from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bienwald seen from space with the village of Büchelberg as a bright spot to the right of the center

The Bienwald is an approximately 120 km² wooded landscape protection area in the Rhine plain in the southeast of Rhineland-Palatinate . Most of it is owned by the state forest .

The running event Bienwald-Marathon , which has been held since 1976 and also runs through the northern part of the forest area, is named after the Bienwald .



Boundary stone in the Lower Mundat Forest
Overview: The forests between the Palatinate Forest and the Rhine valley on the alluvial fans of the streams. The two brown lines to the left and right of the Rhine mark the transition from the Hochgestade to the Rhine lowlands, the area where the Rhine used to meander and relocate its course again and again. The alluvial fans break off at this line because the Rhine carried away the sands carried by the streams.

The forest area is located on the lower terrace of the Rhine in the southern Palatinate and there mostly within the district of Germersheim , only its westernmost tip belongs to the district of Südliche Weinstrasse . The Bienwald extends east of the German Wine Route from west to east into the Rhine plain and has the shape of an irregular triangle. Its north-western and longest side is the 20 km line between Schweighofen and Rheinzabern towards the so-called cattle line. To the east-southeast, the high bank of the Rhine runs along a 17 km long line via Jockgrim - Hagenbach - Berg . Along the southwest border (16 km), which is identical to the state border with France , the Lauter flows , which is called Wieslauter on the upper reaches .

The forest area mainly belongs to the district of the city of Wörth . The westernmost part of the Bienwald is the Lower Mundatwald . Morphologically, the 10 km² Forêt de Wissembourg , which lies to the right of the Lauter and thus across the French border in northern Alsace, is also to be regarded as part of the Bienwald; however, because of the state border, it is usually not included.

The Bienwald looks quite flat, it sinks almost imperceptibly from about 130  m in the west to 105  m in the northeast ; On a distance of around 20 km, this means a gradient of only 1.25 m / km, corresponding to 1.25 ‰. There are low elevations, which are to be regarded as dune humps deposited by the wind , in the Lower Mundat Forest ( 141  m ), on the northern edge ( 135  m ) and east of the center ( 152  m ).

Similar forest areas in the vicinity are, for example, the Bellheim and Speyer forests .

Geological origin

From the low mountain ranges on the edges of the Upper Rhine Graben, numerous streams strive towards the Rhine, including from the Palatinate Forest over the Haardtrand in an easterly to north-easterly direction. In the last Ice Age and with its decline, there was abundant meltwater available, which transported large amounts of removed rock debris and sand from the mountains to the Rhine plain. The water was distributed in the plain, and so-called alluvial fans formed through the deposition of gravel and sand . As the name suggests, they are triangular in shape; they expand into the plain towards the Rhine. Because the predominantly sandy soil promised little yield for arable farming, forest areas could be preserved on these alluvial fans, while the loess areas were cleared early . In the case of the Bienwald, the alluvial fan begins with the exit of the Lauter from the Palatinate Forest into the Rhine plain.


Louder at Scheibenhardt on the southern edge of the Bienwald

The Lauter, which represents the border with France, forms the south-western boundary of the Bienwald. The body of water rises in the Palatinate Forest as Wieslauter - the upper course name up to the French border - after about 74 km it flows into the Rhine from the left near Neuburg . Along the Bienwald, the course of the Lauter has been preserved in its natural state, it winds in large loops through its floodplain . Blockages, for example from fallen trees and accumulations of branches, cause changes in the flow, so that the course is in constant change.

Numerous streams, rivulets and ditches criss-cross the Bienwald mostly in a west-east direction. The main streams are Schmerbach , Heilbach , Wiebelsbach and Heßbach . Since they are not fed by tributaries or springs, their water flow changes greatly depending on the weather. In times of high rainfall, the groundwater can rise to the surface and wet large areas. In the summer months, the smaller streams often run dry.

Because of the impermeable layers of clay and marl, the groundwater flows run in different "floors" from the Palatinate Forest to the Rhine. In the western part, the clay layers lie close to the surface and prevent the rainwater from seeping away. The “wet bee forest” is characterized by a strong alternation between waterlogging in the winter half-year and drying out in summer. In the eastern part, on the other hand, where the groundwater has sunk considerably as a result of the approximately 10 m high bank slope, the soils are very dry.


Bismarck oak in the Bienwald

How the name of the Bienwald came about and what it means is controversial. Around 670 AD it was called "Biwalt", later "Byewalt", "Biewalt", "Bewald" and in the 18th century "Böhnwald". Since the early 19th century people have been writing "Bienwald" as they do today. Possibly the "bi" is an old root of the name for the bee , so that it could be called "forest of bees". Whether the first part of the name comes from the Celtic word “behe” or “beje”, which means “forest”, has not yet been proven.

On the edge of the Hochgestades, today's Wörth- Dorschberg, there is a burial ground from the Bronze Age . The burial mounds are dated from 1500 to 1200 BC. The tower castle hill "Affelderle" rises very close to the burial mound. A wood-earth fortification could have been built here as a defense system in the 10th century and possibly expanded in stone in the 11th or 12th century.

The mighty oaks and beeches, dense undergrowth and the swampy areas made the Bienwald difficult to walk. The thicket could only be traversed easily on a mule track on the high bank. This path was made into a solid road by the Romans . Around 10 AD they founded Rheinzabern (Tabernae) which, because of the rich clay deposits, developed into the most important pottery settlement in the Roman Empire north of the Alps.

At that time the Bienwald separated the areas of the Triboker and Nemeter from each other.

Around 670 Bishop Theodard of Maastricht is said to have been attacked and murdered on a trip to the "Biwalt" near Rülzheim . “Residents from the area buried the slain on the spot. When miracles took place at this tomb, however, he was thought to be a saint, and many came from the surrounding areas to pray to him and get help. ”A chapel was probably built over the tomb. But the new Bishop of Maastricht had the body brought to Liège. The Dieterskirchel on the road between Rülzheim and Rheinzabern, built in 1957 on the site of the dilapidated previous buildings, testifies to Theodard's veneration today .

Siegfried Line , historic photo from World War II

The Bienwald has been used intensively since the eighth century and the oak tree in particular has been promoted. In the times of need of the 17th to 19th centuries, which were marked by numerous wars, the forest suffered severe interference, so that the deciduous tree species declined. Since oak was in great demand as construction wood, especially in shipbuilding, after the Thirty Years' War (1648) there was an immense deforestation of oak in the Bienwald. Therefore, in 1718, the ban had to be issued "in the future to cut more than one oak in one place."

Straight lines have been preserved from the 18th century, which were used for hunting, timber transport and other diverse forest uses. Today's network of paths with its grid-like structure is a total of 470 km long and was created from the 19th century.

Since the Bienwald lies on the border with France, it sometimes became the scene of clashes in times of war. In 1793 during the First Coalition War , several battles took place there between the Austrian troops under Field Marshal Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser and French units. From the Second World War announce today shrapnel in the logs; The Westwall hiking trail was laid out in Schaidt in memory of this war .

From 1883 to 1972 the Carl Ludowici interlocking tile works mined large clay deposits south of Jockgrim . A landfill was planned in the clay pits left behind at the edge of the forest, but this was prevented.

Today most of the forest area is a state forest (10,275 hectares) owned by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate . In the peripheral areas there are 1,691 hectares of community forest ( town of Kandel , communities of Rheinzabern , Hatzenbühl , Erlenbach , Freckenfeld , Steinfeld , Kapsweyer , Schweighofen , Winden , Minfeld ) and 187 hectares of private forest.


The diversity of the biotopes, the size of the total area, their largely uncut and the existence of individual very old, undisturbed sub-biotopes and old trees make the Bienwald a particularly valuable and species-rich habitat.


Forest on dry sandy soil

On the alluvial cone of the Lauter, a tangle of rivulets, ditches and brooks arose, some of which fall dry during the summer months. Dry and humid, poor and rich locations alternate narrowly. Where the water stands long in the year, the rare alder swamp forests grow, whereas light oak and pine forests are typical for the up to 3 m high dunes. More than 300 different types of biotope and vegetation units have been mapped in the planned protected area .

On the debris fans of the watercourses, which are predominantly made up of nutrient-poor sandy soils, in addition to undemanding conifers (56% today) such as pines , which were first planted in 1576 and currently occupy 48% of the forest area, the originally predominant deciduous trees (44%), especially oaks (25% ), thrive. ), European beech and hornbeam . The pines grow on the drier, the deciduous trees on the more humid parts of the soil.

151 endangered and rare plant species have been identified in the Bienwald. Of these, 86 species are endangered in Rhineland-Palatinate and 72 are endangered nationwide.


Young agile frog
Pine marten
Wild cat

The largest mammals in the Bienwald are wild boar and roe deer ; There are no more deer . In addition to the widespread fox and the rarer pine marten , European wildcats have also made their home again in recent decades as predators . Their population of 45 to 60 animals is the only known lowland occurrence in Europe.

120 bird species breed in the bee forest, 143 species have been observed. Thanks to the efforts of Aktion Pfalzstorch, the resettlement of the white stork , of which there is now a strong population in the southern Palatinate, has been successful on the meadow areas, especially on the northwestern edge, in the cattle lane .

All 16 amphibian species occurring in Rhineland-Palatinate are at home in the Bienwald , which is 75% of all species native to Germany. Of these, the agile frog is known as a character species for the Bienwald.

2200 species of beetles have been recorded in the Bienwald, including 190 ground beetles , which is a third of the species found in Germany. 670 species of deadwood beetles have been found, more than any other forest in Europe . The dragonflies of the bee forest are also extremely species-rich , 46 species have been found.

In the water system of the Bienwald, 254 species or groups of species of aquatic bottom organisms that can be seen with the naked eye were found, including large stocks of the brook mussel in the Bruchbach-Otterbach lowlands . The spring gill foot, a tadpole shrimp, which is endangered nationwide , has its southern limit in the Bienwald.

Economy and Infrastructure


The Ludwigsstein, the so-called Obelisk von Büchelberg

The village of Büchelberg was only founded on a limestone hill in the middle of the Bienwald around 1700 . Traces of Roman settlement have also been found here. However, the soils around Büchelberg are mostly poor in nutrients and yields. Agriculture there has been declining since the 1970s and fallow land has spread. In the 1990s, the cultivated areas began to be transformed into habitats for endangered animal and plant species: a wet biotope was created in a seven-hectare reed area, biotope supervisors maintain the quilted and bushy areas, hay meadows and orchards are preserved, a garden with historical apple varieties was created . In 1979 Büchelberg was incorporated into the city of Wörth am Rhein as a local district .

The small town of Kandel on the northern edge is generally regarded as the capital of the Bienwald region and the “gateway to the Bienwald” or “Bienwaldstadt” . The Fun Forest high-wire climbing garden is also the most important tourist attraction in the Bienwald. In 2007 the Bienwaldruhe was created in Kandel , a cemetery for natural burial .

In addition to the aforementioned cities of Kandel and Wörth, Hagenbach , Berg (Pfalz) , Scheibenhardt , Steinfeld (Pfalz) , Schaidt , Freckenfeld and Minfeld are also located on the edge of the Bienwald.


With two exceptions, only secondary roads lead through the Bienwald. The north-east corner is crossed by the Autobahn 65 ( Landau - Karlsruhe ) for 4 km . The section of federal highway 9 between the border at Lauterbourg ( German:  Lauterburg ) in the south and Kandel in the north has been subject to a truck toll since January 2007, in accordance with a decision of the Federal Council .

The planned gap in the motorway between the French A 35 near Lauterbourg and the German A 65 near Kandel or Wörth is controversial . Such a four-lane route would cut the wooded area for around 12 km much more sustainably than the two-lane B 9 currently; In addition, it would open an alternative route on the left bank of the Rhine for the heavily frequented A 5 ( Frankfurt - Basel ) on the right bank of the Rhine and could considerably increase the volume of traffic through the Bienwald.

On the northern edge of the Bienwald the Winden – Karlsruhe railway runs without a stop and crosses the forest in an almost dead straight line. The Wörth – Lauterbourg railway line, also known as the “Bienwaldbahn”, runs along the eastern edge, and the Neustadt – Wissembourg railway line runs along the western edge .

Management and nature protection

The Bienwald is administered and managed by the Bienwald Forestry Office with an office in Kandel. The wood supply of the Bienwald amounts to about 2.5 million m³ in total, of which 210 m³ are per hectare. The total annual increase is about 72,000 m³ corresponding to 6 m³ per hectare, with annual logging about 40,000 m³ corresponding to 4.5 m³ per hectare are removed.

In 2004, the federal government approved the large- scale nature conservation project Bienwald to establish and secure parts of nature and landscape that are worthy of protection and of national representative importance.

Web links

Large-scale conservation project

FFH area

Bird sanctuary

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e The Bienwald. Association for the protection of the white stork Viehstrich e. V., accessed on September 1, 2010 .
  2. Note: The marked "Klingelbach" is actually called Klingbach .
  3. Carola Schnug-Bögerding, Doris Herrmann: Speyerer Forest information board . (set up at the forest recreation area on behalf of the Speyer city council).
  4. Johannes Becker, Forestry Office Bienwald: Trenches and streams in the Bienwald. (PDF; 5.3 MB) 2005, accessed on June 21, 2011 .
  5. a b Anke Sommer: Tree faces in the Bienwald . Wörth / Karlsruhe 2015, ISBN 978-3-9816744-9-1 .
  6. Siegfried father: The origin of the name Bienwald . In: Landkreis Südliche Weinstrasse (Hrsg.): Heimatjahrbuch des Landkreis Südliche Weinstrasse . Landau 2001.
  7. Manfred Bader, Albert Ritter, Albert Schwarz: Wörth am Rhein, Ortschronik . Ed .: City of Wörth am Rhein. Worth 1983.
  8. ^ Ludwig Schmidt : The West Germans . (= History of the German tribes up to the end of the migration . Volume 2), Munich 1940, reprint 1970, p. 134.
  9. Karl Geeck: It is always the legend of Dieterskirchel that moves . Sankt Theodard and the Dieterskirchel near Rülzheim. 2013.
  10. Rolf-Ulrich Roesler (Ed.): The Bienwald Landscape Protection Area in the Southern Palatinate (=  Pollichia . No. 3 ). Bad Dürkheim 1982.
  11. a b c Bienwald. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, accessed on May 21, 2020 .
  12. ^ Albert Ritter: Büchelberg, Life in the Bienwald . Ed .: City of Wörth am Rhein. Woerth 2005.
  13. ^ Bienwald large-scale nature conservation project. (No longer available online.) Pollichia , archived from the original on December 8, 2009 ; Retrieved September 1, 2010 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 1 '  N , 8 ° 8'  E