Bornhöveder Seengebiet

Bornhöved Lake District

Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea

Bornhöved Lake District in Schleswig-Holstein is part of the young moraine landscape of northern Germany and is dominated by six lakes and their connecting watercourses. The landscape is characterized by waters, areas of arable land, grassland, deciduous forests, hedgerows and tree-lined roads. The land is mainly used for agriculture.

In this area the main water divide between the North and the Baltic Sea is situated. The sampling area covers 52 km2.

  • All six lakes are predominantly eutrophic and have a high biological productivity.
  • They can be characterized as dimictic-holomictic lakes with a distinct temperature stratification during the summer.
  • There is only little tourism.
  • The lakes are used for fishery.
  • Anthropogenic impacts originate mostly from agriculture.
  • The hydrologic balance is disturbed by drainage.
  • Open gravel and sand pits lead to further disturbances in the hydrologic balance of the area.

Between 1988 and 1999 the sampling site was in the focus of an extensive long-term research programme named Ecosystem Research in the Bornhöveder Lake District of the Centre for Ecology of the University of Kiel.

The Bornhöved Lake District is an example of an ecosystem utilised for agricultural purposes.


WEG Belauer See Sub-area dominated by stretches of water in the young moraine landscape of East Holstein


Zebra mussel Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution
Bream Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
Common spruce A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
Beech As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
Roe deer, one-year-old The roe deer is the most common of the larger herbivores (first order-consumer) to be found in the wild in Europe.
Feral pigeon A pigeon species home in nearly every city.
Earthworm (Aporrectodea longa) As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
Soil Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.


Metals Eighty percent of all elements on earth are metals
Nonmetals Only eighteen elements in the periodic table
Organometallic compounds Organic substances with at least one metall atom
Chlorohydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least one covalently bonded chlorine atom
DDT and metabolites Toxic and persistent organochloropesticide
Hexachlorocyclohexane Several isomeric compounds among the group of chlorinated hydrocarbons
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least three condensed six-membered rings
Biocides and plant protection products Chemical agents against harmful organisms and for plant protection
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds Organic compounds which are fully (per-) or partially (poly-) fluorinated
Polycyclic musks Class of synthetic fragrances
Stable Isotopes Atoms of one element with different weights
Flame Retardants Flame retardants reduce the flammability of objects
Perchlorate Salts of perchloric acid
Supplementary parameters Additional information for the interpretation of contamination data

Sampling period

1989 - 2019