Luxembourg is one of Europe's smallest sovereign states, with a surface area of little more than 2,500 km2. It has a border with Belgium to the west and north, with Germany to the east, and with France to the south. It has no mountains, no moor land and very little standing water. There are four main land divisions: a small area of iron-ore deposits in the south, with a declining but still important iron and steel industry; a small area of lowland farmland in the rest of the south and the centre; a strip of very steep, heavily wooded valleys (part of the Eifel/Ardennes massif); and remnants of marshes and bogs in the north-west on an otherwise cultivated plateau.
Nine Important Bird Areas (IBA) are included in the BirdLife International IBA-Programme. Some 285 bird species have been recorded in Luxembourg. Certainly the most interesting zone is the Remerschen Gravel pits in the Moselle valley. The most interesting breeding species are Penduline Tit, Little Bittern, Grey Woodpecker, Great Reed and Melodious Warbler. It’s the only breeding area in Luxembourg for Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck. Regular winter or migratory birds are Bittern (up to 6); Osprey, Bearded Tit, Hobby, Purple Heron and Great White Egret, ducks and waders. Some 220 bird species have been observed here. An 80ha Nature Reserve was declared here in 1997 and the whole area is Luxembourg's only Ramsar site.
Perhaps the second major zone is the northwestern part of Luxembourg, the so-called Oesling, the land of Black Stork. 4 to 7 pairs of Black Stork breed in Luxembourg and this part of the country is the best for seeing them. Other interesting birds species are Eagle Owl, Great Grey and Red-backed Shrike, Tegmalm's and Little Owl. The numerous little wetlands owned by the Help for Nature Trust (Fondatioun Hëllef fir d'Natur) held populations of Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat. In Winter, Jacksnipe and Hen Harrier are likely to be seen here.
The Our is a little Stream on the German border. It’s good water quality makes it possible for the Otter to survive. Major bird species are Grey Wagtail, Dipper and Kingfisher. Black Stork, Red Kite, Hobby and Hazel Grouse breed in the forests alongside the Our.
The open iron-ore deposits in the southwestern part of Luxembourg are a unique place in middle Europe. Breeding species include Woodlark, Tree Pipit, Eagle Owl, Stonechat and Black Woodpecker in the adjacent forests.
Nearly 50 % of the Luxembourg landscape is arable land. In the northern part of the country, the Oesling region (covering one third of the country); agriculture is partially dominated by grassland culture (26 % of Oesling). Agriculture is part pastoral, part arable, with grazing, hay and silage meadows predominating (the main product being milk). Vines are grown for wine along the Moselle and some of its tributaries.
Forests cover a third of the land surface (almost entirely modified); and of this area one-third is coniferous and two-thirds deciduous. A large amount of reforestation has been carried out in the last 30 years with Picea plantations gaining ground at the expense of native hardwoods. The Luxembourg landscape is extremely poor in standing freshwater and moor lands; wetlands, once abundant, have been much reduced by modern agriculture, as have hedgerows. A small part of country, the so-called Minette, is dominated by abandoned open-cast (iron-ore) mines.