Tufa springs are a distinctive feature of the natural landscape but are very rare. Calcareous and porous rock beds such as those found in limestone areas are needed for the formation of springs of this type. Many highly specialised plant and animal species find optimal habitat conditions in streams etc. in tufa areas; populations of these creatures are at their highest here. The aquatic moss Cratoneuron commutatum and algae which often form colonies covering the rocks contribute to tufa formation. The pads of moss and algae remove carbon dioxide from the water; the chalk which is dissolved in the water precipitates out resulting in the formation of chalk deposits on the minute leaves of the plants. The parts of the plants enclosed by chalk die and are overgrown by new pads of moss. The moss therefore makes an active contribution to tufa growth.
Photo: D. Lang (Landratsamt Kitzingen)
The tufa springs between Willanzheim and Markt Einersheim are of outstanding significance for the protection of the natural environment and have therefore been designated as a European protected area. In the winter of 2011/2011 as part of the LIFE+ project land, was cleared, for instance around the tufa spring of the Markt Einersheim sewage treatment plant in order to optimise the conditions there. The greatest possible care was exercised during the work because of the extreme sensitivity of the tufa to persons walking on it or driving vehicles across it. Much of the work was only possible as manual work.