Kaliningrad – The Zehlau Mire


The bilateral co-operation between Germany and Kaliningrad, Russia in the environmental and conservation sector has a long and fruitful tradition. On this basis, a joint project between Germany and Russia was designed to analyse the climatic relevance and the ecological and historical importance of the Zehlau Mire. Furthermore, the project will explore the resulting potential for nature conservation action. Besides its cultural-historical importance as one of the oldest nature conservation areas in former Germany, the Zehlau Mire (Russian: “Zehlau“ - “Osjorskij“) is of outstanding ecological importance as a raised bog habitat. It also possesses a significant climatic relevance as a potential CO2 sink. In recent decades the area has suffered from burning, deforestation, and oil drilling. However, to date there have been no scientific studies to document the current state of the area, nor its current or potential climatic relevance. The Zehlau Mire is owned by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Its status as a nature preserve has been in the planning stages for several years, but has not yet been implemented.


Purpose and Occasion

The project evaluated the current state of the mire and its climatic relevance and explored the options for the preservation of this historic area. The researchers developed suggestions for an improved protection and conservation of this important mire habitat, with special emphasis on the avoidance of CO2 emissions and the preservation of this ecosystem as a functional CO2 sink.


Implementation and Co-operative Partners

The implementation of the project occurred in close co-operation with the relevant Russian authorities. The project executing organisation was the Michael Succow Foundation for the Protection of Nature. In addition, the following co-operative partners aided in the implementation:

  • NGO Natural Heritage, Kaliningrad,
  • Kaliningrad University,
  • Ecological-historical Museum at Wystiter Lake, Kaliningrad.


Time Frame and Project Steps

The proposed running time for the project was one year. During this time the following steps were carried out:

  • Mire-ecological studies and estimate of the climate relevance.
  • Status analysis and recommendations for an improved protection regime regarding the avoidance of CO2emissions and protection of the area´s role as a CO2 sink.
  • Cartographical representation of the results, development of information materials.
  • Recommendations for nature-friendly tourism development.
  • Advanced education of a student from Kaliningrad at the Universtiy of Greifswald in the field of mire ecology and climate protection.

Die The results of these project steps were presented at the 100-year anniversity of the initial protection of the Zehlau Mire during the German-Russian Envirnomental Days (October 13-15, 2010) in Kaliningrad. Thus, they were able to contribute to the bilateral co-operation in the environmental and conservation sector between Germany and Kaliningrad, Russia.


The project was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, and the Federal Envirnoment Agency, as part of the Legal Aid Program for Environmental Protection in Central and Eastern European countries.


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Further project information

A project information sheet is available for download here.