from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The ecological and nature conservation term hemerobia is a measure of the overall impact of humans on natural ecosystems . The name, formed from the Greek words hémeros (tamed, cultivated) and bíos (life) and first used by biologists in Scandinavia at the beginning of the 20th century, can be translated as degree of cultivation . In the parlance of professional nature conservation , the hemerobia is reduced to the degree of naturalness of vegetation and used synonymously with the terms close to nature or distant from nature . However, if there are irreversible (or irreversible ) changes in location, it makes sense to differentiate between the concept of hemerobia and that of closeness to nature.

Near / far from nature

All boundaries are fluid: where does nature end and where does culture begin?

Naturalness / Nature remotely or naturalness is one of the key-criteria for ecologically sound square technical assessment of plant communities . This assessment is based on the fact that the juxtaposition of naturalness and unnaturalness or artificiality is not an absolute, but a relative one: in principle there are any number of degrees of naturalness and artificiality, which can also refer to different dimensions. As a result, there is no generally accepted definition of near / far from nature and it is controversial which indicators should be used to determine the degree of near / far nature. Therefore, there is a variety of different criteria and classifications. In relation to the (mostly determining) flora, the closeness to nature is derived as the difference between the actual and the (present-day) potentially natural vegetation of an ecosystem. For example, a scale from “very close to nature” to “culturally determined” is created. The definition takes place z. B. on the percentage of naturally occurring species. An area in which 100% of the species to be expected according to the potential natural vegetation occur would therefore be "very close to nature". A maize field, on the other hand, where you can still find a maximum of 10% of the species that would naturally live there, would be “culturally determined”. Biotope mapping is primarily used to obtain such results . With the nature conservation strategy of process protection one wants to achieve that (relatively) near-natural biotopes come closer to their potential natural state solely through natural succession .

Hemerobia system according to Jalas and Sukopp

For hemerobia as a disturbance of vegetation, the system according to Jaakko Jalas (1953, 1955) has prevailed in Central Europe, which was further developed in 1972 by Herbert Sukopp . Habitats and vegetation types are divided into the following scale (levels of hemerobia, degrees of hemerobia):

  • ahemerobic / natural (unaffected; Greek for "without")
  • oligohemerobic / near-natural (slightly influenced, such as very sparsely populated areas, arctic , deserts , high mountains ; Greek oligo "little")
  • mesohemerobic (~ semihemerobic) / semi-natural (moderately influenced, like sparsely populated cultural landscapes; meso "medium")
  • euhemerobic / remote from nature (strongly influenced, such as agricultural landscapes, settlements; eu "well-")
  • polyhemerobic (very strongly influenced, partially built-up areas, landfills; poly "a lot")
  • metahemerobic / alien (biocenosis largely destroyed: anthropotopes such as traffic areas, core areas of inner cities and vegetation-free industrial plants; meta "over (moderate)")

Global benchmark

In settlement geography , the terms ecumenism have existed for a long time for the permanently populated area, sub-ecumenism for the extensively used and only sporadically populated area, and anecumens for non-habitable areas. Comparative considerations of global ecosystems often operate on a reduced scale of hemerobia. The main focus in popular scientific presentations is the (striking) demarcation between wilderness and cultural landscape . Serious publications refer to various scientific studies. The comprehensive study Last of the wild - Version 2 , published in 2005 by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network ( CIESIN ) at Columbia University (New York), deserves a special mention here . Based on eight levels of hemerobia, referred to here as the “human footprint index ” (HFI ), the study arrives at a tripartite division of the terrestrial land surface into “ most wild ” (roughly core wilderness ), “ last of the wild” "(Approximately wilderness character ) and" least wild "(approximately residual wilderness ).

Degree of hemerobia in Germany

Share of naturally emphasized areas per municipality in Germany
Hemerobia in Germany 2010

Ahemerobic biotopes do not exist in Germany due to the extensive historical development of the cultural landscape, or only in special, small-scale exceptional cases. Some areas can be classified as oligohemerobic such as B. the high mountains of the Bavarian Alps and natural moors . The Wadden Sea and old, indigenous mixed beech forests with near-natural structures and species inventory can be viewed as meso- or semihemerobic . Five - albeit relatively small - beech forests were therefore recognized by UNESCO in 2011 as part of the European beech forest as a World Heritage Site . As a result of the data from the hemerobic indicators of the Monitor of Settlement and Open Space Development, around 33% of the land area of ​​Germany belongs to the three natural levels (ahemerobic to mesohemerobic) and 67% to the cultural levels (euhemerobic to metahemerobic).

See also


  • Wolfgang Frey, Rainer Lösch : Textbook of Geobotany. Plant and vegetation in space and time . 2nd Edition. Spectrum, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-8274-1193-9 , p. 39 .
  • Ingo Kowarik: Naturalness, closeness to nature and hemerobia as evaluation criteria . In: Otto Fränzle, Felix Müller, Winfried Schröder (Hrsg.): Handbook of Environmental Sciences - Fundamentals and Applications of Ecosystem Research . Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-527-32144-6 , VI-3.12, pp. 1-18 .

Web links

Wiktionary: natural  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Naturalness  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. See also: List of Greek word stems in German foreign words

Individual evidence

  1. a b The “good ecological status” of near-natural terrestrial ecosystems - an indicator of biodiversity? - Proceedings of the workshop in Dessau 19/20 September 2007 (PDF; 4.2 MB). Website of the Federal Environment Agency. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  2. Uta Eser: Nature protection and the foreign: Ecological and normative foundations of environmental ethics. Campus Research, 1999, ISBN 3-593-36250-3 .
  3. Manfred Haacks: Landscape ecology - vegetation studies comparative study of the Dove and Gose Elbe in Hamburg , diploma thesis, Department of Geosciences of the University of Hamburg Institute for Geography, Hamburg, 1998 (PDF; 22.3 MB). Author's website. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  4. Christian Stein and Ulrich Walz: Hemerobia as an indicator for area monitoring. Method development using the example of Saxony , nature conservation and landscape planning, 44 (2012) / 9: 261–266. (PDF; 1.1 MB)
  5. Dieter Birnbacher 2006: Naturalness. Berlin, de Gruyter; Dieter Birnbacher 2019: Naturalness . In: Kirchhoff, Thomas (Ed.): Online Encyclopedia Philosophy of Nature / Online-Lexikon Naturphilosophie. Heidelberg. Heidelberg University Library: doi: 10.11588 / oepn.12019.11580.65541.
  6. Stefan Klotz and Ingolf Kühn : Indicators of the anthropogenic influence on vegetation ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Series of publications for vegetation science, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, 2002 (PDF; 227 kB). BfN website. Retrieved February 23, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www2.ufz.de
  7. ^ Ulrich Walz and Christian Stein: Indicators of hemeroby for the monitoring of landscapes in Germany , Journal for Nature Conservation 22 (2014) 3, pp. 279–289. (PDF; 3.3 MB)
  8. Monitor of settlement and open space development, indicator "Proportion of natural areas in area" ( Memento of the original of September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Leibniz Institute for Ecological Spatial Development (IOER), 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ioer-monitor.de