Landscape, protected areas and renewables

Project title: Management potential for site protection under nature conservation law, especially for landscape protection areas, with particular reference to renewable energies


  • What negative impacts does the expansion of the electricity grid have on the landscape?
  • How can landscape and scenery be evaluated?
  • Comparison of the results with the current legal position
  • What are the consequences for planning?


Nuertingen-Geislingen University (NGU)
Institute for Landscape and Environment (ILU)
Schelmenwasen 4-8, 72622 Nürtingen
Prof. Dr. Michael Roth
Tel.: +49 7022 201181



FKZ 3515 82 2800
Departmental Research Plan 2015
Term: 01.09.2015 – 30.09.2017

The research project investigates the management potential for site protection with particular emphasis on protected landscape areas. Particular attention was given to the scope for controlling the expansion of renewable energies using site protection instruments.

Site protection is one of the "classics" of German nature conservation law. The core of the national system of protected areas is formed by nature reserves and protected landscape areas accompanied by the large protected areas of national parks, biosphere reserves and nature parks as well as the protected objects with the two categories of natural monument and protected landscape areas. Last is the newly added category of the national natural monument. The first part of this project undertook a systematic analysis of these protected area categories. A profiling analysis was used to identify the protected objects, protection aims and protection requirements as well as possible protection or management regimes for the individual categories. In addition, information is given on the forms of designation and the responsibilities under regional law as well as supplementary notes on further aspects such as the number or area of the designated areas.

A further important part of the project is empirical studies particularly on protected landscape areas. Several different protected landscape area regulations were analysed for eight sample regions, with a particular focus on the descriptions of the character of the area, regulations for conservation objectives, prohibitions and approval requirements, exemptions and special features of the individual regulations. The selected protected landscape areas were also visited (photo documentation and visual inspections of selected areas) and interviews were held with representatives of the different nature conservation authorities ("semi-structured expert interviews based on case studies") and evaluated.

In a third part of the project, important action areas and management aspects were examined in more detail, particularly in relation to case law, the legal commentaries and specialist publications. Some specific questions were examined in the context of the "nature reserve" protection category, in particular the regulation of agriculture and forestry in these areas as well as the management of activities around nature reserves and by means of zoning systems. The following topic areas were described in more detail for the "protected landscape area" category: clarification of the protection objective and site character, zoning and protecting the surroundings, clarification of prohibitions and approval restrictions, management potential of repressive prohibitions, conservation management agreements, protected landscape areas as taboo criteria in regional and land use planning for wind turbines, flexibility clauses and annulment of protected landscape area regulations and the national establishment of Natura 2000 sites through protected landscape area regulations. A more detailed examination was also made of the general topics of "dealing with land ownership" and "exemptions".

Recommendations were produced from the findings of all the project steps and indications given for further research. The recommendations relate to the national site protection categories in general and to the instrument for protected landscape areas in particular. They provide details on the conservation aim and site character, boundaries and zoning, prohibitions and approval restrictions, dealing with land ownership, linking to land management agreements and funding, communicating the regulatory measures and implementation and monitoring. Recommendations are also given for regulating the expansion of renewable energies using national site protection funding.


The objective of this research project was to explore the regulatory potential of the site protection categories of the Federal Nature Protection Act (BNatSchG) and to generate recommendations for the application and further development of the instruments. The main focus was on the protected landscape area. Particular attention was also paid to the issue of regulating the expansion of renewable energies by means of site protection. The results of the project comprise:

  • A systematic analysis of the site categories protected by the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) (incl. protected objects) based on legal and nature conservation literature and on case law
  • Results of an empirical study on protected landscape areas in eight sample regions (analysis of the regulations, semi-structured expert interviews based on case studies, and visits)

Results of a detailed analysis of selected action areas and regulatory elements based on case law, the legal commentaries and specialist publications
Derivation of practical recommendations on the national site protection categories in general, on protected landscape areas in particular (conservation aim and site character, boundaries and zoning, prohibitions and approval restrictions, dealing with land ownership, linking to land management agreements and funding, communicating the measures of the regulation and implementation and monitoring) and on the regulation of the expansion of renewable energies using national site protection funding.

The results highlight in particular the broad potential range of application and the large potential of protected landscape areas as an important instrument to protect and develop special qualities of nature and landscape.

Interim results and initial recommendations were discussed at a workshop with experts from government administration, the judiciary and the legal profession.

The final report of the project has been published in the series by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) "Nature conservation and biodiversity" as Volume 166: 

Project partners

Project partners

Project management

University Kassel
Department 06 Architecture, urban planning, landscape planning
Department of Landscape Development / Environmental and Planning Law
Universitätsplatz 9, 34109 Kassel
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. iur. Andreas Mengel
Tel.: +49 561 804-3570

Funding authority

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
FG I 2.1 Law, economy and nature-compatible regional development
Konstantinstr. 110, 53179 Bonn
Dr. Oliver Hendrischke, Dr. Henrik Flatter
Tel.: +49 228 8491–1711


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