The European Green Belt, our shared natural heritage along the line of the former Iron Curtain, is to be conserved and restored as an ecological network connecting high-value natural and cultural landscapes while respecting the economic, social and cultural needs of local communities.



Backbone of Diversity

The Green Belt should not be seen as a continuous strip of protected area, but rather as a bridging element that links grassland fallow and wetlands, dry grasslands and mature woodlands, thus forming a string of important habitats. Seen on a large scale, the Green Belt ecological network consists of core areas, sustainable use areas, and corridors that can be called landscape corridors, stepping stone corridors, linear corridors or buffer zones. The Green Belt serves as the backbone of a Pan-European ecological network crossing nearly all of the continent’s biogeographic regions, which is of significant importance for migrating species such as wolves, bears and lynxes, as well as amphibians and birds.

Landscape and habitat fragmentation resulting from various kinds of human infrastructure presents an increasing problem in industrial countries. Additionally, intense agricultural landscapes reduce migration, with barrier effects making it difficult to provide enough space for genetic exchange between isolated populations.

It is therefore essential not to spoil the existence of such a unique and vast strip of land cutting through the entire length of Europe. As part of Natura 2000, all European countries have committed themselves to providing the support and legal framework for the preservation of national habitat networks. This requires better local, regional and international cooperation among the fields of transport planning, regional planning, game management, agriculture and forestry, nature conservation, and corresponding research.