Müritz National Park
Established in 1990, 32,000 ha, size of the WHS component part 268 ha,
buffer zone 2,568 ha, Sea level: NLP 58-143 m, WHS 67-124 m
Anyone visiting the beech forests near Serrahn to the east of Neustrelitz in early May will find themselves enveloped in fresh green leaves. The colourful pageant of late autumn is an equally magical time in this hilly forest landscape, dotted with lakes and peatlands, as is the cool colour palette of winter. An ancient beech woodland has been preserved in the midst of this extensive forest and lake landscape in the Serrahn sub-section of the Müritz National Park, and provides a fascinating glimpse into how the primeval beech forests of Germany must have looked. The forest here has remained untouched for 50 years, allowing us to experience at first hand the development cycles of beech forests.
Beech forest type
The Müritz National Park, covering a total area of 32,200 hectares, is a pro- tected area of lowland beech forests on base-poor sandy soils formed during the Ice Age in the Serrahn sub-region. The predominant forest type is the melic grass beech forest.
The Grand-Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were passionate hunters, and as a result, the forests around Serrahn were left virtually untouched by silvi- culture for many years, allowing a valuable and unique nature reserve to develop. The forests around Serrahn were subsequently declared a conserva- tion area, with selected sub-sections being designated strict nature reserves (1961), and eventually became a National Park in 1990. The forests around Serrahn, which had likewise remained undisturbed for decades, were also incorporated into the National Park.
The extensive forest landscape is enriched by lakes, peatlands and meadows which combine to create a diverse range of habitats. These numerous bio- topes in varying combinations are the distinguishing feature of this charm-ing landscape, and support a wealth of different species.
Flora and fauna
The red deer is the largest mammal to inhabit the protected area. Rare breeds of bird such as the bittern and the crane are typical of the open, undisturbed landscape rich in woodland and water. The highest breeding density of white-tailed eagles and ospreys in Central Europe is found here. The ancient forests around Serrahn also support a diverse range of insect and fungus species that thrive on deadwood.
The World Natural Heritage component part
Central parts of the 6,200 hectare Serrahn sub-section covering an area of some 268 hectares have been included as a component part of the World Natural Heritage property.