The term nature conservation may appear ambiguous as different people associate different meanings with it and have different images in mind. For some people it means life in harmony with nature, for others it is the ban on walking on the lawn.

Nature and landscape should be preserved because of their own value and as the basis for human life. Conservation includes the protection of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of beautiful and special landscapes. This protection includes care, development and restoration.

Though, what should be preserved and what should be developed? This question divides conservationists as a distinction is made between the preservation of existing conditions (conservation) and the permitting of natural processes eventually leading to wilderness (process protection). The answer on how nature should look in the future requires some planning. Based on such plans, possible measures can be examined and then implemented, or omitted.

Conservation as well as process protection are essential to maintain and create a structural and functional diversity of species, habitats and ecosystems. An important means of enforcing nature and species protection is the establishment of protected areas.

text by Julian Wendler & Dr. Matthias Wichmann, images by Volker Gehrmann

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