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Dannenröder Wald forest occupation: Reaction to the appeal to leave the forest

Germany. Hessen. The Dannenröder forest was occupied in September 2019 to prevent that the forest will be cleared for the extension of the A49 highway.

Originally published by Wald Statt Asphalt. Translated by Enough 14.


The A49 is a motorway that will link Gießen and Kassel and is to be built to the west of the existing link via the A5/A7. Since the initial phase of this major project 40 years ago, there has been resistance to this absurd and ecologically damaging construction project. For decades, citizens’ initiatives such as the Schutzgemeinschaft Gleental e.V. have been pointing out the unacceptable consequences for the environment and people in the region, as well as shortcomings in the planning, and organizing protests – so far unfortunately without much success.

Between Stadtallendorf and Gemünden, the next section of the A49 is now to be built across a FFH [1] nature reserve and an important drinking water protection area, and for this purpose around 100 hectares of healthy mixed forest are to be cut.

As an occupation we want to prevent this deforestation and stop the construction of the A49!


Reaction to the appeal to leave the forest

Dannenrod. Activists in the Dannenrod forest ignore the DEGES’ appeal to end the occupation. The DEGES plans to create facts by clearing the forest from October 1. They are doing so although the social conflict over the A49 has not yet been resolved. In addition, according to current construction laws, the construction of the Autobahn is not feasible, as the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has confirmed. Proof of public interest in the motorway is also hypocritical. Neither can it be said with certainty whether there will be any relief for the residents living along the federal roads, nor has a survey of residents been conducted. What is certain, however, is that the construction of the A49 will put drinking water in great danger and destroy an irreplaceable natural area.

The squatters feel compelled to act against the overexploitation of nature and do not let this protest be regulated by one of the main addressees (DEGES). “If we leave, the DEGES will further fuel the climate crisis by destroying this forest. If we want to minimise the impact of our environmental destruction and meet the 1.5 degree limit, we must act now. This means taking an active stand against the crimes committed by the state of Hessen, DEGES and Strabag, and working for a just mobility transition.” Tom Wünsche, an activist from the occupation, summarizes the motivation of activists.

The activists call on DEGES to stop its planning of the A49. The occupation also calls on civil society to continue to protest against the construction of the A49 and the imminent tree cuttings, to do so by various means, and to actively prevent the work on the ground.

Wald statt Asphalt, July 9, 2020

More information:

Image from july 10, 2020. A new tree house under construction in the occupied Dannenröder Wald (Wald = forest).


[1] FFH areas are special European protected areas in nature and landscape conservation, which have been designated under the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive and serve to protect plants (flora), animals (fauna) and habitat types (habitats), which are listed in several annexes to the FFH Directive. FFH areas are part of the Natura 2000 network.,zur%20FFH%2DRichtlinie%20aufgelistet%20sind.

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