German Hiking Institute
Hiking and nature conservation
The German Hiking Institute considers it a central task to promote research on all aspects of hiking and to conduct its own studies. For this purpose, the institute cooperates not only with various universities and technical colleges, national parks, and nature reserves, but also with tourism associations and regional contacts.
In addition to research on general issues, such as the preferences and wishes of hikers, the demographic profile or annually changing key topics (e.g., 'wind energy'), one focus is on the subject of „hiking and nature conservation“.
Especially in recent years, there has been an increasing need for research in this area, as hiking trails in "Natura2000" areas or in the vicinity of FFH species lead to uncertainty among locally responsible nature conservation authorities and associations.
„Experiencing nature“ is the main reason for hikers to go on a hike. This is confirmed by research performed by the German Hiking Institute:
- 95.9% of the respondents stated that "experiencing nature" is the main reason for hiking
- the experiencing of nature is given even higher priority than, for example, "moving, being active" (84%) or "doing something for your health" (65.2%)
- almost half of the respondents (44.6%) gave an "interest in plants/animals" as the reason for the hike
- the (beautiful) "landscape/nature" is the most important criterion for the selection of a hiking region
Hikers thus present themselves as a section of population that has a very positive relationship with nature. The studies also show that this is true for all ages: the experiencing of nature is also the top priority for younger hikers.
"Experiencing nature", "observing animals and plants", "being in nature" - this automatically expands the knowledge of nature, the feeling for landscapes, for different habitats, and for the diversity of animal and plant life. From here, it is only a small step to get hikers enthusiastic about nature conservation. Hiking in nature therefore also makes an important contribution to nature education.
The German Hiking Institute presents all relevant information on the subject of "Hiking and Nature Conservation" on the website www.wandern-naturschutz.de (in German only). There, you will find background information as well as current research results.
In addition, www.wandern-naturschutz.de gives interested hikers the opportunity to find out which nature can be experienced on which Premium Hiking Trails. Extensive explanations of the various habitats with their typical plants and animals are also available on this website.
„Hiking and nature conservation“
www.wandern-naturschutz.de (in German only)