Quantifying targets for nature conservation in future European landscapes

Friedrich Duhme, Stephan Pauleit, Hermann Baier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One of the most important outcomes of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro was the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). Nature conservation practice in Central Europe has long been defensive, focusing on the protection of nature in reserves, on the one hand, and on the preservation of particular species, on the other. However, about two-thirds of plant and animal species in Central Europe belong to agro-ecosystems and are hence dependent on human land-uses. Biodiversity strategies have thus to be incorporated into agro-ecosystem development considerations. Results from a test study are presented to show how quantitative targets for nature conservation planning, in a fine-grained landscape of individual farming, can be developed for this purpose. Documentation on large vertebrates in Europe clearly demonstrates that there is a connection with the coarse-grained agronomy structures of the former Eastern Bloc countries, where these large vertebrates are still abundant, whereas these latter are rare, endangered or already extinct in European Union (EU) countries. There is some evidence that, on the large contiguous tracts of agricultural lands of the former Eastern Bloc countries, there is only sporadic disturbance owing to farming activities (pulse disturbance) whereas, in most of the EU 'amenity' small-scale landscapes, activities on the land create a pressing disturbance for wildlife. Thus, large-scale farming is essential for the maintenance of the more conspicuous large vertebrates. This approach towards nature conservation may be described as site-oriented land-use separation. In this respect, the 'new' Europe offers a tremendous opportunity for research networks, within which the different structures of agro-ecosystems may be compared with each other (e.g. Poland, with its agro-industrial, private and mixed systems, or South Moravia, with intensity rings around villages, or even on a continental scale). There is a pressing need for this type of comparative research for new nature conservation strategies, to steer fundamental changes in agricultural landscapes by the new Community Agricultural Policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Agro-ecosystems
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Large Vertebrates
  • Nature Conservation Planning
  • Targets


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