Agreements on environmentally compatible practice of sports with sportspersons and associations

Agreements on environmentally compatible practice of sports with sportspersons and associations
Agreements with sportspeople can prevent disturbances in sensitive areas, e.g. on crags. © Yann Kohler

Involved sectors

Other: Sports Associations

Affected habitats

Forest, Shrubs and wooded areas, Bogs and fens, wetlands, Alpine habitats, Grassland, Arable land, Areas for settlements and transport, Waterbodies


Many of the sports carried out in the natural environment can cause major disturbance and even the destruction of habitats. Mountain biking, paragliding, canyoning and climbing are just a few examples. In order to guarantee that sports are practised in a more environmentally compatible manner, agreements for sensitive areas can be reached with sports groups and associations. One example is the climbing strategy adopted by the German Alpine Association (DAV). Many rocky crags and rockfaces provide refuge for rare and protected species of flora and fauna. To ensure that these unique biotopes are not damaged by climbers, strategies for environmentally compatible climbing are both useful and necessary. The package of measures adopted by the German Alpine Association (DAV) on eco-friendly climbing involves working with public authorities and nature conservation organisations to develop climbing strategies. The DAV is relying on a wide variety of solutions to identify, at micro level, those areas where environmentally compatible climbing is possible and those where no climbing should take place in the interests of nature conservation. Uniform marking of crags, temporary closure of crags or sections of them, and local wardens with responsibility for crags are just some of the key elements of these strategies.


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Insects, Fish
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Many different plants and animals find their niche at close quarters between the foot of the rock walls and the top of the crags (lichens, peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) and many types of insects). The temporary closure of crags or sections of them will prevent damage and disturbance.
Element of ecological network In areas with few key crags or on those which are used widely for tourism, the implementation of this measure plays a key role, particularly within a biotope network.
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: To protect rocky crags and rockfaces which are breeding places, it is particularly important that the impact is immediate and that no disturbance occurs. Gaining the long-term acceptance of sportspersons and implementing a broad-based standard procedure will take longer.
Impact scope Local (municipality): The impact occurs directly on the rocky crags and rockfaces concerned. However it can have a regional or transregional significance, such as in the case of the successful breeding of a rare and sensitive species.


Implementation period Weeks: Signage and closures can be set up quickly. Training and 'educating' the sportspersons, establishing a standard marking system etc. are long-term goals.
Frequency Non-recurring: Time-consuming and costly preparation of measures needed. Their implementation requires optimal management and continuous adaptation.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Medium (10'000-100'000 EUR): The work involved in implementing this strategy is mainly carried out by volunteers (local wardens with responsibility for crags). Costs for information materials and signage are incurred.
Socio-economic impacts No direct impact
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: European
Legal situation Voluntary collaboration with sportspersons and sports associations.

Further information

Evaluation Through a contractual (voluntary) agreement, acceptance of the requisite measures among stakeholders is very high. The easing of burdens on the authorities and the ensuing cost savings, as well as the high degree of flexibility, also testifies to the usefulness of this approach. If monitoring of the scheme’s success brings new scientific knowledge to light, the arrangements can be adapted without major organisational or financial effort.
Information Germany: Comprehensive information about the climbing strategies and environmentally compatible climbing is available from the rock information system: (de)
Contact Germany: DAV contact person on the subject of climbing and nature conservation: Jörg Ruckriegel.
Good Practice Climbing strategies: an environmentally friendly approach to climbing, Germany
Programmes d’escalade – L’escalade respectueuse de la nature
Alpinismo – Arrampicate compatibili con la natura

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