The Green Curtain: A 12,500-Km Pan-European Pathway Cuts Deeply into Military History, Embattled Biodiversity and the Push for Rejuvenation along the Iron Curtain

By Jakubowski, Ellen | Alternatives Journal, March-April 2013 | Go to article overview

The Green Curtain: A 12,500-Km Pan-European Pathway Cuts Deeply into Military History, Embattled Biodiversity and the Push for Rejuvenation along the Iron Curtain


Jakubowski, Ellen, Alternatives Journal


FROM THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR until 1989, Europe was severed by a strip of barbed wire, minefields, watchdogs and spring guns. Nations on the Western side, mostly NATO members, were politically, economically and militarily divided from Warsaw Pact signatories in the East. Attempts to traverse the barrier were perilous, a most Europeans kept their distance.

By excluding humans, the border zone unwittingly welcomed nature. While some areas and their resident wildlife (especially in Eastern Europe) were devastated by strip mining, Soviet tank aneuvers and motion-sensing machine guns, ecosystems ranging from Arctic tundra to peat bogs to alpine meadows flourished along the Iron Curtain during its decadin-long respite from disturbance. Environmentalists on both sides noted this increase in biodiversity, but little could be done to officially protect it amidst the tense political climate of the Cold War.

Following the Iron Curtain's collapse in 1989, conservation initiatives started springing up along its former path. Cross-border cooperation led to the establishment of protected areas, which have since been increased and expanded to form vast networks. In 2002, the German conservation organization, BUND, proposed the creation of a pan-European greenbelt spanning the entire length of the former Iron Curtain. A series of conferences attended by delegates of the 24 former border countries have brought this idea to life during the last decade.

The 12,500-km European Green Belt now extends from the Barents Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, and includes four organizational regions: Fennoscandian, Baltic, Central European and Balkan. Although its width ebbs and flows, the greenbelt covers the same distance as a path from Vancouver to North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and back again.

"This ecological corridor is an outstanding memorial landscape of European relevancy with a great potential for transboundary cooperation, sustainable regional development and the merging of Europe," explains Liana Geidezis, regional coordinator of Green Belt Central Europe. "It is a unique chance that last century's zone of death shall become a lifeline across Europe. Nature knows no boundaries."

The points of interest profiled on the following pages are just a fraction of the European Green Belt's mark on the landscape--a snapshot of the species, habitats, complexities and collaborations that are driving its development. Learn more at euronatur.org.

Fennoscandian Green Belt

A Oulanka National Park, Finland/Paanajdrvi National Park, Russia

The Fennoscandian Green Belt encompasses more than one million hectares of protected mixed boreal forest and Arctic tundra. Of particular interest to conservationists are the remaining large stretches of old-growth taiga--dry pine forests that haven't been logged in a millenium. Oulanka National Park in Finland and Its Russian sister, Paanajarvi National Park, are two of the many protected areas dedicated to conserving this ecosystem. The joint park also features vast mires, lakes, rivers, rapids, waterfalls and rugged ravines; these landscapes provide safe haven for rare species, including the wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus), violet copper butterfly (Lycaena helle) and Calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa). The unique geology of the Fennoscandian region is also preserved, such as unusual moraine features like kames and eskers, which were sculpted out of the Baltic Shield by retreating glaciers more than 10,000 years ago.

In 2005, Oulanka and Paanajarvi were the first parks along the Fennoscandian Green Belt to be awarded the EUROPARC certificate, which recognizes cooperative transboundary achievements in ecosystem protection, sustainable tourism, research and peace promotion.

B Suomussalmi, Finland

The Cold War deeply divided Europe after the traumatic events of the Second World War, and Finland engaged in three separate battles to secure its post-war independence.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Green Curtain: A 12,500-Km Pan-European Pathway Cuts Deeply into Military History, Embattled Biodiversity and the Push for Rejuvenation along the Iron Curtain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.