Long-term ecosystem monitoring at the biosphere reserves in Brandenburg

ÖUB Brandenburg: Naturnahes Moor, BR Schorfheide-Chorin, © R. Probst
ÖUB Brandenburg: Naturnahes Moor, BR Schorfheide-Chorin, © R. Probst

The MAB committee of UNESCO describes the implementation of ecological monitoring as one task of Biosphere Reserves (BR), adding to their protection and sustainable development functions. Monitoring is part of the integrated research and observation tasks of these protections areas (BfN 2008).

The aim of ecological monitoring at the biosphere reserves in Brandenburg is to record, trace and assess the development of typical ecosystems in a long-term and all-embracing observation. It is conducted on selected sites (topical scale). The selection was made using following criteria:

  • predominant ecosystem in combination with forms of land-use,
  • natural or near natural ecosystems with significant area at the biosphere reserve,
  • rare natural or near natural ecosystems with high importance in nature conservation.

In Brandenburg, long-term ecosystem monitoring was planned in 1998 for the biosphere reserves „Schorfheide-Chorin“ and „Spreewald“ and is continuously conducted since 1999. The planning and observation at the biosphere reserve „Flusslandschaft Elbe“ followed in 2003. Since the beginning, coordination and organisation is done at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (former University of Applied Science Eberswalde), Faculty of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Department Vegetation science and applied plant ecology (Prof. Dr.Vera Luthardt) by order of the Brandenburg federal environmental agency.

A total of 136 monitoring sites (including forest, lakes, streams and ditches, near-natural fens, grassland on mineral soils and peat soils, arable land and kettle holes) at all three biosphere reserves are under observation. The all-embracing monitoring includes all ecosystem-compartments such as soil, water, vegetation and fauna. The parameters for observation were selected based on their high indicator levels. The measurements and surveys were conducted with reproducible and standardized methods and with a precise localisation at the site. All information were collected in a database and are available for further analyses.

In 2015, the observation programme was considerably evaluated and adapted to future requirements.

Information about aims of the long-term observation, abstracts about all monitoring sites and previous analyses of the observation data are available on the website and in a small booklet (German only).

Lead: University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (HNEE)


Landesamt für Umwelt Brandenburg (LfU)

Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve

Spreewald Biosphere Reserve

Elbe-Brandenburg River Landscape Biosphere Reserve

Project Duration: Since 1997

Funded by: Landesamt für Umwelt Brandenburg (LfU)

Further information: ÖUB Brandenburg