The flat area in the countryside just behind the exit of hohn, in the direction of weimersdorf, catches the eye at first sight. In the light hollow grow sedges and in between there are white dots of woolgrass.
Just now, however, purple spots stand out which, on closer inspection, turn out to be orchids. "This year in particular, the broad-leaved orchid is growing here with a gratifyingly large number of specimens", explains frank reibenweber, a biologist at the district office for species and biotope protection.
The long wet season does not seem to have been bad for the rare orchids. The flat, on whose edge they stand, is a rarity in the coburg region. A shallow bog has formed up here on the mountain villages of all places. It is not as coarse as the lowland moor near rottenbach, but still significant in its uniqueness, says frank reibenweber.
In such a high location in the foothills of the thuringian forest, without the bog, there would hardly be a plant such as the marsh blood-eye, bloodroot or woolgrass to be found, or the rare marsh grasshopper to occur. However, frank reibenweber is particularly pleased with the comparatively abundant population of the orchid, which is a very sensitive plant.
More than other plants, orchids depend on a symbiotic relationship with fungi. The orchid supplies the partner with carbohydrates (sugar) from photosynthesis. The fungus is dependent on this because it has no photosynthesis itself and therefore cannot produce any sugar. It returns the favor by giving the plant substrate, which it takes out of the soil with its incredibly fine roots, where the orchid has long since had to give up. If the fungus dies as a result of external influences, the orchid is also devastated. If the fungus dies, so does the plant. Extreme weather conditions or soil destruction can therefore cause considerable damage. Therefore, the small fen is strictly protected. It must not be walked on, and certainly not driven on.
In the coburg region, bogs do not play a major role as far as their flatness is concerned. This is also true for the entire state of bavaria. "Only four to five percent of the flat land in bavaria is covered with bog soil", according to reibenweber. "Still, they bind about 20 percent of the carbon that goes into the free state’s soil." So bogs are more effective than forests in this respect. The moor is also unsurpassed as a water reservoir. It can increase its volume sevenfold by absorbing water. "Bogs are therefore better than lakes, because they can grow with them", says the biologist.
But moors used to get in the way of people who drained them or exploited them by cutting peat. So only remnants remained. For frank reibenweber, the fact that these plants are particularly well protected is extremely important. This is the only way to preserve certain rare plants and animal communities.
Preserving the marsh flats is therefore an important contribution to safeguarding the diversity of species in our region, emphasizes the biologist.