- Ausgabe 03/2000
Nature Policy, Large Ecosystems
in a Small and Crowded Country
and the Role Large Herbivores can Play:
Challenges For Future!
H. Kampf, Wageningen / Niederlande
About the Dutch nature policy
Policy Plan 1990
I would like to look at the way in which Dutch nature policy has
been developed. In 1990 the first Dutch Nature Policy Plan was
voted in by our Parliament. Its objective was to design an Ecological
Network, composed of core areas and nature development areas,
and to aim at higher nature values on farms, military sites, recreation
areas, and so on. The Network would also include ecological corridors
connecting the various areas.
of you who visited some of the nature areas in the Netherlands
may have got an idea of the difficulties involved. We are a small
country with a strong economy, and a growing population of 460
people per square kilometre. It is the most densely populated
country in the world.
areas and forests in our country have declined from 900,000 to
about 450,000 hectares over the last century. Thats down
to 2500 square metres for every Dutch person, but this also includes
large municipal areas without any nature at all.
is not much, especially not for a country that is making a transition
from an agricultural and industrial economy into a service and
knowledge-based economy. If the Netherlands wants to attract highly
skilled labour, we have to compete with countries such as Switzerland
with its beautiful mountains, or Denmark with its friendly open
landscape, the flowers in the fields, forests, dunes and shorelines.
1990 Nature Policy Plan aimed at variety and diversity in nature,
with as an example lots of - breeding and migrating - birds. We
wanted to increase the land for nature development from 450,000
hectares to at least 700,000 ha over a period of 30 years. This
is to include 100,000 ha for extra nature reserves, 50,000 ha
for nature development and more than 100,000 ha for nature management
on farms. You can see from this diagram (Fig. 1) that the downward-sloping
line is turning upwards.
national ecological network is based on existing nature areas
and forests. Dutch nature will expand from this base. To decide
where and how this expansion should take place, the following
three-track approach was developed:
provide more room for naturalness
expand the target types in the "natural" categories
is passive, i.e. only directed at improving ecological processes
give more support to semi-natural nature;
do more to support biodiversity
involve nature managers and farmers
improve the quality of nature in other areas
improve, enlarge and connect nature areas
seek co-operation with other policy areas such as defence, recreation,
this three-track framework we can make decisions and resolve conflicts
between two different lines of thinking:
based on natural principles (wilderness nature) versus
based on historic developments (such as former types of agriculture).
Dutch Nature Conservation Act requires that an evaluation of our
national nature policy plan take place every eight years. The
1998 evaluation showed that we were successful in:
up the ecological network,
woodland areas around the big cities,
progress in the fight against the negative influence of acidification,
nitrification, and drying out.
it also showed where the realisation of our nature policy gave
efforts achieved too little, too late;
prices were continuously rising;
environmental quality aimed at had not been achieved;
zones connecting the nature areas had not come off the ground;
government wanted quantitative results rather than qualitative
on nature, forestry, landscape and biodiversity were becoming
more and more complex and were not sufficiently implemented.
biodiversity is declining, nature is still far away for people
in the cities and the number of species and ecosystems is still
Nature for people, people for nature
July 2000, a new memorandum - was submitted to Parliament. It
is called Nature for people, people
for nature, with the subtitle "Nature, Forest and Landscape
in 21st century" (NBL21, Natuur, Bos, Landschap in de 21e
eeuw, see Fig. 3).
policy memorandum, which is a cornerstone of the 5th Memorandum
on Spatial Planning and the 4th National Environmental
Policy Plan, works out in detail the following policy plans:
Nature Policy Plan from 1990,
Landscape Memorandum from 1994,
Forest Policy Plan (1992)
Strategic Action Plan for Biodiversity.
has been chosen, from the viewpoint, that forest, landscape, biodiversity
are all part of the ecological system. A policy, directed on segregation
seems less profitable to us.
the same time, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management
and Fisheries published the Voedsel en Groen memorandum
(Food Production and Rural Areas), which considers the quality
of food production and the quality of rural areas. The two memoranda
form the policy framework for our rural areas for the next 10
are our ambitions (major themes) now?
want an environment that is pleasant to live and work in (liveability)
want effective protection for plants, animals and characteristic
want the sustainable use of vital resources like water, space
and biodiversity (wise use).
the basis of this the government has the following objective for
our nature policy:
rehabilitation, development and sustainable use of nature
and landscape, as an essential contribution to a liveable
and sustainable society.
main objective must be seen in an international context and must
emphatically also be seen as a cultural challenge. What it means
is that nature and landscape must be for the people and of the
government wants to:
continue to work on the realisation of the ecological network,
which fits in the Natura 2000 policy
adopt an active approach to landscape conservation and development
work on high-quality rural zones around cities
ensure an effective international nature policy
objectives translate into five perspectives for a more natural
Netherlands in 2020. These are:
increasing efforts to integrate international nature policy.
strengthening the national ecological network
making best use of opportunities available here in the Netherlands
enhancing the quality of rural areas by involving farmers as
stewards of biological diversity.
creating green zones in and around the cities.