A contribution by Mathias Neitzel, Inken Reimer, Marisa Santos
The natural reserve of Wittenbergener Heide contains different typologies of vegetation. The heath, grassland and dunes are the more light and wide areas – the shadowy places are mostly covered by forest. The shadows in these places are changing according to the season. In the winter season, the area is more open and lighter – during the summer time the reserve covers more shadowy places. Depending on the season, the users choose to pursuit or ignore these places, following a traverse mode that grants either sun or shadow. Given the current human-made path layout, there is no route option to traverse the area in only one mode, regardless of the season.
Due to the natural topography in the area, characterized by a 20-30 m difference in altitude from the River Elbe to the higher lying Geest, you find a natural light intensity differentiation. Only bearing in mind the topography without any vegetation, shadowy slopes are succeeded by sunnier plains above the edge of the Geest. On top of the area, natural depressions are the place for sand to accumulate, forming inland dunes.