Creation of forest reserves

Creation of forest reserves
Cross-linked forests are important for a biotope network. © Maja Dumat/

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Nature protection

Affected habitats



Areas of woodland which are particularly valuable in nature conservation terms are important elements of a biotope network; these include areas with remnants of potential natural vegetation, old-growth forest, coppice forest and special sites (river-meadow and humid forests, gorges, steep slopes). Natural forest reserves can constitute an important tool in maintaining a representative network of forested areas of appropriate quality. Here, the various stages in the development of forest structures and their typical fauna and flora can be maintained, without use, in the various natural forest communities and habitat types. They also act as significant biotopes or stepping stones in a more or less non-natural environment (especially forests on valley floors, (former) river-meadow forests).


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Insects
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats The maintenance of near-natural forested areas without use improves habitat quality for typical and in some cases rare species of fauna (natural processes of forest dynamics, typical species inventory). Forested areas with low levels of disturbance and fragmentation are maintained.
Element of ecological network With close connectivity with other valuable habitats (dry meadows, fens, high bogs, flood plains), forest reserves act as significant biotopes, stepping stones or connecting corridors in a more less non-natural environment.
Time of realisation for measure Years: Depending on the starting conditions in the forest stand, a near-natural state may have to be established first.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Local planning can increase the impact of the measure as individual areas can then be integrated into a broader network (other forested areas, valuable habitats outside the forest).


Implementation period Months: The administrative process associated with designation as a forest reserve usually takes some time.
Frequency Non-recurring

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): Financial support is usually provided as a basic amount (approx.€ 15/ha) + a flat rate for default on contract (up to € 340/ha).
Socio-economic impacts Low: Legislation on forests and nature conservation governs the payment of compensation for forest reserves.
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation In most cases, a representative network of natural forest reserves (also: natural forest cells, forest reserves, etc.) is covered by individual legislation applicable to forests. Forest reserves are usually established as a contract-based model with voluntary participation.

Further information

Evaluation Natural forest reserves exist in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, for example, where they are well-established as contributions to nature conservation. Information can be obtained from the relevant authorities and various nature conservation organisations.
Information Switzerland: e.g. St. Gallen's forest reserve strategy:

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