36. Deutscher Naturschutztag in Hannover – Conference on Nature Conservation in Hannover, Germany
Under the headline “Nature Conservation Now! Nature. Land use. Climate.” The “36. Deutscher Naturschutztag” (36th nature conservation day) took place in Hanover. Dr. Christina Mumm participated for corsus.
corsus has been supporting large-scale nature conservation projects for many years, for example in Hamburg or Krautsand, and accompanies the development of mission statements for regions. In addition, one main aspect of our services is on biodiversity. In a recently published study for WWF Germany, corsus has quantified the effects of nutrition on biodiversity in Germany for the first time. In the project Biodiversity in the supply chain, funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, corsus is working together with WWF Germany and Systain on a tool for risk assessment of biodiversity in supply chains. The Conference on Nature Conservation in Germany is therefore at the top of the agenda.
The program offered top-class speakers from politics and science. The opening plenary lectures presented the state of nature and current challenges. The worrying changes in the Earth’s natural systems are well known, as are the drivers of change. The exploitation of the planet’s resources has reached such an extent that Earth Overshoot Day is reached earlier each year. 2022, the day on which the resources that the planet can provide within a year are consumed on July 28, for Germany it was already reached on May 4, 2022. Species extinction has reached such an enormous scale that it can no longer be considered a “niche problem” of nature conservation. Scientists are now talking about it as the global extinction crisis, which has even led to the proclamation of a new Earth age: the Anthropocene. Human induced climate change and the loss of biodiversity are mutually reinforcing. Agriculture ranks as the major cause of global biodiversity loss. These three interacting aspects are summarized as a “trilemma” which can only be overcome through a comprehensive transformation of human behavior. Thus, the intention and the urgent need to take action and implement nature conservation, including its closely related fields of biodiversity, climate change, and nutrition, was predominant in all discussions. The important question was raised, which future vision does determine and guide the action. This needs to be adressed. Thereby, nature conservation can be both the goal and the instrument of change at the same time.
Major aspects of the state of conservation and science were focused on in individual forums. It was reported how freshwater can be successfully protected from nitrate pollution, how grassland can be restored through modern and extensive management and under which conditions drained peatlands can be renaturalized. Another focus was on high land use and how to restrict or even avoid it. The legal framework, including its opportunities and limitations, was also presented impressively. At the global level, the Convention on Biological Diversity specifies which goals are to be implemented in national measures. Commitment and consequences of non-compliance were critically discussed. The result and effect of the constitutional complaint against the Climate Protection Act in Germany, as well as the significance of Article 20a GG, gave an outlook, how the protection of biodiversity could possibly be treated legally. However, this would require a clearly quantifiable and generally accepted control variable for biodiversity, comparable to CO2 in case of climate change. The fact that a method to quantify impacts on biodiversity is still not yet fully implemented has also been mentioned in talks on life cycle assessments for companies, political guidelines and in the certification of sustainable agriculture.
The 36th German Nature Conservation Day showed that the desired transformation requires a courageous and ahead-looking policy, as well as the tireless commitment of all scientific and voluntary conservationists. A key question for nature conservation is how people can be permanently inspired to protect nature and won over to get involved. One aspect of this could be that all people get easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement access to how they can protect biodiversity in their everyday life. A goal that is pursued, for example, in the “CLIF” project, in which corsus is involved.
The conference also served as a forum for bundling the claims of the participants in the “Hanoverian Declaration”. This declaration points out the urgent necessity of the transformation and gives definite instructions for action on how political goals can be achieved. It mentions natural climate protection, the combination of energy transition and species protection, nature-friendly land use, as well as a biodiversity offensive. The appeal it conveys is to give nature conservation the highest priority from now on.
The conference was completed by an interesting excursion offer, a large exhibition of various initiatives and NGOs, as well as by a modern art exposition.
Recordings of the opening speech and the plenary lectures can be viewed here https://www.deutscher-naturschutztag.de/live-stream
corsus projects for the protection of biodiversity: