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Berlin in first place in City Nature Challenge 2023

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Kammmolch Triturus cristatus@Frederic Griesbaum.jpg
Press release,

This year, 165 observers in Berlin uploaded 12,168 observations of animals, plants, fungi and even algae to the iNaturalist platform during the City Nature Challenge (CNC) and identified 1,514 species with the help of several hundred specialists. Among them, the bladder fly Myopa vicaria and the brook creeper Microvelia buenoi were recorded as two first-time observations for Germany. With this great result, Berlin not only reached the first place in Germany, but also the self-imposed goal to significantly exceed last year's results was achieved.

The excursion program around this year's CNC was initiated by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and implemented in cooperation with a large number of Berlin research institutions, nature conservation associations and actors in environmental education. The Berlin Botanical Garden (together with the Friends Association), the Stiftung Naturschutz and the Pilzkundliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburg also participated in the mega bioblitz. The CNC and all its participants are thus making a serious contribution to the study of our native nature and the global understanding of biodiversity.

The so-called City Nature Challenge (CNC) has been taking place worldwide since 2016. In this friendly competition, cities compete against each other to digitally record as many animal, plant and fungal species as possible in urban areas on the iNaturalist platform in the spirit of Citizen Science. This year, Berlin came in 34th out of almost 500 participating cities worldwide, by far the best result since the first participation in 2018. With over 500 plant species reported, over 250 different fungi and lichens, and 380 insect species alone, it is already clear how high biodiversity can be even in the urban space of a major city like Berlin.

"Together for Nature: the City Nature Challenge is an international initiative to encourage people to get involved with nature," says Johannes Vogel, Director General of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. "Whether it's air we breathe, clean water, food, active ingredients for medicines, or raw materials for clothes, homes, and industries - our very lives, health, and well-being are based on natural resources."

By participating in the CNC, a large number of interested people were able to learn about this topic. The data obtained has also been successfully used for scientific studies on biodiversity, ecogeography and other issues worldwide for several years. Prof. Thomas Borsch, Director of the Botanical Garden Berlin, was also pleased with the great results: "As the largest city in Germany, Berlin has an extraordinarily high level of urban biodiversity. This is also impressively demonstrated by this year's City Nature Challenge, with over 12,000 observations in just four days. Almost 2,500 of these were lichens. Our scientists are particularly pleased with the many sightings of large lichen species. Twenty years ago, these were considered lost due to air pollution. This is a good sign, but by no means does it mean that we can rest on our laurels in terms of air pollution control and energy conservation. The Berlin community can contribute a great deal here, especially to biodiversity monitoring, again at the 2024 Challenge," says Borsch.

Next year, the network of Berlin institutions would again like to invite people to participate in the CNC 2024. This is possible either during one of the guided nature excursions or other activities, or simply privately. In the long run, the ambitious goal will be to become one of the top ten cities in the world. Let's discover and explore Berlin's nature together!

Berlin CNC 23

Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin, Citizens Create Knowledge, GoNature, Grün Berlin GmbH, Infrastrukturelles Netzwerk Umweltschutz gGmbH (Freilandlabor Marzahn), Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, NABU-Landesverband Berlin, Pilzkundliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburg e.V., Stadtnatur Ranger Pankow, Stiftung Naturschutz Berlin (ArtenFinder).


The Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), which is strictly protected in Berlin, could be detected several times during the City Nature Challenge on the city territory.