Mentioned in particular below:
Middle spotted woodpecker | Bechsteinfledermaus | Hazel Dormouse
Approval for the destruction of the Hambach Forest illegal?

Occurrence of species of the Annex IV (species in need of strict protection) in the Habitats Directive (FFH-RL) in the Hambach Forest & Steinheide (only a selection)
Yellow-bellied toad Bombina variegata Wikipedia
Natterjack toad Bufo calamita Wikipedia
Agile frog Rana dalmatina Wikipedia
Brandt’s bat Myotis brandtii Wikipedia
Natterer’s bat Myotis nattereri Wikipedia
Bechstein’s bat Myotis bechsteinii Wikipedia
Greater mouse-eared bat Myotis myotis Wikipedia
Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus Wikipedia
Nathusius’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii) Wikipedia
Common noctule Nyctalus noctula Wikipedia
Lesser noctule Nyctalus leisleri Wikipedia
Brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus Wikipedia

Source: BUND


Approval for the destruction of the Hambach Forest illegal?

At the German Wikipedia we read: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richtlinie_92/43/EWG_%28Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Richtlinie%29#Verfahrensbeispiel_Deutschland:

“The federal states in Germany compile lists of protected areas. The areas are to be listed primarily under the criterion of the species and habitat protection and they include already existing protected areas under the Federal Nature Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz, BNatSchG). When choosing, the federal states have a certain margin of discretion regarding the conservation perspective. But then no other than aspects of natural conservation may play a role (e.g. political expediency, economic and infrastructural interests).(Emphasis added)

This means that the approval for the destruction of the Hambach Forest is illegal under European law because the state government should have submitted a European application for protected status!

The importance of the Hambach Forest as a habitat for the Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Until the clearing in favour of the open pit Hambach in 1977, the forests called “Bürgewälder” (guaranteed forests) harbored the only significant presence of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius, Linnaeus 1758) in the german Lower Rhine region. At the same time, this presence was the last large population before the western border of this area.
This is one of the 5 largest brooding presences in North Rhine-Westphalia in which, in addition, the colony density is one of the highest even in national scale. This Woodpecker, insectivore all year, depends for its food especially on old oaks, as they can be found especially in the Hambach Forest. It is a characteristic or flagship species of this type of natural habitat.
In North Rhine-Westphalia the Middle Spotted Woodpecker is one of the highly threatened species (Red List 2); and is mentioned in Annex I of the Directive Birds of the EC. Hence North Rhine-Westphalia is obliged to take all necessary measures to ensure the population of this Woodpecker. For example the development of nature reserves and the maintenance of habitats.
Because of the growth of the open pit of Hambach and consequently the loss of old oak woods, it came in the last 25 years to a decline of over 20%. Only between 1995 and 1998, about 500 hectares of the Hambach Forest were cleared. The number of proven territories of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker reduced in the same period from 52 to 34.
Altogether this population of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker will largely disappear in the next 20-25 years, with the growth of the open pit Hambach and continued clearing of the “Bürgewald” forests.

The Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) about to disappear

Only since the research of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), the importance of the Hambach Forest is known as a habitat of the Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii), which is strictly protected under Annex II and IV-FFH-RL. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the species is considered “seriously threatened”. Some presences are in mountainous regions and its peripheral areas. The flat country (eg the Rhenish lignite basin), only a few presences are proven. In all North Rhine-Westphalia, 8 nursery colonies and 2 important swarm colonies are known.
In the natural area around the Lower Rhine, only two nursery colonies of Bechstein’s bat are known so far: One in the Hambach Forest and the other in the nature reserve Steinheide, located near the same mine. However, social structure and space usage behaviour of female Bechstein’s bat breeding communities suggest that there are other nursery colonies, especially in the part of the Hambach Forest which is still standing and is characterized by a high proportion of old wood. However, these units will disappear in the future, since the forest will be completely destroyed for the lignite exploitation.
And even the area of refuge “Steinheide” will be disturbed by plans for the open pit mine, especially by the realignment of the motorway BAB 4. An expert’s report by the Institute for Zoology at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, ordered by BUND, comes to the result that the realignment of the A4 will become a “mortal trap for the Bechstein’s bat.” Given the extraordinary importance of the its colony with regard to the protection of nature in the Steinheide area, the combination of damage caused by the realignment of the A4 is equivalent to not only a clearly increased risk of extinction, but even that the state of conservation of Bechstein’s bat in the natural area of the plain of the Lower Rhine and Cologne worsens so that the species will come to the brink of extinction in the complete natural area.


The Hazel Dormouse

DAS – report : Hazel Dormouse stops road construction (YouTube)

Wind power AND Nature conservation? That’s how it works! Dormouse’s nest can stop wind turbines. (YouTube)

Habitat is destroyed – monster excavator against dormice
RWE moves hundreds of the gentle rodents

Düren – Against excavators, even a strictly protected animal species is helpless: The dormouse has to disappear from the Hambach Forest!
The RWE lignite exploitation by destroys the natural habitat of this rodent – the forest will be cleared. No more mouse!
Actually, the company wants to move the dormouse to the meadows at the edge of the Inde creek south of Aldenhoven. One hundred nesting boxes are hung from trees in the still actual habitat of the small gentle animals.
“The goal is that the dormice find shelter there and we carry them in the boxes to the prairies at the Inde creek. Here reign ideal conditions to found a new population”, said the spokesperson of RWE, Laura Hoeboer-Schneider.
Animal protectors think that the transfer will be the sentence to death for the population! “It is an illusion to assume that animals can be moved without damage,” said Dirk Jansen of BUND. “RWE removes the habitat for many protected and unprotected species and plays the creator. That will not work!”
It is an officially authorized offense of nature protection law. “In the meadows at the Inde prevail quite different conditions. It is doubtful whether there dormice will survive there”, Jansen said.