Converting military reservations into biotopes

Naturstiftung David is constructing an environmental database on the military reservations in Germany and across Europe, making it easier to transfer the management of several hundred sites to nature protection organizations.

Environment and Biodiversity


Gerald Fiß

15,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2011/04/05

Project leader

Naturstiftung David

"What an amazing opportunity to transform all the reservations used by the army into protected sites! It's a major success for the environmental organizations and, above all, for Naturstiftung David, which I've known for many years, to have succeeded in persuading the political world to get involved in protecting the natural heritage. I'm thrilled to sponsor this project, which is very close to our daily concerns."

Gerald Fiß

Naturstiftung David (David Foundation for Nature) was created in 1998 by the Thuringia Land branch of the nonprofit "Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e. V." (association for the environment and protection of nature), which aims to pool the nature and environmental conservation activities in the new Länder. It initiates and supports projects connected with nature protection, environmental conservation and renewable energies.

Compiling environmental data on former military reservations

As part of the reform of the German Army, many military reservations are in the course of changing vocation. Right away, up to 125,000 hectares could fall into the domain of the nature protection associations because of their environmental value.

To accompany this transfer, Naturstiftung David, alongside other environmental associations, wants to compile reliable information on the status of the reservations which are emerging from military use (called conversion reservations), working together with the German Federal Property Agency, the Federal Forestry Agency and the Defense Ministry. This database is also aimed at gathering data on the first two bases created by Naturstiftung David on German and European reservations.

The first was created between 2002 and 2004 as part of a project backed by DBU Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (National Foundation for the Environment). It contains data on 622 German reservations, and needs to be updated after six years of use. The second contains recent data on 67 military reservations larger than 1,000 hectares and located in seven Eastern and Central European countries.

An unmatched tool for protecting European biodiversity

The coordination and technical amalgamation of these two databases are the prerequisites for examining the German conversion reservations. It calls for decentralized data integration by various players and institutions, offering not only a comprehensive view of the sites, but also their comparison. Accessible free on the Naturstiftung David internet site, this new base will ultimately provide an unmatched tool for finding areas for international biodiversity conservation projects.

Alongside the National Agency for Nature Conservation and the Deidehof-Stiftung, the Veolia Environment Foundation is contributing to this extraordinary project, which enhances the protection of the natural heritage in Germany and throughout Europe.