A delegation from the European Life Défense Nature 2mil project visited Germany from 16 to 20 November 2015, at the American military bases in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels (US Army in Europe - USAREUR).
The aim for the French delegation, consisting of military personnel and naturalists, was to hold discussions with the American military and its German partners on conserving biodiversity at their camps.
For Serge, from the South-East Zone Defence Staff, in charge of the Life Défense project in France: "We share a common problem with the US army: combining our military activities with the conservation of biodiversity in our bases. As with our military bases in France, the zones at the Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr camps have Natura 2000 and LIFE accreditations."
Concerned with best preserving their training areas and maintaining good relations with their German host nation, the US army began developing a programme for the sustainable management of their bases in the 1970s. For Perrine Paris-Sidibe, manager of the Life Défense project at the Conservatoire d'espaces naturels Rhône-Alpes : "Our sit-down discussions and field visits have allowed us to tackle the management of environmental constraints at these bases: ecological restoration and compensatory measures, raising awareness of the environment among military personnel..."
The discussions have been very fruitful. The American army has also been invited to the Life Défense Nature 2mil international seminar in June 2016, along with other European delegations.
Launched in October 2012, Life Défense Nature 2mil is the first European project to focus on biodiversity at French military sites. Carried out over 4 years (2012-2016), with specific funding from the European Union and the Ministry of Defence, it sets out actions for the restoration and conservation of habitats for endangered species in 4 military sites in the south east of France, adapted to the ongoing military activities at these sites.
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