Our Philosophy on Wilderness

Wilderness, i.e., uncultivated nature that exists in and by itself, does not need humans but humans need wilderness, not at least as a guideline for their own moderation and humility. Wilderness presents an alternative to an increasingly urbanised world. When we experience untouched, intact nature we can find physical and mental well-being, artistic inspiration, and hope, but we can also gain a new respect for nature and find humility. In this sense the preservation of wilderness is not a mere luxury but a cultural responsibility of human society.


Wilderness is uncultivated, unpredictable nature. From the beginning of time it has both fascinated and intimidated mankind. Originally, all nature was wilderness. But over the millennia humans have transformed nature into cultural landscapes to such an extent that Europe has lost its wilderness. The few remaining semi-wild landscapes are seriously threatened. And along with them we stand to lose their specially adapted inhabitants, as well as their aesthetic appeal and soothing effect on the mind and body of human visitors. However, once humans cease their cultivation efforts, the long interrupted natural processes may start again, and new wilderness can develop.

 

The creation of parcels of 1,000 hectares where nature’s own dynamic processes are allowed to run their course – this is our goal for Germany in the next few years. We strive towards the establishment and preservation of a network of foundation-owned wilderness areas in combination with other, little disturbed habitats. We humans must develop a deep awareness not only of the permissibility but also the need for a sustainable utilisation of such newly created wilderness areas.

 

Our efforts in this respect are concentrated on areas in Northeast Germany, and on certain core habitats of Central Europe, such as beech forests and peatland landscapes.