Best practice: Hanover
Hannover was named as the German Capital of Biodiversity in a project led by German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe and funded by the European Community in 2011, and authorities there have made biodiversity a basic goal in the current urban development process. The result is an extraordinary number of action plans: rivers are reconstructed and maintained in a natural way, the municipal forest is certified as sustainably managed by the Forest Stewardship Council and a separate programme even enhances the deadwood in the forest for use as natural habitat for insects. Areas of city parks have been set aside to grow wild. There are also schemes to create ponds and small woods, protect wild farm herbs, increase organic farming and reactivate rare plant species in 118 sites around the city. The authorities are also expounding the virtues of all this to the public with new educational programmes and facilities, including a 32-metre wooden interactive ‘Forest Experience Tower opened in 2009.