Aerial view over Kristianstads Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve with the town of Kristianstad surrounded by wetlands. Photo Patrik Olofsson
Biosphere Reserves are designated by the United Nations to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature. They are areas where conservation and sustainable development go hand in hand.
Kristianstads Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve, established in 2005, includes the greater part of the Municipality of Kristianstad, from the forests to Hanöbukten Bay with the rich wetlands of the River Helge å and the town of Kristianstad at its heart.
Extent: Greater part of the Municipality of Kristianstad.
Area: 104,375 ha. (Land and lakes, 90,515 ha; marine area, 13,860 ha.)
Population: approx. 71,000, incl. 30,000 in the Kristianstad urban region.
Species worthy of preservation: There are some 20 globally red-listed species, including corncrake and great raft spider, and some 60 EU listed species, including thick-shelled river mussel and Dianthus arenarius. In all, there are around 700 nationally red-listed species of flora and fauna. This figure is high compared to other areas of Sweden.
Around 30% of the red-listed species in the province of Skåne occur in the biosphere reserve. The wetlands are home to 120–130 regularly breeding species of bird. In all, some 260 species have been recorded. At least 38 different species of fish have been caught in the inland waters: 32, including European catfish and loach, spawn in fresh water.
Development projects: There are numerous local projects, such as biogas for municipal buses, wetlands ecotourism and the development of products from the wet grasslands.
Zoning: The area’s status as a biosphere reserve has not resulted in any new rules or directives. Zoning is a tool for prioritising and creating resources for working together with local residents, financial backers, etc. to avert threats and develop the natural assets of the core areas and buffer zones.
Theme areas: Ten theme areas have been identified which contain important natural assets. Efforts will gradually extend to all ten areas, but to date the main focus for conservation, development and support has been on the wetlands and the sandy grasslands formerly managed under a rotational system of cultivation and fallow.