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German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation is the central scientific authority of Germany for both national and international nature conservation and advises the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The agency pursues an integrated approach to nature conservation, which is aimed at achieving a balance between the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of natural resources. The continuous improvement of conservation tools and their dynamic adaptation to social and economic change is inherent to this approach.
The international activities of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation are based on the recognition that nature conservation approaches in developing countries must contribute to poverty reduction and also generate benefits for local people in order to create incentives to manage biological resources in a sustainable manner.


1. The montane rainforests of south-western Ethiopia harbour a high diversity of wild coffea arabica, the wild varieties of many commercial coffee breeds. Wild coffee is a source of income for the local population, but the dwindling size of the rainforests together with overutilization threaten the resource base. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the Ethiopian Environment and Coffee Forest Forum and other partners support a range of conservation and development activities that aim at protecting wild coffee in its natural habitat and sustaining local livelihoods, and that led to the establishment of the first two Biosphere Reserves in Ethiopia.
2. Devil?s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant native to Southern Africa. Its tuberous roots are used medicinally for the treatment of arteriosclerosis and rheumatism. The increasing demand particularly from the European market has led to the overexploitation of the plant in most of its natural environment. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation supported an initiative that established annual collection quotas for Devil?s Claw and helped train rural communities on sustainable harvesting methods. In addition, marketing strategies are promoted that ensure fair prices to local harvesters.

Type of organisation: 
Environment-Development Institution

Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst
E-mail:, Phone: +49 228 8491 1760

German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), International Nature Conservation (II 1.3), Konstantinstr. 110, 53179 Bonn, Germany