Evolution of a Landscape

In mid-July, I visited the Lower Lusatia (Niederlausitz), a historical region stretching from the southeast of the German state of Brandenburg to the southwest of Lubusz Province in Poland.

Lusatia provided much of the lignite, known as soft brown coal, that heated German homes and powered the country’s industrial rise.

Lignite mining in Lusatia began in 1860. By now, many villages and communities had to be resettled to allow for lignite mines in the region to be expanded.

Strip mining has a profound impact on the environment and has often devastating effects. The area surrounding the mine is usually never the same afterwards.

As the mining goes to the end, the region is making an effort to develop an entire new lake district clean enough for tourism. Over the past two decades the man-made craters have been slowly re-sculpted to create 26 lakes connected by 13 canals and hundreds of miles of cycle track, a very big tourist destination, a tranquil retreat for people from nearby Berlin and Dresden.

Unfortunately, we know what tourism brings. Many landscapes of the world suffer the negative impacts of tourism.

I visited some areas that now are protected and, slowly, they have again bushes and trees. I found nobody. But the tourist resorts located around the lakes were crowded. In any case, I took some pictures showing the evolution of the post-mining landscapes.

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