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).


In the sense of sustainable landscape development today the demands on land use and change of use are to be considered under ecological, social and economic aspects. Spatial developments should always be better understood in the context of their historical development and thus be planned more sustainably. Therefore, the project had to work out which qualitative and quantitative methods are available and can be applied for the recording of historical and current land uses and which possibilities of sustainable development exist from the point of view of the potential users.

The feasibility study “Historical Ecosystem Services on Natural Lands in Germany” was carried out to explore needs, potentials and framework conditions for the assessment of the importance of natural heritage. Together with individuals and groups of people with an interest in natural heritage in Germany, isolated natural and cultural achievements of natural heritage sites should be recorded and assessed qualitatively and quantitatively. Participatory methods should be tested for the historical significance of selected natural sites in terms of the added value of natural heritage for civil society.

The overall scientific goal of the project was to compile and test methods for collecting and assessing historical and current ecosystem services and analyzing their relevance to different actors. Subordinate goals were: a) the creation of a scientifically validated methodology for the collection, evaluation and mediation of natural services of historically interesting natural heritage sites; b) the region – specific preparation and concomitant examination of the historical and current use of selected natural sites, as well as c) the recording of needs, potentials and framework conditions for the assessment of the importance of natural surfaces.

Aims of the Study

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