Plant-and animal life
Denmark can be regarded as a Western Europe in miniature. The area is 43,000 km2, which corresponds to less than a tenth of Sweden’s. It houses more than 400 smaller and larger islands as well as a long and varied coast. The Jutland peninsula in the west is an extension of the European mainland.
The flora is broadly in line with that in Skåne and Halland, but especially in Jutland there is a large element of true oceanic species that are missing or very unusual in Sweden, for example holly, dune tail (Carex trinervis), dwarf train, large phryle (Luzula sylvatica), beach keys (Dactylorhiza majalis purpurella), kvastglim (Silene otites), burnet, Genista anglica (Genista anglica), Genista tinctoria, Vicia Orobus (Vicia Orobus), polygala serpyllifolia (Polygala serpyllifolia) and primrose.
The fauna is of Central European type and is characterized partly by the fact that the country is an island with the sea as a barrier to dispersal, and partly because the landscape is lowland and today relatively forestless and heavily influenced by culture. The early deforestation contributed to the disappearance of a number of animals, especially in the lower fauna. In comparison to neighboring countries, Denmark has a poor fauna. Characteristic contemporary species are those that are favored by, or at least have good ability to adapt to, the cultural landscape, such as deer, fallow deer, red fox, stone marten, rapeseed, roach, song larch and gray sparrow.
For more than 5,000 years, the landscape has been dominated by agriculture, with the original nature forced back into the most barren parts of the country. Today’s natural landscape is dominated by planted forests (conifers and beech), some more natural deciduous forests (oak, ash, goat, linden, maple, elm, birch and club), mosses, streams, moors (most man-made), coastal limestone cliffs., long sandy beaches with adjoining dunes, shallow coastal and marine areas and the vast Wadden Sea.
Although today’s Denmark is still dominated by intensive agriculture, nature has in many places been able to come back with larger and more natural forests as well as restored wetlands. As part of this, beavers have been replanted after more than 1,000 years away. During the start year 1999, 18 animals of German origin were expelled south of the Ringkøbingsfjord in Jutland; today there is a tribe with over 165 beavers. Ten years later, beaver was also planted out in northern Zealand.
Sea eagles nested in Denmark for the last time in 1911 but returned by their own power in 1995. Today there are a tribe of around 40 breeding pairs. Bornholm has been on trial introduced wild European bison in a large enclosure where the public has access; If the experiment fails, you will start re-implantation on a larger scale, especially in Jutland.
While the wolf is coming back with the animals migrated from a new strain of growth in Germany. The first wolf was found in 2012 in Thys National Park in northwestern Jutland, and since then additional animals have been found. It has been estimated that Jutland could house a tribe with up to 10 family groups.
Along the North Sea coast of northwest Jutland is Thy, an interesting coastal and heathland area. In 2008, Thy became Denmark’s first national park. The windswept landscape houses several of Denmark unusual species crane, sandpiper, golden plover and the natterjack toad, and in the calcareous ponds and small lakes can be found aquatic plants such as water lobelia, quillworts, Najas flexilis (Naja flexilis) and water snake bowl globe grass.
Little Wild Swamp
Across Jutland bordering the Kattegatt lies Lille Vildmose, one of Denmark’s wildest nature areas. Despite peat cover, Lille Vildmose still houses the largest high-mass complex in northwestern Europe. Here are cloudberries, cranberries and heather and breeding birds as crane, curlew, cormorant (Denmark’s largest colony), Montagu’s harrier, eagle and golden eagle (the country so far the only settlement). Deer are common and wild boar has one of its few occurrences in Denmark here. In order to maintain the open character of the area, an old form of horse from Poland has been introduced (konik). Lille Vildmose is also one of the places where one tries to recreate an urox-like form of cattle by crossing different primitive races. The possibilities of reintroducing elk and visage to Lille Vildmose have also been explored.
The Wadden Sea
In southwestern Jutland lies the Wadden Sea National Park, one of Denmark’s most valuable natural areas. With the islands of Fanø, Rømø and Mandø and the neighboring coast, the area encompasses 1,466 km2, most of which are shallow tidal zones. The area is characterized by tidal movements and separated from the North Sea by a series of flat islands. The park includes marshland, sandy beach and dunes. The Wadden Sea is Europe’s most important resting place and nesting area for seabirds. Among the birds of the nest are cut spots, red bones and small terns. During the autumn, winter and spring Wadden Sea is visited by millions of migrating birds, especially pink-footed, barnacle goose, Brent goose, shelduck,windswept, eider, black, beach cat, heather whistle, seashell and marsh. In specially established protection areas, seal seals breed their young. The Wadden Sea is also an important breeding area for fish; more than 60 percent of the North Sea population of plaice is considered to grow up here.
In eastern Jutland, the Mols Bjerge National Park has been set aside primarily to promote outdoor life. The area covers 180 km2. The landscape has been shaped by the recent ice ages and consists of forests, rolling moraine hills, pastures, moors and coast.
At Roskildefjord in Zealand, a national park is planned in Roskilde – Lejre. With ancient, historic ancestry and an attractive hilly landscape made of large estates, here is a wealth of different environments with deciduous forests, mosses, lakes and a fishy fjord. Here there are sea eagles, deer and several rare plants in Denmark such as tulip.
Kings of North Zealand
A little further north on Zealand is the Kongernes Nordsjælland with Denmark’s two largest lakes Arresø and Esrum Sø as well as the country’s second largest forest area, Gribskov. Beavers have been planted around Arresø. In order to safeguard the natural values, the area is planned to become a national park.
In the shallow seas around the Danish island of Funen, Lolland, Falster, Møn and Zealand wintering or rest many birds during migration, particularly the greylag goose, Brent goose, whooper swan, mute swan, wigeon, common eider, tufted duck, goldeneye, red-breasted merganser and coot. Tumblers are searching for the Little Belt, Big Belt, Fehmarn and northern Öresund all year round. Other important places for porpoises in Denmark are northern Jutland, the Gulf of Germany and Horns Rev along the North Sea coast.
The lower marine fauna is rich off the coast of Jutland, where full salinity prevails, but becomes much poorer in Bälten and Öresund with its brackish water. With the exception of Bornholm, marine life is dominated by soft bottom fauna, that is, animals that live on and in sand, clay and deep bottom.
See also Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Nature conservation in Denmark is under development and the first national park was inaugurated as late as 2008. The Danish Nature Conservation Act (Nature Protection Act of 1992) provides national protection for a number of biotype types with areas over 0.25 ha (moors, mosses, meadows, shore meadows and pastures).. Lakes greater than 100 m 2 and watercourses are also protected. In total, these areas comprise about 10 percent of Denmark’s area.
Under the Natura 2000 program, approximately 250 areas are protected in the country, which occupy about 8 percent of the land area and about 18 percent of the territorial sea. The Danish Natura 2000 areas are divided into bird protection areas, habitat areas and ramsar areas. Nature-protected areas also exist in the form of national parks and nature parks of widely varying design. The national parks are considered to be of special national conservation interest and are financed by the state, while the nature parks are financed and organized at local or regional level.
Denmark has a warm temperate climate with a maritime feel. The country’s location in the north temperate zone’s west wind belt affects in particular the humidity and precipitation conditions. All year, mostly winds blowing west and southwest. However, when high-pressure systems in the summer are over Scandinavia, the cold west winds are blocked, and the highest temperature measured under such conditions is 36.4 °C. The annual average temperature is 7.7 °C and the lowest measured temperature is -31.2 °C.
Although Denmark is small to the surface, there are typical regional climatic differences within the country, especially between the interior and coastal areas, which are affected by the sea. During the coldest month, which is February, the west coast has an average temperature of 0.5 °C while Bornholm in the far east has –1 °C. The summer temperature also has a more continental appearance to the east. Thus, the average temperature on the north coast of the west coast is 15 °C in July, while the islands in the southeast have slightly above 17 °C. The length of the frost-free period also varies regionally. The number of days with an average temperature below 0 °C on the coasts is 70–80, inland 100–120.
The rainfall in Denmark falls mainly in connection with front passages and averages just over 700 mm per year. The greater part of western and southern Jutland receives more than 800 mm, while the north-western part of Zealand receives less than 500 mm. Most rain falls in the autumn with a maximum in November (79 mm) and at least in February (38 mm) and April, a distribution which is to the detriment of plant cultivation in Denmark. However, the amount and geographical distribution can differ greatly from the mean values.
Terrain shapes and bedrock
Denmark’s current geography has been shaped mainly by a series of icings during the quarter. Only in the eastern parts of the country does it reach the dominant granite bedrock in the rest of Scandinavia. Most of Denmark is characterized by a rolling plains landscape with moraine and fertile arable land, and the landscape is broken up by islands and streams.
Bornholm in the far east is made up of granite bedrock that belongs to the Phoenician Scandinavian shield, which is evident in its northern cliffs. Mountains of the day occur in the form of limestone from the Critical Period coral reef formations in northern Jutland and southeastern Sjelland.
The real Denmark consists of three natural geographical regions: Jutland, the islands and Bornholm – a division that takes due account of Bornholm’s topographical and geological special position. The Jutland peninsula, which occupies more than half of Denmark’s total land area, is a direct continuation of the Central European mainland, while the islands otherwise form a peculiar moraine archipelago. It consists of 100 inhabited and 383 uninhabited islands, which spread on both sides of Jutland, though mainly in the southeast. This strong fragmentation of the Danish land surface is related to its small height above the sea, averaging 30 m, which in turn depends on the bedrock location and the nature of the soil cover. However, relief and detailed topography on Jutland and on the islands are more a result of the quarter-term transformation through the icings than of the impact of the underlying bedrock. This similarity between Jutland and the islands makes them below treated as a unit.
Denmark is a natural link between the European mainland and the Scandinavian peninsula, a road that was unbroken after the ice age and became of great importance for the spread north of plants, animals and people. As the sea surface rose, the land mass became strongly divided, and this in turn meant that the coastline is very long, more than 7,400 km. The circumference of a circular area with the same area as Denmark would be 742 km, ie one tenth of the current coastal area. Another relationship that also shows the close contact between sea and land is that no place in Denmark is further than 52 km from the nearest coast. Nor can the size of the land area be specified precisely because the coastline is constantly changing depending on the sea’s erosion and accumulation as well as human land recovery companies. Especially on the southwest coast of Jutland,
Because of its geographical location, Bornholm has a completely different structure from the rest of Denmark in terms of bedrock, terrain shapes and coastal design. The island is located together with the archipelago of Ertholmene with Christiansø in the border zone between the Phoenician Scandinavian shield and the Central European sediment basin. The island’s relatively straight coastline and the weak slope of the land to the south, unlike other parts of Denmark, are strongly associated with the bedrock’s composition and tectonics. Like Skåne, which lies in Bornholm’s extension to the northwest, the island consists of Precambrian rocks in the north and post-Cambrian sedimentary rocks in the south and southwest.
About two-thirds of Bornholm’s bedrock is made up of granite, mostly gneissy, which is pierced by cracks and faults. The gneiss granite has different looks and different names. The most common is the streaked granite, other characteristic varieties are paradise slopes, meadows and rowan granite. Lighter variants are the hammer and swan oak granites. The granite area is penetrated by pegmatite and diabasic corridors. In the southern part of the island, the Precambrian bedrock is overlain by cambrosiluric rocks, such as neo-sandstone, alum slate, orthoceratite limestone and graptolite shale. Further south are loose sand and clay layers and smaller coal deposits from Trias and Jurassic. Furthermore, there are marine deposits from older chalk in the form of green sand and limestone without flint layer.
Inland ice has later crossed Bornholm from the southeast and left a very thin moraine blanket. A distinctive feature of the landscape is crack valleys in two intersecting directions through the granite area. The largest is the 4 km long and 60 m wide Echo Valley. Nearby is Bornholm’s highest point, Rytterknægten, 162 m above sea level. At the coasts, the bedrock is nowadays in several places, and faults on the west and north sides have created slopes of 50-70 m altitude. To the south, the coast is flat and sandy. Among the dune fields, Dueodde at the southern tip of the island is the largest.
Jutland and the islands have a structure and topography that in many respects are quite opposite to Bornholm’s. The bedrock is covered here by thick quaternary deposits, on average 50 m but in places up to 200 m. Through deep drilling, however, one has a good knowledge of its composition. The Precambrian bedrock has reached 900 m deep in Funen and 1,275 m in northern Jutland, but is probably more than 5,000 m below ground level in the middle of the peninsula.
In the post-Permian “Danish bay”, part of a then-sea basin, powerful deposits of Late Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments were deposited. During the perm, red sandstones and clays were thus formed in a desert environment, where volcanism also occurred. The basin was filled in and became lagoons and salt lakes that gave rise to salt deposits in Jutland and Lolland. Even during the Triassic arid conditions prevailed when bundle sandstone was formed and replaced by marine layers of shell lime. During the late Triassic desert and salt layers were formed again and during the Jurassic clay and sand were deposited.
The so-called Cretaceous Sea also spread across Denmark (see chalk). Here layers of lime emerged, and coral reefs grew. Up to 500 m thick layers of chalk writing from Senon now constitute the oldest layers found in Denmark directly below the ground cover. They are found in northern Jutland and in the southeast on Falster and Møn, visible in the cliff of Møns, on Lolland and southern Zealand. Inventories from dan (danien) consisting of limestones from decomposed older deposits and reef formations of coral and moss animals occur south of the senon formations in northern Jutland and eastern Zealand, where they appear, among other things. in Stevns cliff. Paleocene deposits are found in southern Djursland, most of Funen and central Zealand. Layers from the Eocene of green and red plastic clay, also containing volcanic ash, the so-called molar, can be found in the western part of the Limfjord. Oligocene formations of marl and mica sand spread across Jutland south of the Eocene and also in a narrow strip along southern Fyn, on Ærø, Langeland and southern Lolland. Finally, Miocena stocks, with lignite, has the largest overall distribution throughout central and southern Jutland.
On top of the bedrock there are deposits from the last three ice ages during the quaternary that are represented in Denmark. The sale season dominates the surface layers in western Jutland, while the weichselisencovered most of eastern and northern Denmark up to the main ice margin of Jutland. This line, which runs from Bovbjerg on the west coast of Jutland to Dollerup and then continues straight south towards Padborg, is by far the most important natural boundary in the country. This also forms a boundary line between different soil types in the country. Pod oil soil is thus most developed in southwestern Jutland, which also has richer precipitation that leaches the soil. Water-sick areas even occur when water circulation in the soil is hindered by cementation, so-called stone formation, in the lower part of the leached layer. To the east of the main ice margin, where rainfall is generally less, brown forest soil develops. The acid-containing, desiccating water forms by oxidation red-yellow iron compounds in the soil.
In Denmark, a number of types of natural landscape can be distinguishedwith different topographic character and educational background: glacial landscapes, valley, dune, granite and coastal landscapes, most with variants. The glacial landscape dominates in Denmark, but has a different design. To the west of the said ice-edge line for the latest inland ice, in Denmark called the main residence line, in western Jutland lies the so-called old moraine landscape. It is a terrain area that has been beyond the influence of the latest ice and therefore lacks the landform features that are otherwise characteristic of glacial landscapes in the Nordic region. Instead, this area has been transformed by water, wind and frost activity in the Arctic environment for a long time. Large, flat hills, mostly consisting of sand, but also clay, are found here and are known by their Danish name, bakkeøer. The largest among them are from the north Skovbjerg, Varde,
Between these unique formations, which are visible remnants of older icicles, in particular the sale ice, spread slightly sloping sandy surfaces to the west, called so-called plains. They consist mainly of sand, which ice rivers brought out from the melting ice in the east and deposited in the eroded depressions between the moraine hills. The sandy, lean plains with their heaths, planted spruce fields and wind-protected hedges are also penetrated by valleys where the settlement is denser. The largest of the plains are Karup and Tinglev moorlands.
The young moraine landscape, on the other hand, which extends east of the ice margin, has a stronger relief. The highest point in Denmark, Yding Skovhøj, 173 meters above, lies within this landscape type characterized by the latest ice, as well as several other of the higher points in Denmark. A moraine hill landscape of special design was formed at the edge of the ice, where previously deposited moraine was brought together. Through the oscillating movements of the ice rim, rows of morbid ridges arose. In several places, leaching of the finer particles has taken place, and there these marginal moraines consist of coarse gravel, stone and block accumulations, which are clearly visible in the landscape. Bottom moraine generally forms an irregular topography behind the rim formation. Large moraine plains with muddy soil, deposited by the Baltic ice stream, are among others. on Lolland, while higher moraine plateaus,
Special forms in the glacial landscape are the elongated, meandering pebbles that make up meltwater deposits and appear markedly on the flat Danish islands. Others are so-called hat-shaped slopes that have been flattened by sea erosion and now rise with steep sides up to 30 m above the surroundings. River and valley landscapes in Denmark include partly in the present-day valleys that are relatively small here (the largest is Gudenå in northwestern Jutland, 158 km long) and partly tunnel valleys that contrast strongly with the V-valleys created by rivers. These are broad valleys that formed under the ice and have an uneven slope to the east. They are particularly abundant in eastern Jutland, where they have also given rise to the deep intrusive fjords and thus to the localization of the cities on this coastal route. The valley floor is often 100 m lower than the surrounding landscape, and in the deepest valleys are multitude of rows of lakes. A third type of valleys goes perpendicular to the tunnel valleys, once formed as meltwater valleys along the retreating ice edge.
Another type of landscape characteristic of Denmark is “the marine foreland”, ie. a coastal area that used to be the seabed and that was raised after the ice age. Most prevalent is this landform, which occupies a tenth of Denmark’s surface, north and east of the Limfjord. Finally, the coastal landscape is what gives Denmark its special contours and is determined by its design by various factors. The steep coast is thus due to the fact that special properties exist in the bedrock, which applies to both the rocky coast in Bornholm’s granites and the well-known steep coasts in limestone at Møns, Stevns and Bulbjerg’s cliffs. However, the flack coast is the most common coastal type in Denmark and is due to the various moraine deposits and level changes after the last ice age. The impact of coastal currents provides a strikingly straight coastline for many coastal routes, e.g. Jutland’s west coast. The dune coast is also common in Denmark. The highest dune is Blåbjerg while Råbjerg Mile at Skagen is a large hiking dune. A peculiar coastal landscape is the marshland coast in southwestern Jutland, where the so-called Wadden Sea is increasingly being founded and land growth is taking place.