Uckermark Lakes (Uckermärkische Seen)
The Uckermark Lakes consist of more than 170 naturally formed lakes which exhibit an impressive array of species and outstanding water quality. The 84 lakes in the core areas and their shores, plus a total of 233 km of rivers and streams, offer a huge diversity of habitats for the animal and plant kingdoms. Noteworthy aspects include over 200 bog areas (including four major calcareous transition mires, numerous watershed bogs and ancient lake mires with plant communities including Sphagnum mosses); also expansive areas of characean algae growth below the water surface of some oligotrophic or calcium-rich lakes. These are joined by completely different habitat types in the 'Kleine Schorfheide' area, an open landscape of approx. 2000 ha dominated by heathlands, dunes or dry grasslands. Among the forests which occupy approx. 70% of the core area, it is primarily the expansive old and near-natural beech stands and largely intact bog forests and fen woodlands which underscore the value of the landscape. The rare bird species of the lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina), the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) have between five and 20 breeding territories within the project area. Around 100 breeding pairs of Eurasian cranes (Grus grus) occupy the area. Beavers and otters, various bats and 801 butterfly species play an important faunistic role, as do the European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the European tree frog (Hyla arborea) or the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis). Besides the conservation of parts of the landscape meriting protection (in part by means of land acquisition and designation as statutory nature reserves), it was a stated objective of the project to revitalize overused sites and to restore near-natural habitats. The measures carried out to date have included maintenance of open heathland landscapes, rewetting of degraded areas of bog and visitor management activities.