The Green Belt in Germany and Europe

The Green Belt - One of the longest "biotopes protected areas" of the world

  • Grünes Band bei Mackenrode (Foto: Klaus Leidorf)
  • Das Grüne Band (Foto: Klaus Leidorf)
  • Das Grüne Band (Foto: Andreas Lehmberg)
  • Das Grüne Band

An idea is born

From the Arctic Ocean in the North of Scandinavia to the Black Sea in the Bulgarian South the border formed an insurmountable barrier - politically and geographically. In Germany the most brutal side showed the iron curtain: walls, mines and barbed wire divided the country into East and West that tore families and friends apart for decades. At least 900 people were killed while trying to cross the border. Then 1989 the borders opened. Immediately it was clear that from the protection of the border fortifications a precious piece of wilderness had grown a lifeline for flora and fauna. The conservationists reacted quickly and sat down to find a way how to preserve this magnificent natural heritage. They came up with the idea of the "Green belt." A vision was born and one of Europe's largest nature conservation projects began.

Pearl Necklace
Today, the green belt stretches across 23 European countries and over 12,500 kilometers; at times it can be 50 meters wide and at other times many kilometers. Marshes, meadows, forests, rivers as well as lakes are strung together like pearls on a necklace. Scientists talk wildly about one of the longest "biotopes protected areas" of the world. Here we see wildcat with their offspring hidden in caves, cranes trumpeting their song without interruption and otters playing in the water. Large mammals such as wolves, bear and lynx use the green belt as a trail to spread steadily across Europe.

Imminent Danger
In Germany the Green Belt reaches from the Baltic to the Saxon Vogtland, almost 1,400 kilometers long, 177 square kilometers in size and 109 different habitats strong. However it is not all sunshine and roses on the Green Belt. It is being threatened by intensive agriculture and forestry, new settlements, ICE routes, new roads and more. In some areas the Green Belt is only a few meters wide or even disappeared.  There is an active campaign to prevent further lost and to ensure that the colorful mosaic of different habitats is maintained.

More information about the Green Belt initative:

BUND Project Office Green Belt
BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V.
Hessestraße 4
90443 Nuremberg / Germany
phone 0049-911-575294-10