Inside the 129,100 ha UNESCO Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve in State Brandenburg, NE Germany, two areas (together 700 ha) have been set aside for the conservation of the natural landscape, with the aim to restore several ecological functions, mainly associated with water. At the same, these reserves work towards a closer integration with the surrounding farmland by stimulating landowners to introduce more nature-friendly management practices and setting aside land for connecting the two areas through ecological corridors.
The two areas are Hintenteiche bei Biesebrow (130 ha) and Sernitz-Niederung (560 ha). The former hosts a valuable mixture of forests, ponds, wetlands and streams and is situated as an island in the surrounding more intensively used farmland. The reserve was established during the time of East Germany and in 1990 integrated into the Biosphere Reserve. The latter is part of one of the largest peat wetlands in North-east Germany, which is infiltrated by groundwater (“Durchströmmungsmoore”). An area of 560 ha has been selected for the VCA proposal, of which 290 ha are owned by the foundation “Michael Succow Stiftung zum Schutz der Natur”. In the future additional areas may be purchased.
Both areas are privately owned, and serves thereby as interesting examples for many other areas in Germany – a country which is dominated by private properties. In addition to the owner of Hintenteiche bei Biesenbrow reserve (the Helversen Stiftung für Arten- und Biotopschutz) & the Sernitz-Niederung – Michael Succow Stiftung zum Schutz der Natur – surrounding landowners and the authorities of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve are important stakeholders.
All the conservation measures are in line with the specific management plan for the designated Natura 2000 sites as well as with the plans for the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve. The parameters for conservation impact assessment will be set by the agreed objectives of these plans. VCA compatible management plans will be available soon followed by an external audit to meet the requirements for the final VCA registration.