Mediation in resource use conflicts - Germany

The „Krebsbach“ is a small creek in the Böblingen district, which was straightened in the 1960s in order to gain additional agricultural land. During the 1990s, local and district administration officials discussed options to return the creek to its natural state.

When affected farmers learned about these ideas via informal means they began to protest. Such renaturalisation would mean the loss of a part of their cropping area and the establishment of restrictions on other working lots. Even though the affects would not have been large, the feeling that they were being excluded and the worry that the administration would confront them with readymade plans, really worried and angered the farmers. In reaction to the protest, the District administration agreed to undertake a joint discussion and planning process.

PACTeam was contracted to prepare and facilitate these negotiations. A first meeting provided clarity on the different positions and interests. The next session familiarised the participants with different options for renaturalisation developed by experts . This session made it clear that there were options and that there were possible advantages to the farmers. It was agreed, to analyse these different possibilities more precisely and to fine-tune them, regarding well farmers interests. After a couple of further meetings, the precise agreements for renaturalisation were worked out and implemented.

During the whole process, starting from the conflict situation until the joint planning and implementation of measures, both sides recognised, that this moderated procedure can facilitate local partnerships and create sustainable advantages for both, the naturalists and the farmers.