Feasibility study on the assessment of historical ecosystem services on natural heritage sites

Research Project by  iDiv in cooperation with Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Bund Heimat und Umwelt in Deutschland (BHU) and Wissenschaftliches Büro Leipzig, PD Dr. Nils M. Franke. The study is sponsored by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).


Natural heritage areas are protected to allow for the preservation of unique biotopes and the development of pristine forests. The dynamics and trends of ecosystem services relate to the use and cultivation of nature and landscape today and in the past. The concept of ecosystem services therefore allows for the analysis of historical cultural needs as well as prerequisites for nature conservation. Such an analysis can be a basis for sustainable development of nature and landscapes with the participation of all stakeholders.

In a 1-year feasibility study we develop and test methods for the assessment of historical ecosystem services on three selected natural heritage sites: Wahner Heide, Stegskopf and Hohe Schrecke. A guideline of methods is being developed which can later on be transferred to other natural heritage sites.

Aims of the Study

The project aims at the assessment of historical cultural needs and nature conservation requirements in selected cultural landscapes:

  • further development of methods for the assessment of historical ecosystem services
  • transdisciplinary expert workshop on methods for the historical analysis of landscapes, their use and users
  • development of a guideline of methods for an integrated assessment
  • exemplary testing of the guideline on selected sites
  • development of resources (brochures, flyers, education material, website) for the sustainable protection of historical cultural landscapes
  • conceptualization of a longer term program for a historically review of all DBU areas

Since this projects has started in May, the first outcomes of this project will only be published within the coming months. Here are some first insights (in German):