Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has announced that 60 former military basis throughout the country will be turned into nature preserves with the aim of creating sanctuaries for rare and endangered birds.
Hendricks said the ongoing overhaul of the German armed forces made this move possible, allowing 31,000 hectares of forest, marshes, meadows and moors to be planned. The government opted against selling the land, even though much of the real estate is prime.
“We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion — many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes,” she said. “We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”
In previous decades, land in what was formerly East Germany that was once occupied by the military has been turned into a “Green Strip” of flora and fauna reserves. Most of the 62 bases earmarked as nature reserve sites are located in West Germany.
Most of the sites will be open to the public and will mainly serve as bioreserves that provide habitat to critically endangered species like bats, woodpeckers, beetles and eagles.
This move will bring the country up to 156,000 hectares of federally protected wilderness.
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