The largest complex of floodplain forest in Central Europe is situated in the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve. In 1979, UNESCO designated the Steckby-Lödderitzer Forest as one of the first biosphere reserves in Germany. In 1988, this reserve was expanded to include the Dessau-Wörlitzer Cultural Landscape. The Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve achieved its current size of 43,000 ha. in 1990, with the addition of further lands. The area of the reserve was approximately 43,000 hectares. By the Declaration of the biosphere reserve Middle Elbe on March 20, 2006 and a comprehensive consultation process in the region, was the area 125.510 hectares almost tripled. Thus, the land of Saxony-Anhalt has the largest part of the cross-border biosphere reserve. The recognition of the river Elbe in 1997 created an enhanced UNESCO biosphere reserve. The extension includes areas of the countries of Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein. Middle Elbe is the Saxony-Anhalt portion of this largest German biosphere reserve, the Central is the Kapenmühle between Dessau and Oranienbaum.In addition to an administrative centre in the historic reserve core area, in Steckby, there is a branch now North in Arneburg. Therefore structures were created, an efficient and - despite the elongated reserve area - allow a location near area management.The biosphere reserve management is country reference point for the Beaver protection and for the protection of the Wolf and thus competent point of contact on issues and also to possible human animal conflicts in the cultural landscape.
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