Vollhoefner Forest to become Hamburg's 38th nature reserve

11 August 2023
Sludge pond near port designated nature reserve - other areas made available for use in port

The Ministry for the Environment announced Monday (August 3, 2023) plans to designate a former sludge pond in Vollhoefner Weiden as Vollhoefner Forest making it Hamburg's 38th nature reserve. The announcement comes after a decision by the senate in June. The 74-hectare area near the port is home to many animal and plant species worthy of protection. The area will be used for wind turbines in future. Other areas similar in size will be made available for use in the port.

Plans foresee new wind turbines

"The 'Voelli' will remain in place as Hamburg's 38th nature reserve. This decision ends a long struggle for this unique little primeval forest, which will remain home to many endangered animal and plant species in future," said Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment. Nature conservation comes first, he stressed. Land will be exchanged instead of expanding the port area. Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator for Economics, said: "The agreement to swap land means we are securing an area near the port for the environment and preserving the overall area needed for the port. We can use sites to generate renewable energy on the territory of Hamburg.” Five new sites for wind turbines will be developed in the port to boost climate protection and the energy transition, Kerstan added.

Forest home to endangered plants and animals 

The area must be released from port use before it can be designated as a nature conservation area. An amended port planning ordinance foresees compensation from port logistical uses and the construction of new wind turbines as the area borders the Altenwerder Container Terminal. The feasibility of setting up wind turbines there is also to be examined. Both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry for Economics are working on implementing the plans. Almost all of the areas in the future nature reserve were designated "valuable" and "particularly valuable" in the 2019 biotope mapping, and one alluvial forest area was even designated "highly valuable". Endangered  plant species such as river-grass weed and the marsh goose thistle grow in Vollhoefner Forest. Endangered animals such as the mud whip, the pouched tit and various bat species also live in the complex biotope structure.


Sources and further information

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