Green Belt Germany - Diversity Non-stop

Arnica meadow in the Green Belt in Saxony
The Green Belt being cut through by the A71 Schweinfurt-Erfurt motorway

It is also called the "Green Belt" because of the predominant colour. But it displays almost every natural colour there is: Many shades of green, brown and blue, with brightly-coloured blossoms in between. But this was not the only reason that in November 2005 the Green Belt was acknowledged throughout Germany as a "National Natural Heritage" and included in 2007 as a flagship project in the "National Strategy for the Preservation of Biological Diversity" of the Federal Government. That it deserves extensive protection was impressively confirmed in a field mapping carried out in 2001/2002. The surveying and development project "Green Belt Inventory" was carried out by the BUND with its Project Office Green Belt and supported by the Bundesamt für Naturschutz BfN (the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation). The results of the "longest" inventory ever undertaken by the German nature conservationists underline the outstanding ecological value of the 1,393 km-long and 177 km² large network of habitats:

  • 109 different types of habitats

  • 48% of endangered habitat types according to the Red List of Germany

  • 28% nature reserves

  • 38% flora-fauna habitats (under protection of EU Habitats Directive)

  • 60% running/standing water bodies, extensive grassland, fallow land and woods

  • 85% of the area and 80% of the length is still close-to-nature

And yet the Green Belt is still endangered. Some 15% of the area has already been destroyed through intensive grassland and arable use, as well as through road-building (motorways) and industrial estates. It is up to all of us to ensure that this unique lifeline does not continue to be fragmented.

Tree frog

More than 600 animal and plant species that are on the "Red List" of Germany have so far been discovered here. It is frequently the only place of retreat for species which rely on undisturbed or extensively cultivated areas, such as fallow land, tall grass meadows, grassland, natural stretches of water and forests. The bush cricket, whinchat, red-backed shrike, kingfisher, black stork and European otter, Turk's cap lily, pasque flower or globe flower are just a small selection of the rarities in the Green Belt.

During the "GEO Day of Species Diversity" at the Green Belt in June 2003, which was organised by the BUND in conjunction with the magazine GEO, 500 experts charted over 5200 different animals and plants in the Green Belt in 24 hours. Some species that were considered to have become extinct, such as the swallowwort in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, were also rediscovered here.

You can find out more about the sites of natural beauty in the regions of Elbe-Altmark-Wendland, the Harz mountains or the Thuringian Forest /Slate Mountains / Franconian Forest here. You can read about the flowering splendour that awaits you in other areas of the Green Belt here.