History of the nature reserve

Ever since the people of the region around Benningen have paid very much attention to Armeria purpurea, in common parlance also called "Riednelke" (carnation of the fen) or "Riednägele" (little nail of the fen).
There are a lot of legends and myths concerning the origin of this plant whose existence especially in the Benninger fen nobody ever could explain (WUNDERER 1927). For this reason the fen has already been put under protection in the year 1939. The current importance of Armeria purpurea to the population is made clear by the symbolic representation of the plant in the new coat of arms of Benningen.

Since 1957 well-founded studies of the regional vegetation have been submitted. They say that the typical flora of the calcareous fen like the Schoenus dominated communities and the Cladium mariscus sedge swamp are being edged out by the wood in an ever increasing speed.
For the first time concrete protection measures for Armeria purpurea have been enabled in the year 1991 by the introduction of the species in the protection programme of endemic and highly endangered species of Bavaria. The aim of this programme is to protect and to improve the last habitats of such plant species. The introduction of the nature reserve area of the Benninger fen into the EC conservation net-work Natura 2000 and the financial funds of a LIFE-Nature project (project start: September 1996) made the realization of the envisaged measures possible. After the original project duration of four years (1996-2000) the project has been prolonged by another three years (up to 2003).
For the whole project period the project has disposed of a budget of 1.262.400,-- €: 50 % of these costs have been born by the EU, the rest has been distributed among other project promoters (Bavarian nature conservation funds 30 %, the city of Memmingen 15 %, the district of Unterallgäu 5 %).