The Biosphere Reserve
Biosphere reserves are model regions which encompass significant natural and cultural heritage. Leading by example, biosphere reserves seek to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development.
In Germany, there are currently 15 biosphere reserves. Worldwide, 669 biosphere reserves exist in 120 countries (March 2016).
The Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve was created in 1990 and was integrated into the UNESCO MAB (Man and the Biosphere) programme in 1991. Within a relatively small area, diverse landscape formations characteristic of coastal Germany have been placed under protection. Here land and water are intimately entangled: Peninsulas and promontories are connected to another via narrow strips of land and at the same time separated by the waters of bodden und bays. Wide, fine sandy beaches alternate with steep cliffs flanked by boulder-strewn beaches.
The shorelines of the bodden (lagoons) are often bordered by reed beds. Expansive beech forests and dry grasslands are found on terminal moraines exposed after the glaciers retreated, whereas meadows and pastures flourish in the lowlands.
Beyond its natural beauty, the region is also known for its cultural heritage. Humans have long shaped this landscape by the sea. Evidence of human activity ranges from megalithic tombs dating to the Neolithic, to burial mounds from the Bronze Age, fortified walls from the Slavic era, churches and towns from the Middle Ages, all the way to the neoclassical and resort architecture from the last century.