German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Lower Oder Valley (Unteres Odertal)


North-east Brandenburg on the German-Polish border near Schwedt on the Oder river.

Physiographic unit:

Odertal (Oder river valley)


Core area 11,542 ha

Project description:

Lower Oder River Valley © Ralf Forst (BfN)

This is a watercourse margin project of representative value on a national level. The site consists of a largely intact alluvial floodplain landscape which is to be conserved in its near-natural state and improved where necessary. The lowland area with its wide floodplains and near-natural, adjacent surrounding vegetation of hillside forests and expanses of dry grassland is of high ecological, scientific and aesthetic value. The conservation scheme for the project area aims to introduce extensive management practices (extensively managed pastures, hay meadows mown once per year) in the southern area which is now dry (dry polders), and to leave the northern area which is inundated in the winter months (wet polders) to develop naturally for the most part. In this area, beds of common reed (Phragmites communis) and greater tussock-sedge (Carex paniculata) communities will initially spread. Efforts will also be made in appropriate areas to develop riparian woodlands which are characteristic of the site (in part by means of measures to kick-start the development of such riparian woodland). From a phytosociological point of view, the site's value derives from the remnants of upper and lower riparian woodlands along with other damp forest communities and xerophile subcontinental steppic grasslands ('Federgras-Steppenwiesen'). For its avifauna, the lower Oder valley has national importance as a breeding, resting and wintering site for species including the aquatic warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola), the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and Bewick's swan (Cygnus columbianus bewicki). As well as the remarkable figure of 100,000 geese and ducks which stop over here, another breeding bird species found is a large population of corncrakes (Crex crex), a species under threat worldwide. The site also exhibits a great diversity of mammalian fauna with 45 species. The project executing agency has so far managed to acquire more than 3,000 ha of watercourse margin sites of conservation value in the core project area in the lower Oder valley for conservation purposes, and banked further substantial quantities of land for later exchanges. Beyond the scope of this project, plans are being made for a binational German-Polish national park.

Support period:

1992 to 2006

Level of funding:

28.68 Mio Euro

Project executing agencies:

Verein der Freunde des Deutsch-Polnischen Europa-Nationalparks "Unteres Odertal" e.V. (Friends of the 'Unteres Odertal' German-Polish European national park), Schloß

16306 Criewen, Germany

Tel.: +49 3332 21980, Fax: +49 3332 219826


Project funding agencies:

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Land (state) of Brandenburg,
Verein der Freunde des Deutsch-Polnischen Europa-Nationalparks "Unteres Odertal" e.V. (Friends of the 'Unteres Odertal' German-Polish European national park)

Liaison within BfN:

Ralf Forst, Unit FG II 2.3

Further information:

Natur und Landschaft (Nature and landscape, German language journal), Volume 69 (1994), Issue 7/8: 323 - 331 (Ordering instructions, only in German)

Last Change: 19/03/2021