Because of the rare fauna and flora the Belchen was declared protected as far back as 1949. In 1993, the nature reserve was expanded and now covers an area of approximately 1600 hectares, one of the largest protected areas in Baden-Württemberg.
In the highlands of the Belchen many rare species of butterflies, beetles and birds can be found. Typical birds are the northern raven, song thrush, cirtril finch and water pipit, but the peregrine falcon, wood grouse and hazel grouse can also be found at the Belchen.
Some of the plants are relics from the last ice age that are otherwise only found in the Alps. These include Swiss bellflower, mountain rose or Swiss dandelion. In addition, there are numerous rare species of lichen.
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