back in Roman times, the area between the Weser Uplands and the Black Forest was referred to as “Buchonia” due to is high share of beech trees.  Currently, the beech trees account for 40 percent of all tree species.

The distribution of forest in Hessen is very unequal. In the areas of Wetterau and the valley basin of Giessen, forest covers only 15 percent of the surface. The area is dominated by fertile soils which have been used for agricultural purposes since ancient times. With only 26 percent of forest, the Rhine-Main Plain also has a relatively low concentration of forest. On the one hand, this can be attributed to the nutrient-rich soils used for agriculture, while on the other hand there is also strong demand for areas suitable for residential and other real estate projects and industrial plants as well as for appropriate transportation infrastructure for this densely populated area. With over 50 percent, areas with a high share of forest include Odenwald, Spessart, Taunus, the Northern Hessian Schiefergebirge [Shale Mountains] and the Weser Uplands.

Are you eager to experience nature in your leisure time? Simply visit Hessen’s nature reserves.

The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, the Rhön Biosphere Reserve and a total of eleven other Nature Reserves are waiting for you to discover them. These parks are a paradise for hikers and nature lovers who are keen to experience a wide array of natural beauty. By promoting sustainable tourism, a sustainable use of the land and the sustainable distribution of regional products, they too make their contribution to the economic development of these regions. Nature reserves foster mindfulness and acceptance of conservation and environmental issues, support the regional identity and raise awareness of the need for an integrated sustainable development in rural areas.


Forests and Forestry in Hessen (PDF)