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Palatinate Forest (D) – Northern Vosges (F)

The transboundary German-French UNESCO biosphere reserve was the first of its kind in the European Union. The German part extends from the “German wine road” deep into the dense Palatinate Forest with its beeches, spruces and pines. Popular tourist destinations are the sandstone cliffs in the South and the almost one hundred castles, including Hambach Castle with its historic importance for Germany.

The biosphere reserve has been a pioneer in establishing protected areas recognized by law in both countries. The German-French joint evaluation in 2009/2010 was also a global first. The two units of this transboundary biosphere reserve are cooperating for example to establish long-term monitoring sites of water and air, to create a strictly protected forest reserve and to maintain the lynx population. They support local employment initiatives and deploy initiatives of sustainable economic development, such as sustainable tourism. The "biosphere house" ( close to the border is a spectacular tourist attraction.

Hiking in the treetops (Photo by the BR) Hambach Castle  (Photo by Roland Hauck) Dahn cliffs in southern Palatinate Forest (Photo by Patrick G)

Specialties of the biosphere reserve are its vineyards. One of Germany’s most famous wine-growing regions, the “German wine road” crosses the Western part of the biosphere reserve. A number of local wine-growers are part of a regional business network which has established quality criteria and evaluation mechanisms to guarantee high quality and environmental sustainability of regional products.

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