The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) is the scientific authority of the German federal government responsible for national and international nature conservation. The BfN provides support and advice to the Federal Environment Ministry in all aspects of nature conservation, landscape management and international cooperation. Since its establishment in 1993, BfN has been situated in Bonn. It has field offices in Leipzig and on the island of Vilm, where the International Academy for Nature Conservation is also based.

Key tasks: advise, fund, enforce and inform

The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

  • provides advice to the German government on the basis of the latest scientific findings, oversees federal funding programmes such as the Federal Biological Diversity Programme or "chance.natur – Bundesförderung Naturschutz", a support programme for large-scale nature conservation projects;
  • carries out scientific research on nature conservation and landscape management in its function as a departmental research organisation and commissions research projects;
  • is the enforcement authority in the exclusive economic zones of the North and Baltic Seas and has key enforcement functions related to international species protection (CITES), under the Nagoya Protocol, the Genetic Engineering Act, the EU regulation on invasive species and the Antarctic Treaty, et cetera;
  • supports administrations and associations in their practical work;
  • operates various information systems related to nature conservation;
  • publishes the Red Lists and the magazine “Natur und Landschaft” and brings out publication series of its own;
  • provides a forum with the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA) to discuss and solve national and international issues related to nature conservation, and to bring together stakeholders from public authorities, science, business, associations and foundations.

BfN information systems on nature conservation

BfN aims to provide information to experts from all fields of nature conservation and to the interested public.

In addition to the information available on its website, BfN provides the following services:

  • a nationwide central literature database
  • information systems on landscapes, landscape plans and Natura2000 sites
  • the information portals WISIA-online, Floraweb, Neobiota, ABS, FFH-Anhang-4-Arten (FFH annex 4 species) and FFH-VP-Info (FFH impact assessment information)
  • map services for protected areas, alluvial meadows, landscapes, seabirds and harbour porpoises
  • online applications for the import and export of protected species (CITES-online) and an online information service for children called Naturdetektive

Through these services, the BfN facilitates fast access to reliable and well-researched information on nature conservation and landscape management.