Lüneburger Heide

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code DE940003)
  • Since 1967
  • Country: Germany
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 234 km2 (23400.00 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Dr. E. Jüttner Verein Naturschutzpark Niederhaverbeck 29646 Bispingen
Information Verein Naturschutzpark Niederhaverbeck D-29646 Bispingen Internet: http://home.t-online.de/home/verein-naturschutzpark
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General character of the site The Nature Reserve "Lüneberg Heide" contains the largest remaining historical heathland areas in Central Europe, a relict of a former widespread landscape developed by heathland farming ("Heidebauernwirtschaft") especially in the middle ages. The origin of this manmade landscape is the use from Bronze Age on. The heathland is characterised by its wide and open savannah-like occurance in connection with several biocoenosis adapted to these special conditions. Besides, there exist some bogs of different types, old forests and brooks which mostly are only little influenced by man. A huge area was afforested with pines during the last decades of the 19th century. 
Quality Due to the size and the long tradition of protection the conservation of this typical cultural landscape, integrating highly threatened taxa, is guaranteed.Besides, the fact that most of the heath areas are in private ownership of the Verein Naturschutzpark makes it easier to succeed in conservation. 
Vulnerability The need to supply Hamburg with drinking water has depleted the groundwater in the area north of the nature reserve. Part of the heathland was used by the British tanks up to 1994. Eutrophication by air-deposited nitrogen decreases the life-duration of Calluna vulgaris and favours growth of the grass Avenella flexuosa. Therefore the conservation of the heathland including habitats for the fauna and flora which developed since the Bronze Age requires more measures today than in former times. 
Owner The Verein Naturschutzpark who initiated the conservation programme by buying heathland since 1910 owns about 7.000 ha. About 5.000 ha belongs to the land Lower Saxony, 3.000 ha to the Klosterkammer Hannover and about 8.000 ha are in private ownership. 
Documentation Besides intensive documentation by the Verain Naturschutzpark which publishes the magazine "Naturschutz- und Naturparke" (four times a year), as well as books and leaflets about different themes, the Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz focuses on research and publication of scientific results about the Nature Reserve. A bibliography of more than 1000 titles was published. 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Geomorphology During the ice-age app. 120.000 years ago a landscape developed. It shows remarkable features e.g. in the "Totengrund" valley, established by solifluction and the Wilseder Hill as the highest elevation (end-moraine) of the north-west German lowlands. This variety of the relief is completed by depressions where bogs have developed. 
Educational interest Guided tours are offered in the peripheral area, some in horse-drawn carriages. Special tours are offered for students or scientists.Besides the Heathland museum, three visitor centres were established. A lot of commented trail proposals are available as flyers or as a book, as well as a special wheelchair trail. 
Cultural heritage Hunderds of Bronze Age tombs are remaining. Two prehistory trails have been established. The life of the heath-farmers is understandable in the "Heath-museum" in Wilsede, an old and restored heathland village. 
Management plan  
URL official http://www.lueneburger-heide.de/ 
URL interesting  

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100