Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2022

6 Transcending the Cold War: Borders, Nature, and the European Green Belt Conservation Project along the Former Iron Curtain

From the book Greening Europe

  • Astrid M. Eckert and Pavla Š Šimková


This chapter highlights the connections between borders and the natural environment, taking the European Green Belt as an example. It highlights the project’s dual origins along the Finnish-Russian and the inter-German border. The authors argue that the opportunities for nature protection provided by the end of the Cold War and the subsequent push for European integration are best understood if considered alongside a parallel paradigm shift in nature conservation itself: a move towards the creation of ecological networks and corridors that required transboundary cooperation. This chapter addresses this synchronism in a case study of transboundary conservation along the Czech, German, and Austrian borders, focusing on the national parks of the Bavarian Forest/Šumava and Thayatal/Podyji´. The European Green Belt ‘invented’ neither transboundary collaboration nor ecological networks, but its symbolic valence as a profoundly European space, both in historical and political terms, has made it a prime example of these approaches and has helped popularize them.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
Downloaded on 26.9.2023 from
Scroll to top button