Nature reserve "Wüste und Glase" in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Preservation, maintenance and forestry restoration

The Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung has been acquiring land in the Nature reserve "Wüste und Glase" ever since 2007. This hilly, end moraine landscape of almost 200 hectares is characterized by forest and grassland with several rare species of plants and animals. The meadows are preserved as an open landscape under extensive ecological management and forest areas are left to their natural succession. Only in some areas, consisting of spruce and Douglas fir monocultures, are measures taken to gently convert them into natural mixed deciduous forest before nature can develop undisturbed.

News in autumn/winter 2021: Repeated forest conversion work with logging horses
News in autumn/winter 2021: Repeated forest conversion work with logging horses

The Nature reserve "Wüste und Glase"

The name of this area originates from the 17th century, as a glass factory was abandoned and became “wüst” (desert = wüst [in german]). It is a particularly diverse end moraine area in the middle of the Nature reserve "Mecklenburger Schweiz und Kummerower See". The historically grown cultural landscape consists of hills and valleys with mixed deciduous forest and some coniferous forest monocultures, meadows with individual groups of trees, several swamp and quarry areas and the Ohgangsee, which otter call their home. There are a large number of protected and partly endangered animal and plant species here, such as the green fork moss growing on boulders or the red-bellied toad in the pools. Greylag geese and cranes, Red-breasted flycatcher and the middle spotted woodpecker nest in the area. Lesser spotted and White-tailed Eagles, Red Kites and honey buzzards catch prey here. On an approx. 100 m high hill there is a castle wall from the Bronze and Slavic Age.

Reforestation in the Nature reserve

The forests in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania account for around 22 % of the total state area.  Only 41 % of this is deciduous forest, the rest is coniferous forest. The potential natural vegetation of almost all land areas of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania - i.e. the imaginary composition of the forests today under free development under the existing site conditions - consists mainly of beech forests in various forms. Compared to coniferous forests, these deciduous forests are of great importance for nature conservation due to their greater diversity of species. They are also less susceptible to natural disasters such as severe storms. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the aim is often to increase the proportion of deciduous forest. Depending on the state of the forest and the interests of the owner, there are various methods available, ranging from clear cutting to natural succession.

For our areas within the Nature reserve “Wüste & Glase” we have decided to accelerate the natural development from conifer monocultures to mixed deciduous forest, which can take several hundred years, and to actively convert the conifers step by step into mixed forest. When taking over the area, we discovered isolated, tall and thin deciduous trees that had grown here themselves, despite the very dense coniferous tree population. These trees need to be fostered and freed from their "oppressors" step by step. We plan to carry out these interventions at intervals of several years until they are no longer necessary. After that, the forest will be left to its natural development.

Environmental education

Since summer 2007, we have supported the Nature reserve “Mecklenburgische Schweiz und  Kummerower See” as well as the Rostock-based association NIG e.V. in the organization of local and international youth work camps, some of which take place on foundation sites. Typical works are mowing, removing old wires in the forest and building nesting boxes.