German Forest Protection Association

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Protection Association of German Forests
purpose Protection of the forest
Chair: Wolfgang von Geldern
Establishment date: 1947
Number of members: 25,000
Seat : Bonn

The Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald e. V. ( SDW ) is a nature conservation association that is committed to protecting forests. She is active in a wide range of areas, including youth work, environmental projects and public relations.


The German Forest Protection Association was founded on December 5, 1947 in the Bad Honnef district of Rhöndorf in the Hotel Wolkenburg . In the first post-war years, large parts of the German forest were cut down by the victorious powers of the Second World War as reparations . The SDW had set itself the goal of reforestation of the forest. Later, the new focus was on educating people about the value of the forest. At the initiative of the SDW, on April 25, 1952, the “1. Day of the Tree ”, on which the importance of trees and forests is emphasized through plantings and events. On that day, the then Federal President Theodor Heuss planted a maple tree in Bonn's Hofgarten together with the founding president of the SDW, Federal Interior Minister Robert Lehr . The SDW built youth forest homes, organized forest youth games and founded school forests. After reunification, the SDW set about saving the old avenues of the new federal states. The newly formed SDW regional associations mapped the natural monuments and the federal association developed the Deutsche Alleenstrasse together with the ADAC and other associations . In 2015, the SDW started the project to plant standardized trees in around 11,000 municipalities in Germany , with the first three trees planted in Bonn in 2015 on the 25th anniversary of reunification under the patronage of Angela Merkel.

organization structure

The Federal Association of the German Forest Protection Association consists of 15 regional associations, which are divided into district and local associations. All levels participate in hearings and statements in accordance with Chapter 8 (Participation of associations) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act for environmentally-related projects. These and all other activities are carried out on a voluntary basis.

The SDW is a member of the German Nature Conservation Ring .

goals and tasks

Instead of monoculture , the SDW promotes mixed forests.

The SDW has set itself the goal of bringing people closer to understanding the importance of the forest, informing them about the condition and threats to the forest and supporting scientific research on forest protection. Their tasks include the maintenance of the land and extensive public relations. “In its work, the German Forest Protection Association is particularly concerned with operating a consensus-based environmental and nature protection, i. H. to look for feasible ways of finding sustainable solutions to problems with partners from politics, business and associations. In the opinion of the SDW, the necessary balance between society and ecology must not be neglected. Sustainable action in accordance with Agenda 21 is the focus both globally and locally. "


In addition to membership fees and donations, numerous sponsors support the work of the German Forest Protection Association. Promoted the SDW is through the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture .

Areas of activity

Forest education

With its activities, the SDW tries to sensitize children to the forest from kindergarten age. The state, district and local associations offer forest excursions, handicraft afternoons, forest youth games, forest adventure days for the whole family and activities in the various “ houses of the forest ” and forest schools. The SDW has built school forests and forest youth homes and developed the idea of ​​forest youth games. In Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's least forested federal state, there are now over 250 school forests used for school lessons. The diverse forest pedagogy of the SDW is reflected today in mobile forest schools, sponsored forests, forest educational trails , forest kindergartens and other activities.

Members of the forest youth during identification exercises .

Forest youth games

The forest youth games developed by the SDW have been an important pillar of forest education for years. They are usually carried out in cooperation with municipalities and forest offices (also known as “forest rallies” or “forest olympics”). On an approximately two kilometer long course with 10 to 15 stations, the children and young people can use skill, observation and detective skills to solve certain tasks that arise in connection with the forest ecosystem. The focus is on the third and fourth grades in primary school. In recent years, more than 350,000 schoolchildren have taken part in the forest youth games, which are usually organized in cooperation with foresters, forest youth or other forest experts.

Youth forest homes and forest schools

Since 1948 there have been youth forest homes where school classes spend a week in the forest. You get to know the forest habitat, help with forest maintenance and learn a lot about forestry. These youth forest operations helped reforest the destroyed forests in the first few years. Today they are a modern environmental education facility and are used by all types of school as an extracurricular learning location . In 1998 the oldest German youth forest home (near Walkenried in the southern Harz region) celebrated its 50th anniversary. There are now 42 youth forest homes and over 40 forest schools in the Federal Republic of Germany that are run by the SDW or local forest authorities.

Forest schools complement the range of youth forest homes. School classes or kindergartens can spend half a day or a full day in the forest with professional guidance. The teachers choose the focus and the trained forest educators bring the children closer to the forest through direct experience and personal discovery. Mobile forest schools that come to a forest near the school or kindergarten are also used. These expanded transporters have everything you need for the educational organization of the day, for example an integrated small forest exhibition, a small laboratory, magnifying glasses, examination equipment, identification books and material for handicrafts.

Forest youth members attaching a bat reintroduction box

Forest youth

The youth organization of the SDW is the German Forest Youth (DWJ). It is the oldest environmental protection youth association in Germany. It was founded in 1957 by Klaus Gundelach and is represented in Germany by around 400 local groups. The DWJ wants its young members to understand the need for an intact nature. Every year since 1975 the DWJ has awarded the Klaus Gundelach Prize to groups or individuals of the German Forest Youth for outstanding achievements.

Relevant activities of the SDW

In addition to rescuing the avenues in the new federal states, the German Forest Protection Association is currently active in numerous areas of nature conservation.

Green table

In 1992 the SDW set up a “Green Round Table ” to promote forest protection. Environmental and nature conservation associations and representatives from politics, business, science and society are involved. Among other things, statements on topics such as “Forests and traffic”, “Forests and energy” and “Forests and agriculture” were drawn up and passed on to the politically responsible.

"Tree of the Year" Board of Trustees

The SDW is a member of the Tree of the Year Board of Trustees and is involved in the annual selection of the tree. She also endeavors to naturally resettle trees that have been displaced from the forests by newer silviculture methods, such as the yew tree .

Save the chestnuts

On the 2nd weekend in November every year, the German Forest Protection Association calls for the day of action “Save the chestnuts”. Chestnut trees suffer from the horse chestnut leaf miner, which eats its way through the leaves shortly after they have sprouted, so that they dry up in the summer months. The only antidote is to collect the leaves completely and then burn the leaves. Numerous municipalities nationwide support this campaign. In November 2008 the first central event of the nationwide “Day of the Chestnut” was held in Uetersen . According to estimates by the SDW, around two hundred million larvae were destroyed in this action, which involved around five hundred helpers. At the same time, similar actions took place in over four hundred cities and towns.

Position papers

The federal association prepares position papers, for example the “Statement of the Protection Association of German Forests on the topic of land consumption in Germany” or “10 demands for a future-oriented forest and wood industry”.

Tree of the year 2006 - Real black poplars are often crooked and have a bizarre bark structure.

Publicity campaigns

On special occasions, for example when the black poplar was proclaimed “Tree of the Year” in 2006, the SDW starts publicity campaigns, including with leaflets. A leaflet called Nature of the Year , published regularly every year, has a circulation of 22,500 copies. Press information about campaigns is available on the website or via a press subscription.

Golden fir

The "Golden Fir Tree" is a recognition of the German Forest Protection Association, with which people are honored who have made a contribution to the protection of the forest and its future security. The previous winners:

2004: Free State of Saxony
2005: Free State of Saxony
2006: Peter Hauk , Minister for Nutrition and Rural Areas in Baden-Württemberg
2008: Angela Merkel , Federal Chancellor
2009: County of Bentheim
2010: Ilse Aigner , Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
2011: Christine Lieberknecht , Prime Minister Thuringia
2012: Karl-Josef Meiwes (NW-FVA Göttingen) and Klaus von Wilpert ( FVA Baden-Württemberg )
2013: Hermann Onko Aeikens , Minister for Agriculture and Environment of the State of Saxony-Anhalt
2014: Georg Schirmbeck , President of the German Forestry Council
2015: Klaus Töpfer , former UN Under-Secretary-General and Federal Environment Minister
2016:  Cajus Julius Caesar
2017:  Philipp Freiherr zu Guttenberg
2018: Alois Gerig , Chairman of the Committee on Food and Agriculture in the German Bundestag
2019: Reinhold Jost , Minister for Environment and Consumer Protection in Saarland


  • Since 1950 the SDW has published its own association and specialist journal entitled Our Forest . It emerged from the newspaper “Green Leaf”. The periodical appears every two months with a print run of 10,000 copies. Between 2007 and 2009, our forest was occasionally published as a joint edition together with the federal journal of the German Forest Youth.
  • The SDW publishes numerous brochures, building instructions for bird nesting boxes, leaflets and leaflets, for example on "Diversity of life - biodiversity in our forest", "Forest and art - get creative with wood and trees", "On the trail of nature" or "Man and Tree, Customs - Fairy Tales - Myths".
  • Book publications in the editorship of the SDW:
    • Klaus Hamann: Handbook for the nature conservation practitioner . Pro Business, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-939000-95-2 ;
    • Hartmut Tauchnitz: Trees are friends. The importance of trees for our life and our culture . SDW Münster, Münster 2005;
    • Michael Heupel: Natural forest research in Saarland using the example of the Hoxfels natural forest cell . SDW Lvb Saarland, Research Center Forest Ecosystems, Göttingen 2002;
    • Eugen Rauner: The forest, its trees and bushes . SDW Lvb Bayern, Munich 2000;
    • Kathrin Saudhoff u. a .: With children in the forest. Forest experience manual. Planning, organization and design . SDW Lvb Lower Saxony, Ökotopia, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-931902-25-0 ;
    • Kurt G. Blüchel : Tropical rainforest - the Garden of Eden must not die . Pro-Terra books, Munich 1996.

Presidents of the SDW

Bernhard Vogel was President of the SDW from 1980 to 1984 .

The presidents of the SW are traditionally well-known politicians from the CDU or the CSU :

See also


  • Konstantin Groß : Chronicle for the 50th anniversary of the German Forest Protection Association . District Association Mannheim, Grall, Mannheim 2006, ISBN 3-9810851-1-6 .
  • Richard Seeger: Experience-oriented learning in schools and adult education with a special focus on forest pedagogy . GRIN Verlag, Munich 2003, ISBN 978-3-638-94289-8 .
  • Our forest . Anniversary issue: 60 years of active protection . No. 4, July / August, Bonn 2007.
  • Astrid Mignon Kirchhof: Do not harm the forest, it is home to the most beautiful dress. Foundation and development of the German Forest Protection Association . In: Breymayer, Ursula; Ulrich, Bernd (ed.), Under Trees. The Germans and the forest . Exhibition catalog of the German Historical Museum , Dresden 2011, ISBN 978-3-942422-70-3 , pp. 250–255.

Web links

Individual evidence

  2. Tree roads . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of July 28, 2005.
  6. ^ Protection Association of German Forests: Member of the DNR.
  7. SDW website.
  9. Markus Barth: Forest Education and Perception of Forest and Nature. Cultural conditions of nature conservation and environmental education against the background of changing social relationships with nature . Master's thesis, Berlin 2007.
  10. ^ Karl-August Bottler: Forest Youth Games . A document from the German Forest Protection Association, Rhineland-Palatinate regional association. Obermoschel 1997.
  11. ^ Anne Kohlert: Evaluation of institutions for forest-related environmental education in the forest and wood cluster in North Rhine-Westphalia with special consideration of their structures and services . Diploma thesis, Münster 2007.
  12. Wolfgang Hegemeister : ... that is the forest youth . Catch 61. Hemer 1999.
  13. Berliner - save your chestnuts . In: Berliner Zeitung of October 12, 2002.
  14. Uetersen: 200 million leaf miners destroyed. (No longer available online.) November 10, 2008 ;Formerly in the original .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives );@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  15. a b c d e f g h i Sabine Krömer-Butz: PROJECTS - Golden Fir Tree - The Golden Fir Tree. Retrieved August 19, 2018 .
  16. SDW-Ehrenpreis Goldene Fir to Grafschaft Bentheim . In: . November 20, 2009 ( [accessed August 19, 2018]).
  17. Forest liming e. V .: 141201 Golden Fir 2014 . In: Forest Liming - . ( [accessed August 19, 2018]).
  18. Forest liming e. V .: 150324 Golden Fir 2015 . In: Forest Liming - . ( [accessed August 19, 2018]).
  19. ^ SDW eV: SDW: Goldene Tanne to Alois Gerig MdB. In: Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald, November 23, 2018, accessed on December 29, 2019 .
  20. ^ SDW eV: SDW: Golden Fir Tree for the Saarland Forest / Reinhold Jost honored with an honorary award for securing the future of the forest for his commitment. In: Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald, November 27, 2019, accessed on December 29, 2019 .