Geography of Germany
The coordinates of the extreme points of Germany: northern – 8 ° 24 ’44 ” east longitude and 55 ° 03 ’33 ” north latitude; eastern – 15 ° 02 ’37 ” east longitude and 51 ° 16 ’22 ” north latitude; southern – 10°10’46” east longitude and 47°16’15” north latitude; western – 5°52’01” east longitude and 51°03’09” north latitude. The greatest length from north to south is 876 km, from west to east – 640 km.
Germany is washed by the seas: the North and the Baltic, the coast of the seas is predominantly low, flat, often indented by bays and estuaries. In Schleswig-Holstein, the Baltic coast is indented by fjords, and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, estuaries predominate. Germany includes the islands: East Frisian and North Frisian, Helgoland and Dune in the North Sea, Rügen (the largest German island – 930 km2), Hiddensee and Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea.
The total length of land borders is 3,757 km. Germany borders on 9 countries: Denmark in the north (67 km), Czech Republic (811 km) and Poland (442 km) in the east, Austria (815 km) and Switzerland (316 km) in the south, France (448 km), Luxembourg ( 135 km), Belgium (156 km), the Netherlands (568 km) in the west.
Germany is distinguished by exceptionally diverse landscapes. The territory of the country rises from north to south and is divided into 5 landscape zones: the North German Plain with pronounced forms of glacial relief; Central German mid-altitude mountains and uplands (Rhine Slate Mountains up to 880 m high, the Weser Mountains, the Thuringian Forest, in the center of the country – the Harz massif, in the east – the Ore Mountains on the border with the Czech Republic and the Bavarian Forest); Southwestern German midlands (massifs of the Black Forest, Odenwald, Spessart, etc.); South German pre-alpine plateau (Swabian-Bavarian plateau from 600 m in the north to 300 m in the south, Danube lowland); The Bavarian Alps are the advanced ranges of the Eastern Alps with a wide development of glacial and karst landforms. The highest peaks of Germany are in the Northern limestone Alps: Zugspitze – 2962 m, Hochwanner – 2746 m, Höllentalspitze – 2745 m; in other mountain ranges, Feldberg (Black Forest) stands out – 1493 m, Grosser Arber (Bavarian Forest) – 1456 m.
Germany is poor in minerals. The most important of them are: hard coal (reserves of industrial importance – about 22 billion tons), primarily in the Ruhr, Saar and Aachen coal basins; brown coal (about 160 billion tons), incl. in Northern Hesse, in the regions of Cologne and Leipzig; potash salts – the foothills of the Harz, the Vera basin, rock salt (the Neckar region, Upper Bavaria). There are also small deposits of oil (reserves are estimated at 31 million tons), gas, iron, uranium and polymetallic ores, graphite, etc.
Podzolic and brown forest soils predominate. The most fertile soils (chernozem) are in protected river valleys, intermountain regions, especially in the southeast, and also on the Magdeburg Plain. In the plateaus and mountains, stony soils alternate with peat-bog soils, unsuitable for agriculture.
According to bridgat.com, Germany is located in the zone of influence of moderately cool western winds. The climate is temperate, maritime and transitional from maritime to continental. Altitude climatic zonality is manifested in mountainous regions. Large temperature fluctuations are rare, but the weather is changeable. The average January temperature on the plains is from +1.5°C to -0.5°C, in the mountains up to -5-6°C. The average temperature in July in the North German plains is +17–18°C, in the sheltered southern valleys +18–20°C, and in the mountains +14°C and below. In general, the average annual temperature is +9°C.
Annual precipitation on the plains is on average 600-700 mm, in the mountains – up to 1600-2000 mm. The maximum precipitation in the northwest is in autumn, the minimum is in spring, to the south the maximum is in summer and the minimum is in winter.
The largest transport artery in Germany – r. Rhine (865 km), flowing from Lake Constance in the south of the country and flowing into the North Sea. It is navigable for 778 km. The most important rivers also include the Elbe (700 km), Danube (647 km), Main (524 km). Most rivers do not freeze in winter. In addition, there are navigable canals: the Middle German (321 km, connects the Rhine and Elbe), Dortmund-Ems (269 km), Main-Danube (153 km), Kiel (99 km), connecting the Baltic and North Seas. There are many lakes in Germany, mostly small ones; the largest include Lake Constance (total area – 571.5 km2, including the German part – 305 km2) and Müritz (110.3 km2).
The flora of Germany has changed a lot under the influence of human activities. Although almost 30% of the country’s territory is covered with forests, they are mostly planted and heavily cultivated. There are many coniferous trees: pine dominates in the north, spruce in the center and south. On the plateaus and low mountains, there are forests with a predominance of broad-leaved species. There are many beech forests, where oak, hornbeam, maple, linden, birch, etc. are also found. Steppe vegetation is found in the Danube valley, Mediterranean vegetation in the southwest, and peat bogs on the northern plains and the Bavarian plateau. The highlands of the Alps are characterized by subalpine and alpine meadows with a variety of herbs and shrubs.
Large wild animals are completely (tur) or largely (wolf, bear) exterminated. Some animals and birds are found only in protected areas and nature reserves (moose, eagles, owls). Roe deer, deer, as well as wild boars, hares, pheasants, etc. are important for hunting. There are many different birds, in particular on the sea coast – waterfowl. Fish stocks have been greatly reduced in recent decades due to pollution of rivers and coastal waters.