Germany bears a special
responsibility for a range of old
military landscapes with their flora and fauna: a national natural
heritage. In order to preserve this heritage, the federal government has
consigned up to 125,000 hectares of nationally significant lands to the
federal states, the DBU Naturerbe GmbH (DBU Natural Heritage Ltd) and
environmental protection groups – a unique opportunity for domestic
In 2001, the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU) expanded the foundation’s aims to include the protection of the national natural heritage; in 2008, the non-profit subsidiary DBU Naturerbe GmbH was founded. This subsidiary has assumed responsibility for 49 landed properties from the federal government with a total area of 62,000 hectares in order to preserve nature. On the former military premises, the forest division of the Federal Real Estate is entrusted with implementing site-specific management concepts. With its open landscapes, wetlands and woodlands, Prora is unique for its natural diversity. The main objectives of the DBU Naturerbe GmbH are to conserve biodiversity and to increase people’s identification with nature.
Aims of nature protection
Many of the properties of the DBU Naturerbe GmbH were formerly used by the military as exercise grounds for troops. These areas are characterized both by open, diversified woods and wetlands, and by high exposure to ammunition and pollution. Mostly undisturbed by visitors, unique plant and animal species have developed over a long period. The DBU Naturerbe GmbH preserves and nurtures the open lands with their range of increasingly rare species. Near-natural woods are not intensively managed, non-indigenous trees are replaced over the long term with local species; wetlands are preserved or restored. For the DBU Naturerbe GmbH, management and supervision are just as important as environmental education and public relations. The cooperation with local stakeholders and other environmental activists leads to common projects.
Those wishing to explore the unique landscape on their own can take advantage of the exciting audio guides of the Heritage App, which is available as a free download in the Apple and Google app stores.