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Kristianstads Vattenrike

Kristianstads Vattenrike

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Kristianstads Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve in the north-eastern part of Skåne in southern Sweden has one of the most diverse nature landscapes in the country. The biosphere reserve includes most of Kristianstad municipality from the forests of Linderödsåsen, out into the sea, to the wetlands along the river Helge å, and the city of Kristianstad. The area covers about 100 000 ha and more than 70 000 people live here.
The landscape in Vattenriket is rich and varied with a diversity of types of nature, largely formed by human cultivation for hundreds of years. River Helge å flows impressively like a blue thread through Vattenriket, bordered by extensive flooded wet grasslands, wet forests, and reed. Streams are flowing from the ridge, in ravines with rich broadleaf forest. A special flora and fauna has developed on the dry sandy grounds.

There are a large amount of protective species within the area. About 20 species listed on the IUCN Red List of endangered species, such as Corn Crake (Crex crex) and Raft spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus). Here are also around 60 species EU-listed species such as thick shelled river mussel (Unio crassus) and sand pink (Dianthus arenarius). A total of over 700 red listed species have been recorded. In the Biosphere Reserve there are close to 20 nature reserves and many areas that are designated as Natura 2000.

Kristianstads Vattenrike was designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in 2005. This was the first Swedish biosphere reserve appointed according to the new guidelines for biosphere reserves. 

The process of managing the ecosystem in a sustainable way started in 1989, when Kristianstads municipality and the County Administrative Board of Skåne worked together with the farmers to improve the management of the land. The aim was to restore overgrown flooded grasslands and to develop a management of the same. The work was enabled with economic support of WWF and others. The work started with the valuable wetlands by the river Helge å and has over recent years continued to include the sandy cultivated grounds. 10 valuable thematic landscape areas have been identified and the work will successively include more and more parts of the local environment.

The logistic support function is an important tool for Kristianstads Vattenrike to gather and spread knowledge. To make it easier for visitors, there are over 20 visitor sites in Vattenriket which makes the information accessible. In some places there are bird watching towers, in others footbridges or information on screens or outdoor museums. A "Nature school" is the extension of the biosphere office into the schools in Kristianstad, and it works with teachers and pupils in outdoor class rooms. An extensive home page has been constructed to include reports and brochures.

The Biosphere office Kristianstads Vattenrike coordinates the activities in the biosphere reserve. The activities are often collaboration with actors connected to agriculture, tourism or education that work with preservation and sustainable development within the biosphere reserve. The watchwords in the projects are: Preservation of biological and cultural values, sustainable use and development, and supporting science and environmental monitoring, education and information.

Visitor Center (naturum)

Naturum Vattenriket, located in the peri-urban wetlands of River Helge å, is expected to be finished in the autumn of 2010. Naturum Vattenriket is a unique building in which people of Kristianstad, tourists, conference guests, schoolchildren, researchers and others can meet eachother and nature. The building houses exhibitions, restaurant, School of nature and conference room, among other things. Here, visitors will get an exciting starting point for further trips in the Biosphere Reserve. Naturum Vattenriket is made possible by collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency, the County Administrative Board of Skåne and Kristianstad municipality.

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