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Environment & Climate

Essential Diversity

16 national parks and 18 biosphere reserves between the North Sea and the Alps afford many rare animal and plant species special protection.
Lebenswichtige Vielfalt
© Eric/stock.adobe.com

Germany is a country with great biological diversity. Around 48,000 animal species and 24,000 types of higher plants, mosses, fungi, lichens, and algae are native to the country. Having been enshrined in the Basic Law The Basic Law The Basic Law determines that Germany is a constitutional state: All state authorities are subject to judicial control. Section 1 of the Basic Law is of particular relevance. It stipulates that respect for human dignity is the most important aspect of the constitution: “Human dignity shall be… Read more › in 1994, the protection of the natural habitats is an official goal of government. Between the North Sea and the Alps, the lawmakers have designated 16 national parks National parks To a large extent the 16 national parks in Germany are located in the north of the country. They are all noteworthy for their unique nature and landscape and serve to preserve the natural diversity of rare plants and animals. The largest is the Schleswig-Holstein Mud Flats National Park Wattenmeer,… Read more › and 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves that vary considerably in character, along with thousands of nature reserves.

Germany is a signatory state to the most ­important international agreements on biodiversity and a party to more than 30 intergovernmental treaties and programmes with nature protection as their goal. By ratifying the United Nations United Nations The United Nations (UN) are the foundations and cornerstone of the international system. So as to adapt it to the political realities of the present day, Germany is in favour of a reform of the UN. Since 1996 Germany, which is the fourth largest contributor to the UN budget, has been one of the UN… Read more › ’ Convention on Biodiversity, the governments of 196 countries pledged to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biological diversity. To date, however, no turnaround in the extinction of species has been achieved. In 2010, an international framework for access to genetic resources and fair benefit sharing was passed at the Conference of Parties to the Convention in Nagoya (Japan). The Nagoya Protocol has been in force since 2014.

Preserving natural and wildlife habitats

Among native species of fauna in Germany, 35 percent are endangered, while the figure is 26 percent for native flora (as of 2018). For this reason, efforts aimed at nature conservation Nature conservation There are around 48,000 native animal species and over 24,000 native species of land plants, mosses, fungi, lichens and algae in Germany. Nature conservation is a state goal in the Federal Republic and is entrenched in Article 20a of the Basic Law. There are thousands of designated nature… Read more › and species protection on land and in the water are to be stepped up. The primary objective is to reduce the destruction of habitats by house and road building, as well as the pollution levels that result, among other things, from intensive farming and over-fertilisation. The amount of land used for housing construction and new transport routes is set to be reduced to less than 30 hectares a day by 2030.

A further aim is to allow “wilderness” on two percent of the nation’s territory and give five percent of forests over to nature. In 2015, numerous former military zones covering a total of 31,000 hectares, including moors and heaths, were devoted to nature conservation.

Protecting the ecosystem of the oceans

Increasing attention is being paid to protecting the marine environment. Seas are rich in biodiversity and a source of raw materials, energy, and food. Oil production, shipping, overfishing, littering with poorly degradable substances (plastic waste), and acidification caused by carbon dioxide put an immense strain on the ecosystem. In the context of Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017, government representatives and experts agreed on a joint action plan to stop the littering of the oceans.

The Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › is using its EU Presidency in 2020 to ambitiously expand European environmental protection, with more funding for nature conservation Nature conservation There are around 48,000 native animal species and over 24,000 native species of land plants, mosses, fungi, lichens and algae in Germany. Nature conservation is a state goal in the Federal Republic and is entrenched in Article 20a of the Basic Law. There are thousands of designated nature… Read more › and a new independent EU conservation fund. Particular attention will be given to the insect die-off. The Federal Government intends to launch an action plan to improve living conditions for insects.

Germany is also supporting the biodiversity strategy and the “Farm to Fork” strategy introduced by the European Commission European Commission The European Commission is head­quartered in Brussels and is a politically independent supra-national body that represents and safeguards the interests of the entire EU. The EU Commission has the right to table proposals (right of initiative) for all common legal acts; as “guardian of the treaties”… Read more › in May 2020. This forms part of the Green Deal and is intended to promote biodiversity and sustainable food production within the EU.