Nature reserves constitute one of the most important conservation categories in Germany and Austria. The exact definitions vary, but together they combine the conservation of natural landscape, the protection of endangered species and the preservation for scientific interests.
The Arnspitze Nature Reserve, with an area of 10.8 km², comprises a largely untouched primeval landscape of the montane, subalpine and alpine region with a high biotope diversity. The isolated Arnspitze mountain range is located in the northern limestone Alps between Wetterstein and Karwendel. It is built almost entirely of Wetterstein limestone. Rugged peaks (Arnplattenspitze, 2171 m, Mittlere Arnspitze, 2091 m, Große Arnspitze, 2196 m) characterize the landscape. In addition, there are traces of the ice-age glaciation with typical round shapes, mighty moraines and glacial striations. The montane stage is characterized by spruce-fir or spruce-fir-beech forests, on dry south-exposed slopes by pine forests. The subalpine mountain forest is characterized by spruce-larch stands as well as extensive mountain pine fields. Above it, one finds alpine dwarf shrub and grass communities.