German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)



Welcome to the English webpages of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) is the central scientific authority of the German federal government for both national and international nature conservation.


About us

New handbook: “Using Satellite Images for Wetland Management and Planning in Africa”

Bonn, 26 October 2021: Together with wetland managers from over twenty African countries and Jena-Optronik GmbH the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has developed a handbook for the use of satellite images for wetland management in Africa as part of a research and development project. Satellite images can be used in many ways worldwide: For example, to record temporal and spatial changes in the use of wetlands or in water quality and quantity, even in areas that are difficult to access, or to plan and communicate conservation measures. The new handbook introduces the GEOclassifier software, which is available free of charge, and includes numerous case studies from African wetlands.

More about the project
Download the handbook

BfN Viewpoint on New Genetic Techniques and their Regulation

Bonn, 15. October 2021: The European Commission has initiated an impact assessment on new developments in genetic engineering. This impact assessment is intended to evaluate legislative proposals to regulate certain new genomic techniques (NGTs) in plants. In this paper, the German Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) outlines its position and explains why the current GMO regulation in the EU is suitable and also necessary for NGTs to protect humans, animals and the environment from potential dangers as well as to support possible sustainability goals established in the framework of European strategies.
To the short summary (German)

and position paper (English)

25 years of International Bat Night - significant for bat conservation in Europe

Bechstein's bat (photo: R. Petermann)

Bonn, 27 August 2021: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Bat Night! Since 1997, the last weekend in August has been reserved for bats. At public events in museums, at universities, at specialised institutes, in clubhouses or simply out in nature, biologists as well as volunteers raise awareness about fascinating ecological features of these mammals. Cultural prejudice is one of the important reasons why bats were (and still are) ill-treated. However, the main threat to them is habitat loss due to human activities. To dispel myths and enlighten the general public on the natural value of bats, the EUROBATS Secretariat called for the first International Bat Night in 1997. Today there are over 46 participating states.

Press release

‘Visitors Count!' guideline launched to measure the value of tourism in protected areas

Bonn/Paris, 24 August 2021: New guidelines published by BfN and UNESCO put forward a standard methodology for evaluating the impact of protected areas on the local economy. The guidelines aim to help national stakeholders, protected area managers and researchers count visitation and measure economic impacts consistently through a standardized approach. ‘Visitors Count!’ builds on years-long research funded by BfN/BMU and was developed thanks to support from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, and by authors and editors from the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group). 

To the publication 

New digital training materials on ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’

Putbus/Isle of Vilm, 1. July 2021: BfN’s International Academy for Nature Conservation and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) have released a set of training materials on ‘Other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs), to support awareness raising and capacity building. The training materials result from many years of cooperation between the two organizations.


Call on Subnational, Regional and Local Governments to sign the Edinburgh Declaration

Edinburgh Declaration © ICLEI CBC

Berlin/Bonn, June 18, 2021: In the context of the National Preparatory Conference for the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15), the German Federal Environment Ministry BMU, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN and the alliance “Kommunen für biologische Vielfalt” (Municipalities for biological diversity) call on Subnational, Regional and Local Governments to support the so-called Edinburgh Declaration. The Edinburgh Declaration carries the aspirations of cities and regions visibly into international biodiversity policy, calls for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework and gives impetus for action on the subnational levels. The signature strengthens city and region networks, Parties to the Convention and the European Committee of the Regions during the negotiations for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework and its implementation.

Common Communiqué (in German)

Sign now


Networking for ABS Compliance

[Translate to en:] Logo Hub Nagoya

Bonn, 11. June 2021: On June 14 from 2-4 p.m. CEST, the German Nagoya Protocol HuB (GNP HuB) will be hosting an online EU Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Networking Event for the European research community in order to reflect on “capacity building for users — gaps and ways forward into the future”. The GNP HuB is financed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) to help and guide academic researchers in Germany understanding Nagoya Protocol compliance. The GNP HuB provides information about ABS in countries that provide genetic resources for research, and the EU ABS Regulation No 511/2014 as well as the corresponding German implementing law. The event is organized in collaboration with the European Marine Biological Resource Centre, the Union for Ethical BioTrade, ABS-int, Wageningen University and Research and the Natural History Museum London.
Register online

New e-learning courses help conserving protected plant species

Timber transport in a tropical forest (photo: Daniel Wolf)

Bonn/ Cambridge, 25 May 2021: Affirming that trade in CITES-listed species is not detrimental to the survival of the respective species in the wild is one of the greatest challenges for CITES-Authorities when doing their so-called Non-Detriment Finding (NDF). Together with Traffic BfN has developed a step by step guidance (9-steps NDF) for this purpose for perennial plants and for timber. To make access to these guidances easier e-learning-courses have been developed and launched on 25 May 2021. They consist of the guidances, tests of the user’s knowledge, case studies to apply the content and a decision tree to facilitate working on real live cases.


Photographic identification – a tool to improve the regulation of wildlife trade

Cnemapsis psychedelica (photo: Hai Ngoc Ngo)

Bonn, 19 May 2021: Scientists of the BfN, Cologne Zoo and the IEBR and WAR Vietnam found that the colour pattern of the Psychedelic Rock Gecko (Cnemaspis psychedelica) allows individual recognition. The rare and impressively coloured gecko is endemic to small islands of Vietnam and entered the pet trade shortly after its discovery in 2010. To regulate the international trade, the species was listed in CITES Appendix I. As a consequence, the individual marking of specimens in the EU is now mandatory according to EU legislation, while respective guidance is lacking so far. The recently published study provides guidance for CITES authorities on how to apply a photo documentation and recommends the use of a software.