Floating islands

The flora of the fescue grass

The Bavarian Forest and Bohemian Forest contain eight glacial lakes, but the floating grasses known as “floating islands” are only found in the Kleiner and Großer Arbersee.

Since the last ice age, plants such as sphagnum mosses and sedges have taken over the open water surface by pushing their shoots into the lake. Over millennia, these bogs, which consist mainly of peat (dead plants), have reached a thickness of 1 to 3 metres. When the Arbersee lakes were dammed by more than half a metre for timber drifting and transporting firewood on the Großer Regen, these silt depositions broke away from the subsoil. Since then, they have been “floating” on the water’s surface. Until recently, the islands in the Kleiner Arbersee (Lesser Arbersee) changed position according to wind direction. In the meantime, just like on the Großer Arbersee, they have permanently merged with the subsoil around the shallows. The fescue grasses in the Großer Arbersee push out across the water’s surface from the western shore of the lake over an area of approximately 2 hectares.

Peat bogs form a richly structured micro-relief of depressions (“hollows”) and elevations (“hummocks”) on their surface.

Entry to the islands is prohibited. Your life could be at risk!

Good for the peat bog – Good for the climate!

If you turn the disc, you can see the rare plants which grow here on the “floating islands”. Have you seen the carnivorous plants?