Plant and Animal Life in Germany
Photographic Book Germany

Once a country of thick forests, Germany today includes mostly areas that have been cleared for centuries. However, forest conservation since the 18th century has preserved large areas of oak, ash, elm, beech, birch, pine, fir, and larch. About one-third of the country is woodland.

Of the many animals that once roamed the forests, deer, red fox, hare, and weasel are still common, but these animals and wilder game such as wild boar, wildcat, and badger depend increasingly on conservation efforts.

Private hunting licenses are very expensive, and even fishing in the streams and lakes where edible species abound is not encouraged. Instead, there is a good deal of fish farming, including trout and carp; deer are also raised commercially to satisfy the demand for venison. Many species of songbirds migrate to Germany every year, as do storks, geese, and other larger fowl that fly in over the Mediterranean Sea from Africa. Herring, flounder, cod, and ocean perch are found in coastal waters.

The presence of coal and iron ore encouraged German industrial development in the late 19th century. Most of the deposits were found in close proximity to one another, allowing for the convenient use of coal as fuel first to process the iron into steel and then to manufacture products from the steel. The availability of inexpensive transport by water, and later by land, facilitated the growth of manufacturing and encouraged exports.

The presence of certain minerals in great quantity, such as potash and salt, permitted the development of a chemical industry, including the production of fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. The availability of wood, petroleum, natural gas, brown coal (also known as lignite), and waterpower further smoothed the path of German industrial progress. Germany has a mostly moderate climate, characterized by cool winters and warm summers. River valleys such as that of the Rhine tend to be humid and somewhat warmer in both winter and summer, whereas mountain areas can be much colder. Precipitation on the average is much heavier in the south, especially along the Alpine slopes, which force incoming weather fronts to rise and shed their moisture in the form of rain and snow. Encarta

The black forest. Encarta
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