Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park

Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park


Location: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Map

Area: 805 km2

Tel. +49 38234 5020


Description of Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park

Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region of North- East Germany. This natural park covers an area of 805 km2 lagoon shores of the Baltic Sea. This untouched area of Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park is particularly famous as a nesting area for several species of geese and cranes that come to nest here during spring and summer months. A network of hiking trails are mostly situated in the forested area. Large portion of coastal plains are commonly flooded by the tides so it might be dangerous to visit. It is one of the few places in Europe where you can see mouflon, grey seals, otter and many other mammals. Additionally there is a sizeable population of wild boar that lives in the forests. Try to stay away from these animals. They might be cute and adorable, but if threatened they can be quiet aggressive and very dangerous.


The composition of the national park
About half of the area of ​​the national park is open Baltic Sea, more than a further quarter comprises parts of the Bodden waters of the Darß-Zingster Boddenkette and the Westrügener Bodden. Shallow water areas are thus protected (in the Baltic Sea the national park border is also based on the ten-meter depth line) with a very rich flora and fauna. The different salt contents of the brackish water habitats of the Baltic Sea and Bodden contribute significantly to the diversity. The Baltic herring regularly visits the shallow bays to spawn here.

The land areas contained in the national park include parts of the Darß and the Zingst peninsula as well as most of the Hiddensee island. In addition, a narrow strip of the island of Rügen adjacent to the bay is in the national park. Pine and beech forests cover large parts of the land area, such as in the Darß Forest. Coastal flood bogs occur in unwooded areas.

Destination of the national park
A key goal of the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park is to maintain the natural dynamics of the landscape, which is expressed, for example, in constant changes in the coast. The erosion of soil on cliffs contrasts with large landfall areas that are still growing, for example at Darßer Ort or Bessin (on Hiddensee).

The Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park is one of the most important tourist destinations in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is famous, for example, as an autumn resting place for cranes.

The Windwatt - special feature of the lagoon landscape
Unlike in the Wadden Sea of ​​the North Sea, ebb and flow do not determine what happens in the shallow water zones of the national park. However, there are wind-related water level fluctuations of (in extreme cases) several meters. Some particularly flat areas regularly dry out in offshore winds. These wind flats provide a large food supply for the migratory birds that pass in autumn. For the cranes that cross the Western Pomeranian lagoon landscape on their migration, the shallow water areas bordering the wind flats are one of the most important sleeping places in Western Europe during migration. There are remarkable wind flats north of Darßer Ort, south of the Bessins and between Gellen, Bock and Pramort.

Gray seals are regular guests of the national park, but they do not reproduce in the area. Seals can also be seen. Porpoises only appear occasionally. The national park is also home to the otter. Roe deer, wild boar and red deer can be found on the land, and fallow deer can also be found in the Zingst area. There is also a small population of mouflons on Hiddensee. There are also numerous small mammals, such as the harvest mouse. Various bats such as the rough-skin bat, pipistrelle and noctule bat can also be observed.

The Bodden waters represent an important wintering area for migratory birds and also form an important breeding area for many birds. A total of 163 bird species breed in the national park, 67 of which are on Germany's red list. The large flocks of around 60,000 gray cranes that stop in the area between September and November are a big visitor magnet. The lagoon is home to 48 species of fish. Common are lead, roach, European eel, three-spined stickleback, nine-spined stickleback, perch, pikeperch and pike.

Problems and shortcomings of the national park
The national park is particularly affected by water pollution. The inflow of nutrients through intensive agriculture with high fertilizer applications in the national park area contributes in particular to this. The extensive drainage of bog areas also leads to nutrient enrichment in the bay. Drainage in the national park is gradually being stopped by renaturation projects, for example in the Osterwald.

The underwater vegetation has changed significantly due to the nutrient inputs; Many of the candelabrum algae, which were formerly distributed in large numbers, were not detected. For almost 20 years, stocks of candelabra have been found in the bay again. As early as 1995, scientists demonstrated the existence of chandelier algae in the Darß-Zingster lagoon chain. These were confirmed again in 2008. Since 2013, the Biological Station Zingst has been working in the BACOSA (Baltic Coastal System Analysis and Status Evaluation) project of the KüNO-Verbund (coastal marine research in the North and Baltic Seas) on the evaluation of the ecosystem functions and services of submerged macrophytes, which are now largely candlestick algae .

The osprey can no longer be seen. The depth of view of the bay has become so small that the eagle hunting as a shock diver can no longer find enough food.


The intensive tourist use of parts of the water and land areas of the national park requires constantly adapted visitor management and ongoing control of the protected area.

The management of the forests was repeatedly criticized. In many areas it did not meet the criteria set for a national park. Excessive wild animal populations with trophy hunting and without wildlife biological justification as well as hardwood felling and reforestation with also non-local woody plants were criticized. Therefore, the National Park Office was revoked the FSC seal in 2006. In the meantime, the national park administration, according to its own information, adheres to the guidelines for the treatment of forests in the national parks of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and to the ordinance regulating hunting in the national parks of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. There is neither felling of hardwood nor reforestation with non-local trees. Trophies are not used or assessed in the national park and are not a goal of hunting. The end of forest management is planned for 2017, with large parts of the forest being left to their own devices.