Niederspree-Hammerstadt pond landscape (Teichgebiete Niederspree-Hammerstadt)
The practice of pond farming for centuries has stamped its character on this near-natural cultural landscape with a great diversity of habitats meriting protected status, such as extensively used ponds bounded by common reeds and tall sedge swamps, carr woodlands and damp meadows on the margins of expansive pine woodlands and forests.
The site's conservation value derives primarily from its avifauna, including breeding birds such as the Eurasian crane (Grus grus), great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), black-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) and the bittern (Botaurus stellaris). There are also significant occurrences of bats, however, including the barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), a Habitats Directive Annex II species, the grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) and Brandt's bat (Myotis brandti). Of floristic interest are the pond bottom and pond margin flora including Bohemian sedge (Carex bohemica), shoreweed (Littorella uniflora), many-stalked spikerush (Eleocharis quinqueflora), the rush species Juncus tenageia and the floating water plantain (Luronium natans), a Habitats Directive Annex II species. Endangered amphibians and reptiles include the European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the moor frog (Rana arvalis), European tree frog (Hyla arborea), spadefoot toad (Pelobates fuscus), Eurasian green toad (Bufo viridis) and the adder (Vipera berus). The site's 43 attested dragonfly species are a further feature making this a site of national importance, 21 of which appear on the German Red List, including the large white-faced darter (Leucorrhinia pectoralis, a Habitats Directive Annex II species).
The area is threatened by intensive fish-farming and agricultural practices, and by impacts on the water regime in the event that brown-coal extraction continues.
Plans include extensifying pond use and giving them a near-natural design, restoring watercourses, restructuring forests and designating an area of woodland to be no longer used at all, as well as extensifying agricultural land-use.