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Biodiversity Day 2020: Discover nature in Bonn

On 22 May, the Day of Biodiversity is celebrated all over the world, this year under the motto „Our solutions are in nature“.

Due to the pandemic, the central day of action in the Botanical Gardens on Sunday, May 24, 2020, had to be cancelled, but Bonn's nature reserves, parks and green spaces still invite visitors to make special discoveries about nature.

Around 60 percent of Bonn's urban area is under nature and landscape protection. In addition, there are other green areas such as green strips or cemeteries. Bonn is a city shaped by nature in the cityscape, offering a wide range of opportunities for experiencing nature and spending leisure time out in nature - from the Ennert to the Kottenforst, from the Siegaue to the Südfriedhof, from the orchard to the lizard rock. It is therefore not surprising that "Natural Resources and Environment" is one of the six fields of action of the Sustainability Strategy of the City of Bonn, which was adopted in 2019.

Mayor Sridharan, who as President of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability is also involved in the international biodiversity debate, said on the occasion of Biodiversity Day:

"The diversity of species and habitats is the basis of life for humankind and especially for cities. For us in Bonn, forests, parks and floodplains offer space for recreation, sports and leisure activities - also and especially during the Corona pandemic. I am glad and grateful for the gift of nature on our doorstep and, together with many other cities in the world. I am committed to preserving nature in the city and making its many benefits visible."

Sridharan also explained that this was why the City of Bonn forms part of ICLEI's "Cities with Nature" programme and is currently participating as a member of the Global Advocacy Alliance for Biodiversity in Cities and Regions in the online consultations on a new global action plan for cities and regions to be adopted at the next World Conservation Conference in Kunming, China, in 2021.

Wild herbs and perennials instead of lawns

Last year, the City of Bonn was awarded the "Stadtgrün naturnah" label in silver. The certification was preceded by an extensive inventory of the measures taken to date in the management of green spaces and forests. An essential element is the so-called "extensive cultivation of areas". This means, for example, that mowing is carried out less frequently and native wild herbs and perennials are planted instead of green lawns. Anyone currently looking around the Bad Godesberg municipal park, the Hubertinumshof, the Windeck bunker or the banks of the Rhine below the Beethovenhalle will discover new mixed perennial plantings.
At the Südfriedhof cemetery, it is particularly easy to see how piles of deadwood and insect hotels provide habitats for insects. In Bonn's Kottenforst, which is already certified according to the criteria of both the Naturland association and the (Bonn-based) Forest Stewardship Council, the City will plant 25,000 new trees by 2022. This project and the environmental education activities are also part of the "Trees in Cities Challenge" of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). More information on the award and the award-winning projects in Bonn can be found at:

Thematic focus on forests

In recent years, it has gradually been possible to replace large parts of the spruce monocultures with mixed forest of site-appropriate varieties, which are the habitat of many animal and insect species. In addition, trees that allow for a special species richness are marked and preserved as so-called "woodpecker trees". If you walk attentively through the Kottenforst, you will discover one or the other such tree there.
This year the forest is a special focus in Bonn. At the headquarters of the European Forest Institute EFI, the European Forest Conference will take place in autumn. In view of the pandemic, the planned series of events "Bonn Forest Talks" is only available online for the time being. For details, visit:

Biodiversity in the city

The Lower Nature Conservation Authority hopes to offer lectures again from September onwards in cooperation with the Adult Education Center under the series "Biological Diversity in the City". On the newly created "Biodiversity Education Trail", Bonn's citizens can get to know inner-city natural habitats and their inhabitants, who live in tree hollows, walls or enclosures.
And even the youngest children can - if the pandemic so allows - plant their own plants in the "Blossoms for Insects" project and experience how their flower bed becomes a popular insect habitat. During a family walk, by the way, small insect islands like these can be found all over the city, lovingly tended by bed sponsors as part of the initiative "Bonn blooms and hums". Further information is available here:

Biodiversity research in Bonn

The current motto for this year’s Biodiversity Day "Our solutions are in nature" can also be confirmed by science. Not only do we owe our medicines, but also a wide range of technologies to nature. Coatings, for example, make use of the natural properties of plants that repel dirt. By the way, this so-called lotus effect was discovered long ago by scientists at the Nees Institute for Plant Biodiversity at the University of Bonn.
Bonn, the German City of the United Nations, home to the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES), has an established platform for biodiversity research. This includes the BION network, to which the City of Bonn also belongs. Many of the BION members, such as the Botanical Gardens of the University of Bonn (currently open to a limited extent) or the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (currently only providing online offers), are combining their scientific work with interesting offers for young and old.
Nature as a solution – this also applies to our diet. In 2019, the City of Bonn became a member of the Biocities Initiative to promote organic food production. Since then, the share of organic food has been steadily increasing in all municipal facilities, including, for example, local retirement homes.
Further information on biodiversity and species protection in Bonn is available at:

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