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Bundesamt für Naturschutz


Furnishing the science to underpin policy and administrative decisions is one of BfN’s central tasks. Doing so requires in-depth knowledge of the complex interrelationships in the natural environment and of the short and long-term effects of human activities on ecosystems. It also calls for a thorough grasp of the available options, implementation choices and social and policy needs so that expertise can be provided at the right place in the right form.

Looking to the future is especially important in this regard, because new issues and challenges emerging all the time require a timely response based on scientifically dependable data and knowledge. Topical examples include climate change – which poses huge problems not just for humanity, but for entire regions and much of life on earth – and the sustainable use of renewable energy.

The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation provides the German government – and first and foremost the German Environment Ministry – with the scientific basis for decisions and advice on all aspects of national and international nature conservation, and identifies new areas where policy choices need to be made. BfN performs a key knowledge transfer function for nature conservation by preparing scientific knowledge and rendering it suitable for practical application. As well as providing support for policy-making at national level, the Agency also works in close cooperation with authorities in each of Germany’s sixteen states. One aim here is to ensure that approaches and methods developed by BfN – for example with regard to landscape planning, species conservation and protected areas – are applied uniformly and comparably nationwide.

Close cooperation with nature conservation NGOs

BfN attaches special importance to close cooperation with nature conservation NGOs. It also maintains ongoing contact with business and numerous associations – for example representing agriculture and forestry, sports and tourism – to encourage and foster the ongoing development of forms of cooperation on the sustainable use of the natural environment. The Agency is additionally in constant academic exchange with universities and other research establishments.

Internationally, BfN is actively involved in various scientific networks and supports the German government in meeting the country’s obligations under related international agreements. These include:

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • The Natura 2000 system of protected areas in Europe
  • The UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme
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