Natural monument

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Information sign natural monument on the trunk of the Ginkgo in Rödelheim in Frankfurt am Main
The fountain park in Hofgeismar is designated as an extensive natural monument
Natural monument 350-year-old oak on the Platnersberg in Nuremberg (2017)

A natural monument is a naturally created landscape element that is placed under nature protection. It can be a single standing or occurring structure like a rock needle or a single standing tree, of undefined size like a cave or an area or structure with a limited area and a clear demarcation from its surroundings like a rock garden or a meadow; the latter are called surface exemplary natural monument or area natural monument called.



Designation of a natural monument in Austria according to the Reich Nature Conservation Act 1935

The natural monument - a term that Alexander von Humboldt uses in the description of his American trip "Relation historique": "monuments de la nature", but the term "natural monument" could not be found in dictionaries or encyclopedias before 1900 - is often referred to as the creation of nature , but can at the same time be a witness of the historical cultural landscape (striking individual trees or outcrops with special geological formations).

As early as 1904, Hugo Conwentz had written a memorandum entitled The Endangerment of Natural Monuments and Suggestions for Their Preservation , which he submitted to the Ministry of Spiritual, Educational and Medical Affairs.

IUCN category: Natural Monument or Feature

In the protected area system of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources  (IUCN) created in 1978 , which serves as an international benchmark, Natural Monument or Feature (mostly natural monument in German ) forms category  III .

“Protected areas set aside to protect a specific natural monument, which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave, or even a living feature such as an ancient grove. They are generally quite small protected areas and often have high visitor value. "

“Areas that protect special natural phenomena, such as a terrain formation , an underwater mountain , an underwater cave , a geotope like a cave or even a living structure like an old grove. These areas are mostly quite small and attract a lot of visitors. "

As with all IUCN categories, the focus of the classification is on the design of the protection goal and management (measures of interventions and prohibitions). They are not designed to preserve ecosystems , but biodiversity is indirectly promoted. It is also a class that can also be identified in densely built-up areas, for example, and can therefore protect natural remains. Otherwise, however, natural monuments are particularly considered to be “ambassadors” of the environmental concept, as they are a very impressive representation of the diversity of protected assets (hence the German term monument ). In contrast to national parks, for example, the idea of ​​recreation takes a back seat and the didactic purpose comes to the fore.

IUCN Category III includes natural monuments of Central European character, but also numerous other protected areas in nature and landscape protection as a whole class or individual objects to be protected, depending on the national protection goal and extent.



In Germany, the protection of natural monuments is anchored in Section 28 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act and the state nature conservation laws. According to this, legally binding individual creations of nature ( natural structures ) or corresponding areas of up to 5 hectares ( area natural monuments ) are protected, provided that their protection is necessary because of their rarity , uniqueness or beauty or for scientific, natural history or geographical reasons. The protection means a far-reaching prohibition of changes which, like the respective subject matter and purpose of protection, is determined in more detail by legal ordinances on the basis of the respective national law.

Natural monuments that had previously been placed under protection under GDR law were transferred in 1990 subject to a new regulation. Therefore, there may be deviations in the federal states concerned, for example significantly larger natural landmarks.


In Japan, animals, plants, geological formations and nature reserves can be declared natural monuments ( 天然 記念 物 , Tennen Kinenbutsu ). The classification takes place in contrast to the cultural monument ( 文化 記念 物 , Bunka Kinenbutsu ), which is created by people in the context of cultural activities. In Japan, the official classification of natural monuments takes place according to the Cultural Property Protection Act and the cultural property protection provisions of the local authorities ( 地方自治 体 ). Appointments are made by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology , and classification is made by the Office of Cultural Affairs . The appointment as a natural monument can be increased by one appointment level and thus also in the appreciation by adding “special natural monument”. The idea of ​​protecting natural monuments goes back to Western models, especially Germany, Switzerland and America, and, unlike in western latitudes, also includes living beings.

The Japanese term for natural monument "Tennen Kinenbutsu" goes back to a suggestion by the botanist Miyoshi Manabu ( 三 好学 , 1862–1939) of the Imperial University of Tokyo . It is an analog replica of the German term "natural monument" by Alexander von Humboldt . In an essay from 1906 on the need to protect old trees from deforestation, he introduced the idea of ​​preserving natural monuments in Japan and deepened it a year later with two other writings in which he already used the term "Tennen Kinenbutsu". In 1911 he submitted an application for the preservation of natural monuments, scenic places and historical sites in the Japanese House of Lords , which in 1919 passed the "Law for the Preservation of Historic Places, Scenic Places and Natural Monuments" and anchored the protection administratively. In 1933 the system for the preservation of natural monuments was also continued in Korea and Taiwan , which were under Japanese rule, and after the war until today. In 1950 the 1919 law was abolished in favor of the Cultural Property Protection Act.

Currently (as of July 29, 2014) 1012 natural monuments have been declared, including 75 as “special natural monuments”.

see: List of special natural monuments of Japan


In Austria, natural structures, special individual trees or groups of trees, rocks, caves and waterfalls can be declared natural monuments by the district administrative authority due to their peculiarity, beauty, rarity or their special character, their scientific or cultural significance . The objects are registered by the nature conservation departments of the state governments and are marked with boards with state coats of arms. They are defined in the state nature conservation laws, since nature conservation is a matter for the states, and they are available in all nine federal states.

In addition to the natural monument class, IUCN Category III also includes mostly protected parts of the landscape and various special classes at the state level, such as protected natural structures  (Salzburg), natural monuments of local importance  (Vorarlberg) or local natural monuments  (Carinthia), and various ex lege protection (not Explicitly designated natural structures that are principally under protection), such as cave protection (if there are accessible show caves , otherwise the public is prohibited from entering, which means they fall into a higher protection category), or the tree protection ordinance (City of Salzburg, for all trees of a certain age / Trunk diameter).


In Switzerland, the Federal Act on Nature Conservation and Heritage Protection  (NHG) is authoritative and the objects to be protected are listed in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance  (BLN).


In Serbia , so-called protected areas ( Serbian zaštićeno područje ) are divided into six categories:

  • National park ( nacionalni park )
  • Nature park ( park prirode )
  • Nature reserve ( rezervat prirode )
  • Natural monuments ( spomenik prirode )
  • Protective biotopes ( zaštićeno stanište )
  • Areas of exceptional quality ( predeo izuzetnih odlika )

This is understood to mean holistic areas that exhibit a specific geological, biological or ecosystem-relevant diversity. In particular, the designation as a natural monument is accompanied by the ban on changing even parts of the monument. Natural monuments can be of geological, geomorphological , speleological , hydrological or botanical origin and are appointed by the responsible Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning ( ministarstvo životne sredine i prostornog planiranja ). In Serbia there are five national parks, 13 nature parks, 74 nature reserves, 78 natural monuments, 3 protection biotopes and 28 areas of exceptional quality.

See also


sorted alphabetically by author

  • Ernst-Rainer Hönes: On the protection of natural monuments - around 100 years of natural monument preservation . In: Die Gartenkunst  16 (2/2004), pp. 193–242.
  • Anette Lenzing: The concept of the natural monument in Germany . In: Die Gartenkunst 15 (1/2003), pp. 4–27.
  • Reinhard Piechocki: Keyword: natural monument. In: Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau 59 (4), pp. 233-234 (2006), ISSN  0028-1050
  • Rudolf Schröder: Dedication of natural tree monuments - a serious threat to designated trees. In: Announcements of the Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz eV 1/2019, pp. 48–52

Web links

Commons : Natural Monuments  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Natural monument  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. The basis for the appointment are the "Regulations for the Appointment of Natural Monuments, Scenic Places and Historical Places, the Regulations for the Appointment of Special Historical Places and Natural Monuments and the Regulations for the Appointment as Important Cultural Property and National Treasure " ( 「国宝 及 び 重要 文化 財 指定 基準並 び に 特別 史跡 名勝 天然 記念 物 及 び 史跡 名勝 天然 記念 物 指定 基準 」 ) from 1951.
  2. Exact title of the article: 「名 木 の 伐 滅 幷 び に 其 保存 の 必要」 .
  3. The titles of the two writings are: 「天然 記念 物 保存 の 必要 竝 び に 其 保存 策 に 就 い て」 , for example: “The need to preserve natural monuments and a plan to preserve them” and 「自然物 の 保存 及 び 保護」 , for example: "Protection and preservation of nature".

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Reprint, ed. v. Hanno Beck, Stuttgart 1970, Volume 1, p. 617.
  2. German translation: "Journey into the equinoctial areas of the new continent", German v. Hermann Hauff, Volume 2, Stuttgart 1859, p. 199: "Natural monuments"
  3. Quote IUCN Protected Areas Categories System ,, accessed August 3, 2013;
    Translation Wikipedia, follows species protection: Natural monuments (IUCN Category III) ( Memento of September 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) ,, accessed August 3, 2013
  4. Species protection: Natural monuments (IUCN Category III) ( Memento from September 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) ,
  5. § 28 BNatSchG, Hessian Implementation Act for the Federal Nature Conservation Act (HAGBNatSchG) accessed on June 15, 2018
  6. Saxon Nature Conservation Act: Section 51 Transitions of Existing Protection Regulations , accessed on July 13, 2020
  7. 昭和 二十 六年 文化 財 保護 委員会 告示 第二 号 (国宝 及 び 重要 文化 財 指定 基準 並 び に 特別 史跡 史跡 名勝 天然 記念 物 及 び 史跡 名勝 天然 記念 物 指定 基準 . MEXT , accessed January 17, 2015 (Japanese).