Springs are biotopes which occupy only a small area. As a transitional habitat between ground water and surface water bodies, they are of great importance for specialized animals and plant, which are adapted to their particular conditions. The species, which are able to exist in these small-scale habitats, are few in numbers. They are usually very sensitive towards disturbances of their otherwise rather constant living conditions.

For humans, springs were always of essential importance, resulting in a high symbolic value since times immemorial. They are elements of economic and cultural importance – sources of drinking water, cult sites, touristic attractions – thus settlements were founded often in their vicinity, and sometimes cult buildings were erected nearby. Names of fields or settlements ending in –quell, -born, -brunn, -bronn, -springe, -sprung or –topf all point towards springs. Springs are symbol of origin, beginning, start, birth, growth, they are a prominent emotional element in cultural expressions of mankind, like lyrics and fairytales, as well as in everyday’s language.

The research of spring ecosystems is a necessity. It enables a monitoring of environmental impacts on-water sheds with a near-surface ground water. In the light of the aims and demands of the European Water Framework Directive, springs are of a special importance as objects of research. Knowledge gained about water balances, distribution of ground water organisms and structural quality may result in well-founded measurements for securing and improving the health of natural waters.