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Denmark - Enviornment

Denmark Environment

Denmark is a small country, most of it occupying the Jutland peninsula. The southern border of Jutland adjoins Germany, Denmark's only land connection to the European mainland. Denmark is bordered on the west by the North Sea and on the east by the Baltic Sea. To the north, separating Denmark from Norway and Sweden, are the Skagerrak and Kattegat straits. In addition there are some 400 islands, only 90 of which are inhabited. Copenhagen is on Zealand, the largest island, sitting east of the main land mass. Most of Denmark is a lowland of fertile farms, rolling hills, beech woods and heather-covered moors. The country hasn't a single mountain; the highest elevation, at Yding SkovhĂžj in Jutland's Lake District, is a mere 173m.

Enduring centuries of deforestation and overgrazing, the Danish environment has been heavily exploited. In all, about 20% of farmland is at or near sea level, with much of it on environmentally sensitive wetlands made arable by draining the water with pumps. The landscape has been so altered that hardly any of Denmark's naturally winding streams remain intact, the rest having been artificially straightened. About 12% of Denmark has tree cover but primary forest is rare. The woodlands are largely deciduous with a prevalence of beech and oak trees. Also found are elm, hazel, maple, pine, birch, aspen, lime (linden) and chestnut. The largest wild species found in Denmark is the red deer, which can weigh over 200 kilos. Denmark also has roe deer, fallow deer, wild hare, foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs and badgers. There are nearly 400 bird species in Denmark, of which magpies, urban pigeons, coots, geese and ducks are the most common. Denmark's largest contiguous area of woodland is Rold Skov, a 77-square-kilometre public forest that contains Denmark's only national park, Rebild Bakker.

Considering its northerly location the climate is relatively mild, moderated by the effects of the warm Gulf Stream which sweeps northward along the west coast. Nonetheless it's safest to expect rain and grey skies in Denmark, thus guaranteeing a pleasant surprise when the sunshine does break through. The most pleasant months in which to visit are from May to August, when temperatures can hover around 25 degrees and daylight lasts almost 18 hours. In the coldest winter months of January and February, the average daily temperature lingers around freezing point - and while that may be cold, it's nearly 10 degrees Celsius above average for this latitude.

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