The Maribo Lakes are a very high priority nature area. The lakes, meadows and forests are protected landscapes. The preservation order dates from 1954, with some additions and adjustments in 1957. The area was protected mainly to preserve the natural beauty of the area and its unobstructed views.
It is the only freshwater area in eastern Denmark covered by the Ramsar Convention. This is an international convention to protect wetlands, and the vast majority of Denmark's 26 other Ramsar sites are all coastal or marine.
Later, the Maribo Lakes were designated as an EU Bird Protection Area and Habitat Area and in year 2000, through an Order, the lakes were designated as a Game Reserve with provisions for movement and navigation and regulation of hunting.
The bird protection areas together with the habitat areas form a NATURA 2000 site. NATURA 2000 is the name given to a network of protected nature areas throughout the EU.