Project details

Series of conferences on current challenges faced by German protected areas

‘Demographic Change and its Effects on Protected Areas’ was the title of the conference held by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), from 30th September to 2nd October 2014 at the International Academy for Nature Conservation on the island of Vilm. This event marked the end of a three-year series of conferences on the subject of current challenges and developments in National Natural Landscapes (NNL), which was conceptualised and realised by the IfLS on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

Together with about 40 participants coming from administrations of Protected Areas, state agencies, federal states and administrative districts, as well as experts from universities and consulting institutions, the impacts of demographic change were discussed and action approaches were debated. On the first day, in the form of specialist lectures, the focus was on the immediate and oblique impacts of demographic change on topics that are relevant to Protected Areas, such as (cultural) landscape preservation, volunteer engagement, resources of responsible administrations, as well as nature life and sustainable tourism. On the second day, the debates on the identified challenges and existing problem-solving approaches were continued and advanced in small groups.

The results of the conference are currently being reviewed and will be published as a BfN script in German language.

The conference series had started on 6th and 7th March 2013 in Leipzig with a national civil dialogue on the topic of ‘Production of Renewable Energies in National Nature Landscapes – Restraints, Synergies and Development Potentials’. Topics of the specialist lectures on the first day referred to conflicts between the expansion of renewable energies and the goals of NNL, as well as possibilities of landscape conservation through the use of biomass. On the second day, the 80 participants debated, in parallel working groups, possibilities of governance in the production of biomass and the expansion of the use of wind power as well as the question how NNL in general could and should deal with the issue of the ‘Energy Turnaround’. There is a detailed documentary report of the event in German language in PDF format available at:

In November 2013, the second conference with the title ‘International and Cross-Federal-State Cooperation of Protected Areas (GSG)’ was held in Fulda. The actors debated the requirements as well as the challenges of international, but also of national cross-border cooperation in the fields of governance, nature conservation, and nature conservation-oriented regional development. The event was concluded by a field trip to the Rhoen Biosphere Reserve for on-site information on cross-border projects.

The experiences of the various protected areas have been reviewed and published as a BfN script.

Project no.: 



Events and participatory processes | Large protected areas and cultural landscape |


Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


2012 - 2015

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein, Nicola von Kutzleben

Project management: 

Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein, Nicola von Kutzleben, Christiane Steil, Britta Düsterhaus