Prof. Dr. Hannes Knapp - Member of the Board

Prof. Dr. Hannes Knapp
© Peter Schmenger

Prof. Dr. Hannes Knapp, a geobotanist and landscape ecologist born in Rügen, is closely connected to EuroNatur for many years already, first by acting as a member of the EuroNatur Board of Trustees, and since 2016 as a member of the board. Protecting Europe’s last old-growth beech forests is among his heartfelt wishes. Hannes Knapp has been instrumental in making valuable beech forests in Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia UNESCO World Heritage sites. Among other awards, he received the Great Binding Prize in 2013 for his tireless efforts.

Hannes Knapp, who headed the International Academy for Nature Conservation of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation on the island of Vilm from its foundation in 1990 until 2015, shares EuroNatur’s guiding theme of cross-border nature conservation. One of his declared aims is to establish a network for the protection of primeval and old beech forests in as many European countries as possible. Now retired, but still teaching as a honorary professor at the Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology of the University of Greifswald, the forest conservationist works with great commitment to protect Romanian old-growth forests and supports – also on the ground – the campaign #SaveParadiseForests launched by EuroNatur and Romanian nature conservation NGO Agent Green.

As one of the fathers of the GDR’s national park programme, Hannes Knapp is fully aware of the importance of valuable protected areas. “At the time of German reunification, there was the dictum of ‘family silver of German unity’. The primeval beech forests in Romania are the ‘golden treasure of the European Union’. This valuable treasure needs to be conserved, not exploited!”