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Preserving the last wild areas of Germany

Where nature can still be nature

Wild cat in Hunsrück
Wild cats appreciate pristine deciduous and mixed woodland (photo: Hans-Martin Braun)

People are scarcely aware of them, but there are still a few unspoilt areas where nature can simply be nature and natural processes can take place without any direct interference from human beings. These wilderness areas, most of which are to be found within national parks and in "national natural heritage" regions, provide the backdrop for a dynamic landscape which has almost been squeezed out of existence in densely populated Germany. Such pristine areas account for significantly less than one percent of the land area. Germany is therefore trailing behind the rest of Europe in this regard. In view of this situation, the Federal Government set itself the target of allowing nature to take its own course in at least two percent of the country's total land area.  Forest is also to be permitted to develop naturally in 5% of the country's forest areas.

 

We can achieve these goals by creating new national parks or converting former military training areas into wilderness areas, as has already been put into practice so successfully on the land owned by Stiftung Naturlandschaften Brandenburg. In the "Hohe Schrecke" beech forest conservation project, we and other project partners are preserving a large area of unbroken forest in north Thuringia. Together with Europarc Deutschland we are also playing a major role in preparing the Hunsrück National Park and supporting planning work in the Black Forest region by providing specialist consultation. We need more national parks and more wilderness areas in Germany. For this reason we will be investing specifically in the conservation of these areas and lending vocal public support for more wilderness regions in Germany to ensure that future generations, too, can experience "pristine" nature. We are increasingly taking on a coordinating role in order to bring together different "wilderness stakeholders", and becoming the driving force behind the wilderness discussion in Germany. In a few years we will take stock of the situation: by then, our commitment should have helped create several thousand more hectares of wilderness in Germany.

 

Only if we in Germany take the lead and preserve such old and rare forest habitats from destruction, will we also be able to expect such conservation ideas to take root in poorer countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING?

  • Supporting national park initiatives
  • Setting up an appeal fund for the purchase of wilderness areas
  • Purchasing land for the creation of wilderness areas
  • Promoting discussion about wilderness with special events and publications
  • Coordinating the activities of other wilderness stakeholders (associations, foundations, etc.)
  • Conducting wilderness-related PR
  • Supporting wilderness monitoring and research work