• Erzgebirgskreis
  • Erzgebirge District
  • Erzgebirgskreis

Erzgebirge District

Total size: 1828 km²

Area of the nature park: Approx. 849 km²

Municipalities within the nature park:
Fully within the nature park: Breitenbrunn, Bärenstein, Crottendorf, Deutschneudorf, Eibenstock, Erlabrunn, Hirtstein, Johanngeorgenstadt, Jöhstadt, Königswalde, Kurort Seiffen, Oberwiesenthal, Pobershau, Pöhla, Rittersgrün, Schönheide, Sosa, Sehmatal, Zöblitz
Partially within the nature park: Annaberg-Buchholz, Bockau, Elterlein, Großrückerswalde, Heidersdorf, Lauter-Bernsbach, Marienberg, Markersbach, Mildenau, Olbernhau, Pfaffroda, Pockau-Lengefeld, Raschau, Schwarzenberg, Stützengrün, Scheibenberg, Schlettau, Tannenberg, Wiesa, Zschorlau

Natural region: Western Erzgebirge, Central Erzgebirge, Eastern Erzgebirge
Geology: Mica schist, phyllite, granite, basalt; primarily paragneiss, small areas of orthogneiss

Ridge height: 750–1000 m
Highest elevation: Fichtelberg (1214.6 m)

Terrain: Plateaus sharply delineated by valleys; deeply carved valleys, notable discrete elevations such as the Kuhberg, Auersberg, and Fichtelberg mountains; Scheibenberg, Pöhlberg, Bärenstein and Hirtstein basalt elevations resulting from the erosion of the surrounding rock; plateaus, increasingly marked by valleys towards the west

Soil type: Podzols dominate at the upper elevations; brown podzolic soils and brown earths in the middle elevations; meadow gleysols along the Zwickau Mulde, Pöhlbach and Flöha rivers; paludification and peat formation up to the ridge elevations

Climate: Strong maritime influence; annual precipitation up to 1,000 mm/year far into the middle elevations; precipitation over 1,000 mm/year in some ridge elevations; orographic precipitation due to the mountainsides of the Western Erzgebirge and the prevailing westerly winds; exposed to the wind; characterised by snow drifts and soft rime; continentally influenced; strong differentiation over small areas caused by local windward and lee conditions

Forest climate zones: Lower mountain elevations with humid climates; mid-mountain elevations with humid climates; climate of the higher mountain elevations largely humid; ridge elevations with humid climates

Groundwater: Erzgebirge bedrock aquifer
Watercourses: Water catchment area of the Freiberg Mulde and Zwickau Mulde rivers
Important watercourses: Große Bockau and Kleine Bockau, Flöha, Große Mittweida and Kleine Mittweida, Natzschung, Pöhlbach, Pöhlwasser, Pressnitz, Schwarze Pockau, Schwarzwasser, Sehma, Wiltzsch, Zschopau, Zwickau Mulde
Standing water bodies:
Natural standing water bodies: Few
Artificial standing water bodies: Carlsfeld, Cranzahl, Sosa, and Eibenstock reservoirs; a small number of artificial bodies of water such as fish ponds, abandoned quarries and mines, fire ponds, lakes formerly used for log driving, etc.

Settlement history: The area was colonised by farmers under German and Bohemian rule towards the end of the 12th century. Mining took place from the end of the 14th century at disparate locations as high up as ridge elevations; the towns of Annaberg, Buchholz, Marienberg, Jöhstadt, Oberwiesenthal, Scheibenberg and Schlettau were also founded around this time. In the 17th century, religious exiles settled in the area, and Johanngeorgenstadt was founded. The population decreased after the decline of the mining industry in the 19th century due to limited industrialisation. After 1940, wartime evacuees moved to the area; from 1945 more displaced persons and miners moved to the area in connection with uranium mining by SAG / SDAG Wismut. After the uranium deposits had been depleted, most of the mining community emigrated away from the area.

Settlement types: Forest villages in the northern part of the region; dispersed settlements, rows of cottages and small hamlets associated with industry in the southern part, as well as occasional small urban settlements

Agricultural land use: Forest farmsteads in the north, land parcelling in the south

Regionally important biotopes: Mountainous spruce forests, moorland pine forests, moorland spruce forests, moorland birch forests, upland moors, stone ridges, mining heaps and free-standing naturally formed serpentine cliffs

Regionally important plant species: Monkshood (Aconitum napellus agg.), Manchurian monkshood (Aconitum variegatum), bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia), bog sedge (Carex limosa), English sundew (Drosera longifolia), maiden sorrel (Rumex arifolius), long-leaf starwort (Stellaria longifolia), ladder spleenwort (Asplenium adulterinum), serpentine spleenwort (Asplenium cuneifolium), great marsh thistle (Carduus personata), Fumaria rostellata, bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), creeping pine (Pinus rotundata - grex arborea), small white orchid (Pseudorchis albida), Transylvanian common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. transsilvanica), whorled-leaved willowherb (Epilobium alpestre), chickweed willowherb (Epilobium alsinifolium), broad-leaved cotton-grass (Eriophorum latifolium), autumn gentian (Gentianella amarella), orange lily (Lilium bulbiferum), greater yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus angustifolius), alpine pearlwort (Sagina saginoides), watermelon berry (Streptopus amplexifolius), felwort (Swertia perennis)

Regionally important animal species: Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), black stork (Ciconia nigra), black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia), moorland clouded yellow (Colias palaeno), cranberry fritillary (Boloria aquilonaris), woodland ringlet (Erebia medusa), subarctic darner (Aeshna subarctica), northern emerald (Somatochlora arctica), alpine emerald (Somatochlora alpestris)

Conservation areas (NSG/LSG) protected under the Saxon Nature Conservation Act (SächsNatSchG): NSG Am Riedert, NSG Bockautal, NSG Friedrichsheider Hochmoor, NSG Großer Kranichsee (partial), NSG Halbmeiler Wiesen, NSG Hochmoor Weitersglashütte, NSG Kleiner Kranichsee, NSG Schieferbach, NSG Wettertannenwiese, NSG Zweibach (partial), LSG Auersberg, LSG Steinbachtal, LSG Talsperre Eibenstock, NSG Alte Leite, NSG Bärenbach, NSG Hirschberg-Seiffener Grund, NSG Mothäuser Heide, NSG Rungstock, NSG Schwarze Heide-Kriegswiese (partial), NSG Schwarzwassertal, LSG Oberes Zschopautal mit Pressnitztal (partial)

NATURA 2000 Fauna-Flora Habitats (FFH) and Special Protection Areas (SPA): Kleiner Kranichsee, Zweibach (partial), Großer Kranichsee (partial), Halbmeiler Wiesen, SPA Westerzgebirge (partial), FFH Hirschberg-Seiffener Grund, FFH Rungstock, FFH Schwarzwassertal, FFH Mothäuser Heide, FFH Schwarze Heide-Kriegswiese (partial), SPA Erzgebirgskamm bei Deutscheinsiedel (partial), SPA Erzgebirgskamm bei Satzung (partial)