German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Funding - in the service of nature

Funding - Alte Sorge oxbow in Schleswig-Holstein, a large-scale nature conservation project funded by BfN - Photo: Michael Otto - Institut im Nabu


Ideas and activities to conserve animal and plant species and their habitats and to safeguard the ecosystem services vital for human survival need a sound scientific basis. They must be feasible, tested in practice and continuously refined in light of emerging challenges. Valuable natural and cultural landscapes must also be preserved for the future. BfN plans, funds and supports various forms of projects for these purposes large-scale conservation projects, research projects and pilot projects.

All such projects are carried out jointly with external partners. Close contacts with stakeholders and institutions at regional and local level ensure that projects reflect local interests. The projects generate an understanding of the conservation status of the natural environment and of the socioeconomic needs of the population, enabling BfN to continue giving key impetus to the theory and practice of nature conservation.

The Green Belt: Example of the development of a nationwide model for conserving and promoting the evolution of an ecological network serving both environmental objectives and nature tourism.
photo: Klaus Leidorf
Urban woodland in Leipzig linking nature conservation with new approaches in urban development.
photo: Irene Burkhardt Landschaftsarchitekten

Large-scale nature conservation projects in Germany
Map of large-scale nature conservation projects in Germany

Large-scale conservation projects are carried out to preserve our natural heritage across wide areas. Site selection is guided by clear criteria: Closeness of approximation to natural conditions, significant national relevance, a large area, threat status, and planned measures of model character. Assistance mainly consists of the purchase or long-term lease of sites, compensatory payments for conservation-related restrictions, and site management and development work. Large-scale conservation projects frequently also serve as an engine of sustainable regional development with economic benefits for the local population.

Testing and development projects aim to put innovative nature conservation ideas into practice. Key research findings are tested in the field and the resulting outcomes and experience translated into generally applicable recommendations that directly benefit those in charge of future projects. All testing and development projects therefore go hand in hand with parallel research.

Under the framework of the German Environment Ministry’s Environmental Research Plan, BfN plans, awards and supports research and development (R&D) projects in nature conservation and ecology. This funding instrument helps deliver the scientific basis for decisions that form a direct part of German government nature conservation policy. Project partners include for example universities and planning offices.

Funding is also provided for individual nature conservation projects undertaken by relevant non-governmental organisations. Funding is likewise available for nature conservation activities where the focus is on international cooperation.

All funding programmes require a financial contribution on the part of the applicant.

Further information: or phone +49 (0)228 8491-10 10.

In the service of nature

Photo: Frank Gottwald
Photo: Sarah Fuchs
Sampling in the forest
Conservation of endangered bat species, the subject of two testing and development projects to date. Photo: Klaus Bogon
Close-up of a bat
Traditional farm animals are used for landscape management in many protected areas: Heidschnucke sheep at the Höltigbaum testing and development project. Photo: Uwe Riecken (BfN)
Scientific trials and documenting the effects of different mowing methods on insects and amphibians in Brodowin, eastern Germany. Photo: Naturschutzhof Brodowin
Sampling on grass mowed

Last Change: 01/01/2010