Nature conservation and our commitment towards the different kinds of flora and fauna form the core of our central social missions. We want to preserve what secures our natural necessities and we have therefore placed nature protection at the centre of our policies. Our strategy for the protection of nature includes a comprehensive, concrete and state-wide unique catalogue of measures which places biodiversity as a central mission since that affects everybody.
The central guideline for nature protection in the state of Baden-Württemberg is the “Naturschutzstrategie” (strategy for the protection of nature). Its primary objective is to maintain the biological diversity of Baden-Württemberg. Maintaining the native diversity of the different kinds of animals and plants, securing their habitat and improving their chances for survival is one of the most important socio-political tasks for us.
The richly diverse cultural landscape in Baden-Württemberg with its disparate habitats, types of flora and fauna and their function as recreational space for the citizens shows the importance that Baden-Württemberg places on the maintenance of this biodiversity. The nature conservation authorities are active in many areas in this regard: They preserve valuable regions with the help of experts who have been specially trained for this purpose, they record the presence of the different kinds of plants and animals and prepare information and programs to maintain them. In this way, we sustain the biodiversity in Baden-Württemberg together with many others who are engaged in farming and forestry as well as with collectives and other initiatives: Nature protection does not take place only in the several nature and landscape conservation areas and in Natura 2000 sites as well as in the major nature reserves, but actually everywhere in Baden-Württemberg.
Natura 2000, the European network of nature reserves, is meant to protect important habitats for flora and fauna across all of Europe and to maintain them for future generations. These include, for example, peatland and near natural lakes and rivers. Protected species include, for example, the lady`s slipper orchid, the salmon and the red kite. The most important pillars for this network of nature reserves are the Habitats Directive from 1992 and the Directive on the Protection of Birds from 1979.
Baden-Württemberg is contributing its share to Natura 2000 and has declared 11.6 % of its area of the state as habitats directive sites and 10.9 % as birds directive sites. In its so called management plans, the presence of 53 types of habitats, 61 protected species as well as 39 breeding birds species are being recorded and the conservation and development objectives are defined. The management plans for all the Natura 2000 regions are being worked out according to a common procedure and in a transparent manner together with user groups.
The implementation of the conservation and development measures is being carried out particularly within the framework of a contracted nature protection scheme. Through this scheme, a targeted and area-related maintenance and cultivation is contractually agreed upon with the users of the land. The state of the habitats and the existence of the various life forms are supervised through a monitoring program. Through the LIFE Program that has been set up by the European Commission, a further effective instrument is available for the promotion and development of the Natura 2000 protected reserves network.
National natural landscapes: The major nature reserves in the state
Baden-Württemberg has a remarkable number of major nature reserves: Seven nature parks, two biosphere reserves and one national park. Nature parks are primarily intended for environmentally sound tourism: People seeking recreation and the landscapes that need conservation come together in these reserves.
The Schwarzwald (Black Forest) National Park was set up in 2014. Its motto is: “Let nature be natural”. Protection of the development process is of primary importance, this means nature is allowed to develop itself over large areas without the intervention of humans.
In biosphere reserves, living in harmony with nature is in the foreground: Biosphere reserves are model regions which show how activities in the fields of commerce, settlement activities and tourism can be developed together with the requirements of nature and environment in an innovative way. The Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alb) biosphere reserve has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve from 2009, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) biosphere reserve that was established in 2016 has already applied for UNESCO recognition.
Nature conservation and protected landscape areas
Our nature and landscape conservation areas are rather small when compared to the regions mentioned above, however they are much more in number. Usually, they are also a part of the Natura 2000 network and/or a major nature reserve. They normally offer protection and conservation to very special types of flora and fauna or to landscapes, as well.