A unique landscape in Central Europe is situated roughly one hundred kilometres south-east of Berlin – the Spreewald. This is where after the last ice age, the Spree river split up to form an intricate network of streams that once upon a time, as indicated by the name Spreewald, meandered through a dense primeval forest. The particular charm of the Spreewald lies in its park-like landscape crossed by numerous streams. Cultivation created a mosaic of small meadows, fields and forest in addition to the network of streams.
Today, the Spreewald is a water meadow landscape that bears the mark of human activity yet remains largely near-natural, making it a habitat for a diverse range of animal and plant species. Species that are under threat or already extinct elsewhere find a safe haven here. The Spreewald was declared a biosphere reserve in 1990 to protect and preserve this landscape and was given UNESCO status in 1991.
It is part of a global network of 669 biosphere reserves that share the UNESCO ‘Man and biosphere’ (MAB) programme’s objective to protect and sustainably develop as an example historically formed cultural landscapes. In the biosphere reserve, sustainable development is implemented in concrete projects with model character. This ranges from the manufacture and marketing of certified regional products under the Spreewald umbrella brand to the utilisation of regenerative energy sources and the maintaining and revitalisation of valuable habitats such as moors and near-natural water bodies. Educational projects for sustainable development address not only children and youths, but also the inhabitants of and guests to the biosphere reserve across all age groups. Tourism is of great significance here: the special charm of the Spreewald attracts up to three million tourists per year. Maintaining this unique natural space while at the same time rendering it accessible is an ongoing task, the responsibility for which many stakeholders in the biosphere reserve share. Visitors to the information centres Haus für Mensch und Natur in Lübbenau, Schlossberghof in Burg and Alte Mühle in Schlepzig will not only be supplied with tips, leaflets and tour recommendations, but can also find out a lot of interesting facts about the Spreewald. The Naturwacht park rangers provide interesting tour offers.
Further information in german.