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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Schaalsee - area

Areas and habitats
Waters and floodplains
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Lakes and montane landscape belonging to the Lauen and West Mecklenburg region
Federal state
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Division II 2.1 Biotope Protection and Management; Protected Areas
Funding Phase I: 1992 – 2003, Funding Phase II: 2005 – 2009
core area 14,659 ha
Along the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg West-Pomerania border, between Schattin (approx. three kilometres north of the Ratzeburger See) and Kölzin (approx. two kilometres south of the Schaalsee).
Grant amount
Funding Phase I: 20.300.000 €, Funding Phase II: approx. 2.000.000 €

Project description

The Schaalsee landscape comprises vast lakes formed by a meltwater system in the last Ice Age, forests and raised, intermediate and lowland bogs. The lakes are largely nutrient-poor and the Schaalsee lake itself is one of Germany’s biggest freshwater lakes. Its banks enjoy well-developed landing zones (common reed, sedge and carr woodlands). The adjoining, heavily populated moraine landscape is characterised by large-scale, near-natural forests, mires, grassland lowlands and old meadow landscapes. The area is traditionally a breeding and resting ground for rare swamp and aquatic birds like the Eurasian crane and the osprey. It also provides a habitat for the otter and for many threatened plant species like the fen orchid, flea sedge, Rannoch rush and various marsh orchids.

This lakeland landscape with the Schaalsee at its core will be conserved, optimised and secured for the longer term, both in its complexity and its near-natural status. Priority will be given to natural development of what is still a largely natural habitat and to removing non-natural elements and human disturbances.

Implementation of the project aims and securing them over time will take place in the core area, largely through land acquisition and in some cases by entering into long-term management agreements. Habitat-structuring measures will also be implemented. These includes:

  • Reirrigation of raised bogs and fens
  • Renaturalisation of watercourses
  • Restoration of pools
  • Turning cropland into grassland
  • Restoring near-natural forests and establishing a closed deciduous forest canopy
  • Planting of hedges and other shrub structures

Large sections of the core area are designated as nature conservation areas, as special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive and as protection areas under the Birds Directive.

Project executing agencies

Zweckverband Schaalsee-Landschaft
Junkernstraße 7, 23909 Ratzeburg

Project funding agencies

The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg West-Pomerania, Zweckverband Schaalsee-Landschaft (WWF Deutschland and the administrative districts of Herzogtum Lauenburg, Nordwestmecklenburg und Ludwigslust).
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