Landcare in Germany - working together for varied landscapes

Landcare got underway in Germany in 1985 with the formation of the first Landcare Association. there are 155 Landcare Associations – at least one in every federal state across the country.

The Landcare Associations are made up of farmers, environmentalists and local
authorities and they work closely with local and regional communities.

The Landcare Associations act as advisers and mediate schemes on private and
community land. They give nature conservation advice for biodiversity
protection and plan measures to improve the ecological value of man-made

The work of the associations can include planting hedges and preserving orchards, mowing wetlands and cutting scrub on ecologically valuable grazing grounds. The Landcare Associations open up financial resources (European and/or state funds) and co-ordinate the implementation of works mainly done by local farmers. More than 20,000 farmers work for nature protection within our Landcare Associations in Germany each year.

The success and popularity of the associations is based on the fact they
are non-government organisations, they work on the basis of parity (there
are equal numbers of environmentalists, farmers and local politicians on the boards) and all participation is voluntary. Landcare Associations only offer advice to local authorities, farmers and other private
landowners on request.

Landcare in Bavaria

The idea of Landcare started in Bavaria in the mid-eighties. There are now 55
Landcare Associations in Bavaria, working together with 3500 farmers and 220
shepherds. More than 60 per cent of the state-funded Landcare measures
are implemented by the Landcare Associations.

Supporting regional identity is one of the aims of Landcare in Germany. In Bavaria one of the Landcare priorities is to keep ecologically valuable orchards in use by the exchange of old and new knowledge (tree pruning and the use of apple collectors), planting new orchards and supporting the regional processing and marketing of the cider and apple-juice products.

Ecologically valuable grazing grounds are also being enhanced and protected by introducing regional marketing projects for lamb meat to support local sheep farmers and co-operating with local restaurants, hotels and butchers. With the help of farmers and community, bushes and trees are cut back on grazing grounds to create open habitats for endangered herbs.

Landcare in Bavaria is co-ordinated by a state facilitator, employed at the
German Association of Landcare (DVL), the umbrella organisation of all regional
Landcare Associations.

In Bavaria the DVL manages a project called Bayern Ureinwohner – a public relations campaign focusing on the region’s rare animal and plant species. Inventive and creative events such as hill races, concerts and art shows organised by Landcare Associations help to raise awareness for environmental issues in the wider community.

By Beate Kretinger and Marie Kaerlein

For further information contact
Beate Krettinger by email at