German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Testing and Development Projects

Lüneburger Heide

In 1987, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) set up a new budget heading, Testing and Development Projects in Nature Conservation and Landscape Management. This provides a framework for demonstrating government conservation policy ideas and fine-tuning them in the field to improve the basis for future decision making. Sectoral and administrative responsibility for the new budget heading lies with the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

Guidance notes (available in German only) are provided for applicants. 

Testing and development (T&D) projects are intended to help maintain biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on projects combining conservation and use aspects. Government-funded T&D projects aim to:

  • Implement key research findings
  • Test new and improved applications of already proven methods
  • Bring together the experience gained (successes and failures) and produce generally applicable recommendations

T&D projects give nationwide impetus. Such projects therefore focus on practical application of an idea or an approach. They are accompanied by scientific studies.

Funding Priorities

A number of areas have been selected for priority funding. These are listed here together with the types of projects they cover:

  • Sustaining species diversity:
    Reintroducing and protecting highly endangered species.
  • Safeguarding biotopes:
    Conserving, restoring and interconnecting valuable habitats.
  • Fostering regional development compatible with nature conservation:
    Agriculture, forestry and water resource management in line with nature conservation objectives.
  • Promoting green urban renewal:
    Urban development in line with nature conservation objectives.
  • Raising public acceptance of conservation:
    Communication, information and participation models.
  • Combating climate change:
    Nature conservation measures for climate protection.

Funding is granted on the basis of guidelines (Richtlinien, available in German only) on funding testing and development projects in nature conservation and landscape management issued by the German Environment Ministry on 16 December 1987.

Funding Criteria

National interest

Over and above their regional impact, projects must be important to conservation in Germany as a whole. They must have an identifiable national interest.


Projects must either test and refine new methods or combine existing ones in a new way. Funding is also granted for projects that aim to transfer technologies and methods from other application areas. The approach taken must lead on from the current state of knowledge. Novelty and the need for testing must be clearly demonstrated.

Model character

Projects must serve as a model for conservation activities. They must demonstrate approaches that encourage replication or can improve similar projects.

Conservation objective

Projects must have conservation and landscape management as their prime objectives.


A T&D project can comprise several subprojects that are applied for and carried out separately, as follows:

  • Preliminary study
    A preliminary study is only done if needed, for example to test the likely level of participation in the region or to survey the status quo as a starting point for the main project. Any preliminary study is usually the responsibility of the same entity as the main project. A funding grant for a preliminary study does not create an entitlement to approval for the main project.
  • Main project
    The main project is the practical and core component of a T&D project. It includes all work needed to achieve the testing objectives. Preliminary studies and accompanying research have a support function.
  • Accompanying research
    Accompanying research has several purposes. It assesses the impact of the tested measures, compares this with project objectives, analyses observed developments and produces generally applicable conclusions based on the findings. If required, advice is also provided in conducting the main project. Accompanying research is usually the responsibility of a university, although it can also be organised by the entity responsible for the main project.

Project outlines and applications should be sent by e-mail or to the following address:

Bundesamt für Naturschutz
Referat PK
Konstantinstr. 110

53179 Bonn

Any Questions ?

If you have any questions not covered here, further information can be obtained from Jutta Illmann, BfN, by telephone (+49 (0)228 8491-1012) or e-Mail.

Last Change: 21/03/2018