Preservation of biodiversity hotspots in Central and Eastern Europe through sustainable regional development

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are of international importance for biodiversity conservation, and even of outstanding importance at the European level for the conservation of habitats and species. There we still find historic, extensively managed cultural landscapes (mountain meadows, hute forests) and primeval forests as well as valuable high mountain habitats. Via the European Green Belt, which also runs through the regions of Central and Eastern Europe, as many protected areas as possible are to be connected across borders in order to enable a Europe-wide networking of habitats and populations.

Involving local populations is an important prerequisite for better protecting these “biodiversity hotspots.” Beyond the mere transfer of knowledge that shows why these regions are so worthy of protection, potentials of a regional value creation must be opened up together. In this way, a sustainable development perspective for the local people can also be achieved.

This provides the framework for the DBU’s international funding in a project cluster on Biodiversity and regional developmentwhich combines the protection of important landscapes and regions with a systemic approach: Following an analysis of priority areas for action, projects are funded in which socio-economically and socio-ecologically viable concepts are tested together with local actors in the sense of assuming joint responsibility for a landscape (biosphere stewardship).


The regional focus of most projects is in the Romanian Carpathians and in the Western Balkans, especially in the border region of Northern Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo: Challenges in biodiversity conservation do not stop at national borders and in transnational projects additional challenges arise in developing common goals based on cooperation at eye level.


The following projects have been supported by the project cluster so far (please note that for now, the project descriptions are taken from the old DBU website; therefore, links in the project descriptions to other webpages may be incorrect):

Project examples CEE

Projects outside CEE

Lessons Learned

When funding (international) biodiversity projects, particular attention should be paid to the following points:

In cooperative projects at the national/transnational level, special attention should be paid to communication, capacity building, the development of shared responsibility for a landscape (biosphere stewardship), and sustainable development.