Research Area

Environmental Quality in Cities and Regions

ReNat - Regional network for Nature conservation

Development of a network of priority areas for nature conservation by cooperation of regional planning, business and nature conservation - a pilot scheme at the example of the Southern Region of Leipzig


Initial Situation

The not yet re-cultivated landscapes after open cast brown coal mining in the south of Leipzig are very important for conservation and development of biodiversity on a regional and supraregional level. One precondition for preserving these potentials for nature conservation has been the establishment of a scientifically founded network of priority areas for nature conservation (pdf-file in German) in this region.

However, for the implementation and continuity of this regional network of priority areas as well as for the long term protection of land with successions which are relevant for nature conservation, an inclusion of individual areas within a spatial and functional interconnection is necessary. Primarily the landscapes affected in the past by open cast mining and now used by agriculture and forestry could be considered as development space and connecting elements. These areas have a huge potential for upgrading and development which can be used as compensation in the context of the impact regulation under nature protection law.

At present, investors urgently require suitable compensation areas and professional assistance for the realisation of their plans and projects in the region of Leipzig when implementing their measures. Planning reliability is demanded also by land owners (MIBRAG, LMBV) to be able to start with the re-cultivation of the acclaimed areas according to the later use "nature conservation" as early as possible.

An approach which includes all areas and which sufficiently considers the different ecosystem functions (e.g. habitat and habitat system function, storage and regulating function of soils, biotic output function) and also brings together the regulations of regional planning is still missing in the south of Leipzig.
Because of the missing integration into a regional overall concept many of the nature conservation measures which have been implemented so far in the landscapes after open cast mining have not reached their potential effectiveness.


Aims of the project are therefore

  • to connect the priority areas for nature conservation in the region south of Leipzig on the basis of habitate system planning and to implement the measures for the establishment of this system as compensation measures,
  • to achieve the necessary professional and organisational preconditions for the foundation of a land agency ("Flächenagentur") as a cooperation of nature conservation, investors and regional planning and
  • to test the agency in practice.

Based on its function as a central contact for investors, the agency should provide a substantial contribution to a gradual realisation of a regional network of priority areas for nature conservation by arranging suitable compensation areas.

Project Stages

The project is divided into two stages. The one-year analysis stage lasting from July 2005 to July 2006 should

  1. clarify the organisational and financial preconditions for the foundation of a land agency in the model region. Among others, concrete suggestions concerning the organisational form of the agency by integration into already existing regional institutional structures should be worked out.
  2. determine the demand for compensation measures as well as the compilation and assessment of the availability of potential compensation areas.
  3. acquire the bases for the erection of a habitate system of priority areas for nature conservation and for compliance with minimum standards regarding the functional interdependencies of interference with the "naturally grown" landscape and compensation in anthropologically affected landscapes after opencast brown coal mining.

The results will be discussed on a status seminar. After a successful appraisal, the main foci of the following two-year project stage are:

  1. test and implementation of the land agency in practice,
  2. conception of a comprehensive habitat system that includes several former opencast mining areas and
  3. compilation of a measure catalogue for the carrying out of compensation measures, including the determination of priorities for implementation and of a procedure for the measurement of results.

Project Duration

Phase 1: 07/2005-07/2006
Phase 2: 07/2006-07/2008


Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing.
Wolfgang Wende

Tel. +49 (0) 351 46 79 242

Third-Party Funding

Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt


Project Partners

Centre for environmental research Leipzig-Halle

Ltd. Ass. for landscape ecology, aquatic biology and environmental planning


Collab. Partners

Regional Planning Authority West Saxony (Regionaler Planungsverband Westsachsen)

Saxon State Ministry of Environment and Agriculture (Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Landwirtschaft, SMUL)

German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN)

Mitteldeutsche Braunkohlengesellschaft mbH (MIBRAG)

The Lausitz and Central-German Mining Administration Company (Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbauverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, LMBV)

Saxon Regional Conservation Foundation (Sächsische Landesstiftung Natur und Umwelt, LANU)