Wilderness Policy

Germany’s Wilderness criteria for Wild areas and Wilderness

The German Ministry of the Environment and the National Agency of the Environment just officially released the German Wilderness Criteria to achieve the Wilderness objective as defined in the German National Biodiversity Strategy. Until 2020 2% of the total land area of Germany is to be defined as Wilderness according to the above mentioned criteria. The focus is on large areas with a minimum Wilderness zone of 1000ha and in exception of 500ha depending on habitat.

The criteria were developed in cooperation with German NGOs, the federal provinces and the National Agency for Environment (BfN). The European Wilderness Society participated in this process and helped to ensure that the criteria are in line with the European Wilderness Quality Standard and the European Wilderness and Wild Area definition as defined in the Wild Europe Initiative 2012.

Besides 2% for Wilderness and Wild Areas, on average 5% of Germany´s forest will also be allowed to develop naturally.

We are really glad, that Germany has decided to focus on Wilderness as a corner stone of its National Biodiversity Strategy. More than 700 000 ha of really wild places in Germany will now be protected from human intervention and extraction. They will be allowed to developed in an undefined open-ended natural process. These areas will be not only scientifically of enormous value in their climate change research but also be a future touristic highlight for any region to have such a Wilderness or wild area in the vicinity.

Max A E Rossberg
Chairman European Wilderness Society

The European Wilderness Society has started to view and Audit already some of the key Wilderness areas starting in Northern Germany. Already several Wild Areas have joined the European Wilderness Network. 

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