the invitation of the Forestry Agency Schleiden, approx.
60 km west of Bonn, the CMS Secretariat visited the area
of the first National Park in the western part of Germany
to be set up in January 2004. In the hilly region of the
Eifel, 10 000 hectares of State owned forests and an abandoned
military training camp will be dedicated to a protected
area for endangered animal and plant species in accordance
with the criteria set up by the World Conservation Union
(IUCN). The future National Park is located in the centre
of the natural range of beech forests in Europe close
to the borders of The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Officers of the District Forestry Agency responsible for
the establishment of the National Park introduced the CMS
team into the philosophy of National Parks that leaves the
natural dynamic of ecosystems untouched. Nature studies
of the hiking trails not yet accessible to visitors showed
the difference between natural forest and the impact of
man and animals on vegetation. This man-made landscape with
lakes, valleys and forests offer various recreation activities.
Now it is protected without being submitted to artificial
management measures. A boat trip on the lake, deer crossing
hiking trails is part of the experience of the dual concept
of both recreation and nature protection.
This National Park offers important habitats to migratory
animals, in particular birds. These are an indispensable
part of ecosystems linked together in Europe. Located on
the intercontinental flyway of migratory birds, the National
Park constitutes a breeding or staging site of growing importance
for birds migrating between Northern or Western Europe and
their wintering quarters in Africa.
This nature experience in the field being replenishment
to daily conservation work in the office will further enhance
CMS’ commitment to the conservation of wild animals
and their habitats.