Further progress towards German forest wilderness targets

A further 1950 hectares of beech forest has been purchased for the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, North of Frankfurt – adding a further 30% to the existing old growth forest area, with some trees up to 500 years old.

The Northern slopes of Kellerwald, Wildnis in Deutschland

“This is where tomorrow’s wilderness arises and the protection of these areas makes a valuable contribution to natural forest development and the promotion of biodiversity,” Priska Hinz, Hessian Environment Minister affirmed.

See also: Germany unveils large wilderness fund and Overview of 2% wilderness target in Germany

This is just one of 25 proposals by the Wildnis in Deutschland NGO group promoting large forest protection areas in Hesse, aiming for an overall target of 5% of forest under strict protection with no extraction.

Bavarian Forest National Park extension

Meanwhile, a further 600 hectares has been added to the Bavarian Forest National Park on the 50thanniversary of its founding in 1970, bringing its total to over 24,000 hectares.

With its signature theme “Let nature be nature”, this Park also practices non-intervention: most famously in the wake of the storm and bark beetle damage of the 1990s which has led to rapid ecological recovery. Some 1.3 million visitors are attracted to its wilderness every year, a major boost bringing over 200 jobs to the regional economy.

Wider strategy

With over 85% support for the Bavarian Forest NP among local people, a third Park is now being sought for the State in the Steigerwald.

This reflects overall Federal targets in Germany for 2% of total area, 5% of all forests and 10% of state forests to be wilderness, with focus on large non-intervention areas, incorporating Wild Europe’s criteria into the definition.