The Schaalsee Biosphere Reserve lies in western Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on its border with Schleswig-Holstein. From 1952 to 1990 large parts of the Schaalsee landscape lay within the military out of bounds area of the Inner German Border. That state-imposed rest period enable nature to develop so that in the year 2000 this valuable area was designated as a biosphere reserve. On the Schleswig-Holstein side of the border is the Lauenburg Lakes Nature Park founded in 1961.
The biosphere reserve lies in a young moraine landscape formed in the Weichsel glaciation. To the east is the Baltic Uplands, pierced by the Trave, and which runs across the whole of Mecklenburg.
In the lake of Schaalsee, that gives the reserve its name, are several islands including Kampenwerder, Stintenburginsel and Rethwiese.
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