agreed Thursday to turn more than 60 former military bases into nature
preserves, with the aim of creating vast new green oases and sanctuaries
for rare species of birds.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks
said an ongoing overhaul of the German armed forces had made it
possible to set aside more than 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) of
forests, marshes, meadows and moors.
She said the government had
opted against selling the land, in some cases, prime pieces of real
estate, to investors in favour of creating natural refuges.
are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion – many areas
that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes,”
“We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”
recent years, large swathes of land in the former communist east that
had been occupied by the military, including the so-called “Green Strip”
along the once-fortified heavily border to then West Germany, have been
turned into nature reserves for flora and fauna.
The 62 bases and
training areas earmarked as nature reserves Thursday by the
parliamentary budget committee are mainly in the densely populated
former West Germany.
The sites will primarily serve as
bioreserves, which the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation said would
provide crucial habitats for threatened species such as certain bats,
woodpeckers, eagles and beetles.
Leadership in Germany.