After railway operations were discontinued at the marshalling yard in 1952, nature gradually reclaimed the terrain. Where the area used to be characterised by track ballast and sand, valuable dry grasslands, tall herbaceous vegetation and a native forest were able to develop between railway relics. Over the years, this environment has given rise to a great diversity of species for which there is usually no room elsewhere in the city. For this reason, large parts of the site were declared a landscape and nature reserve in 1999.
The 18-hectare Natur Park Südgelände is still home to a large number of rare and endangered animals and plants. For this reason, it is not allowed to enter the protected area. Visitors are guided through the park along paths and footbridges that follow the course of old railway lines.