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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Lausitzer Seenland

National Natural Heritage
Utilization and planning
Waters and floodplains
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Large-scale, undisturbed natural development on a former lignite mining site
Federal state
Division II 4.3 Nature Conservation and Renewable Energy
Funding Phase I: 2003-2004, Funding Phase II: 2005-2011
core area 5,760 ha
Saxony, Bautzen administrative district, north of the town of Hoyerswerda, close to the Saxony-Brandenburg state boundary, Physiographic region Senftenberg-Finsterwalder Becken in the Lausitzer Urstromtal
Grant amount
Funding Phase I: 430.000 €, Funding Phase II: 4.140.000  €

Project description

The Lausitzer Seeland (Lausitz lake district) developed as a result of and is still characterised by the impacts of former lignite mining activities. Although the landscape has been fundamentally changed by human activity, it is nonetheless of great nature conservation value. Recultivation begun at the time of the former GDR has since been abandoned, allowing large-scale natural development to run its course. Past dumping of soil layers over the lignite upturned rough soil – a nutrient-poor substrate that has attracted many diverse and rare species. The area targeted by this large-scale nature conservation project also stands out for dynamically changing landscapes with little fragmentation.

The lakes that have collected in the disused open-cast mines provide habitats for transiting, roosting and breeding aquatic birds. For species that prefer warmth and light (such as tawny pipit, woodlark and hoopoe), semi-open and open habitats are to be maintained and secured using habitat management methods. The area provides for extensive grazing using traditional livestock breeds. The current coniferous forest is also to be gradually turned into near-natural mixed forest. In other sub-areas, natural development will be encouraged and overseen by nature conservation experts.

The region is unique in that it is in an ongoing state of economic and environmental change. Alongside nature conservation aims, socio-economic factors will be taken into account to serve sustainable development efforts in the region. Equally important roles are played by recreational use, nature-compatible hunting and fishing, and extensive forestry and agriculture.

In 2010, after reclamation was complete, severe subsidence occurred on former mining land. The funding for the project was terminated in 2011, largely because little or no access is allowed in much of the core area as a result of the subsidence.

Project executing agencies

Lausitzer Seenland gGmbH
Am Anger 36, 02979 Elsterheide-Bergen

Project funding agencies

Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), Federal Nature Conservation Agency (BfN), State of Saxony, Lausitzer Seenland gGmbH
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