Tannbuel Conservation Land

The "Tannbuel" is one of the most important and well-known conservation lands of the Randen mountains. Hundreds of nature friends visit the area every year, in order to experience the "Frauenschueli"-orchid flush in May and June . The "Tannbuel" is one of the most interesting locations of our region and offers more than "Frauenschueli".

Forest in the northernmost district of Switzerland

The hospital "Zum heiligen Geist" (holy ghost) acquired in 1376 the first estates in Bargen. In course of time the estate was purposeful enlarged. Today the town of Schaffhausen, as legal successor of the cloister "Zum heiligen Geist", owns in the northernmost rural commune of the canton about 340 ha (1ha = 100m x 100m) of forest and 24 ha of agricultural estate including the leasehold farm Oberbargen. The conservation land "Tannbuel" is part of the town estate.

A conservation land evolves

The "Tannbuel" area is a geological mosaic of different Jurassic and tertiary sediments. Margel which is rich of limestone dominates in the center of the reserve. These soils were used over centuries for agriculture.

There is no forest on the whole tableland shown on an old map, called "Peyer-Karte" (1683. Another map of 1848 called "Dufour-Karte" (1848) shows that forest was growing exclusive at the steepest dry south slopes. In the consequence of the very extensive agricultural use and special location conditions (change-dry and nutrient-poor lime soils) a variety of rare plants from different climatic phases could prosper and survive in the "Tannbuel".
In the years 1897 to 1907 a part of the former meadows and fields was reafforested. Further areas afforrested on its own. The special location conditions favored the formation of an interesting, species-rich pioneer flora with numerous rare and threatened species. On the leached out former agriculture soils the forest consisting of pine trees and spruces developed very slowly. Thus there were good conditions for growth and preservation of rare specimens in the herb and bush layer. In addition the "Tannbueel" has a variety of structures with meager meadows, bushes, edges of forests and heaps of collected stones.

The ecological and biological value of the area was recognized very early. In 1961 the "Tannbueel" area was turned in a nature reserve.

Diversity of species

The leading plant is certainly the "Frauenschueli"-orchid (lady's-slipper, Cypripedium calceolus). There are hundreds of them flowering in the inner zone of the protected area. The "Frauenschueli"-orchid attracts each year many visitors from whole Switzerland and from South Germany. Besides there are numerous other interesting specimens.
The structure wealth of "Tannbueel" ensures that numerous bush and tree species coexist in a small area. For example there grow two species of Sorbus "Mehlbeere" (sorbus aria) and "Elsbeere" (sorbus torminalis) as well as a remarkable population of wild fruit trees.

Kind in Sommerwiese


The protected area would lose value without constant maintenance. Without purposeful forester work the prevailing pioneer forest plant society would develop to an ordinary booking or a spruce forest and many rare pioneer plants would disappear. In particular light-loving plants would be displaced. The structure-rich forest seams would close up and intensively used meadows would become ecological impoverished. Based on a detailed nature reserve concept maintenance is planned and executed. Among other things:

- cutting unwanted species
- cutting wood which grows too closely to allow light to reach the floor
- removing unwanted competition trees (e.g. spruce and beech, privet etc..)
- extensive use of meadows without fertilizer
- hedge maintenance and maintenance of edges of forest

In addition to the above measures visitors are guided and informed, research is done in the reserve, buffer zones are installed around the nature reserve, the adjacent agriculture soils are used less intensive than usual, etc..

There is a lot of maintenance work which costs money. In the last years substantial funds came to the nature reserve "Tannbuel" from federation, canton, town and KURA. The necessary financial means are secured at least for the next 3 years. The town, as owner of the estate, is strongly engaged for the nature reserve and gives the necessary personnel and financial means to the forest administration.

Text: W. Vogelsanger - Forst- und Güterverwaltung - Stadt Schaffhausen
Translation and photos by A. Brünner

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