LIFE Forests-waterworlds

Project area


The Ville Forests cover the hills between Bonn and Cologne limited by the lively Rhine valley in the West and the agricultural landscape of the Lower Rhine basin in the East. The project area includes four Natura 2000 conservation areas (pSCI´s) with 4.378 hectares of forest.

 Forest reserve Kottenforst in the South

Lage KottenforstThe Kottenforst is a forest area in the West of Bonn with an areea of 4.000 hectares. 2.500 hectares are protected unde the habitat directive (DE-5308-303). It is a wide plateau with impressive oak-hornbeam-forests on hydromorphic soils with pedunculate oak, hornbeam, European beech and small-leaved lime. The old-growth forests are habitats for several rare and endangered species like middle spotted, grey and black woodpecker, European wildcat, stag beetle and Bechstein’s bat.

Characteristic elements of the Kottenforst are the small ponds like the 'Königsmaar' ('King´s pond') and the 'Kurfürstenweiher' ('Elector´s pond'). They have been built during the reign of elector Clemens-August in the 18th century. There are only a few small creeks like 'Katzenlochbach' ('Cats creek') and Venner Bach ('Venner Creek'), which drain the plateau to the river Rhine.

The Kottenforst was a preferred hunting area of elector Clemens-August in the Baroque period. He built a radial network of paths in a shape of a star with the centre at his hunting chateau in Röttgen. Several wayside crosses remind of this period.

Today there are seven strict forest reserves in the Kottenforst where forest management has been stopped and natural forest dynamic can occur. In the 1970 ´s two 'Naturwaldzellen' ('Natural forest reserve') were established particularly for forest research and in 2010 five 'wilderness areas' have been added.


Waldville and Villewälder bei Bornheim in the  centre

Lage BornheimThe project area continues to the North on the wooded ridge of the Ville hills. Here you find two Natura 2000 areas with old-growth mixed oak forests. The Waldville (DE-5207-301) is located between the small villages of Buschhoven and Heimerzheim and reaches an area up to 1.130 hectares. The 'Villewälder bei Bornheim' (DE-5207-304) are located in the north between Weilerswist and Walberberg with an area of 725 hectares. Both Natura 2000 conservation areas
are separated by a block of conifer forests.

You can find old-growth forests of the natural habitat types “oak-hornbeam-forests on hydromorphic soils” and “Asperulo Fagetum beech forests” which are favourite habitats for woodpeckers and bats.

Characteristic elements of the Ville are the small ponds called “Maare”, most of them probably made by people but with the typical vegetation of eutrophic standing waters like reeds and free-floating water-plants.


Altwald Ville in the north

Lage AltwaldThis Natura 2000 area called 'Old growth forest Ville' (DE-5207-303) is located at the periphery of the former brown coal mining area. In its centre a strict forest reserve with an old-growth oak-beech forest can be found, where man has retreated already 40 years ago (Naturwaldzelle Altwald Ville). Since the establishment in 1978, a structure-rich and species-rich beech forest has developed with a lot of dead wood and a rich fauna.  In this 20-hectar forest area, 1,071 beetle species including 364 dead wood specialists as well as 83 species of fungi have been detected.

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