DW has posted an article about a piece of land in Germany that was once an exercise site for armor and is now a nature preserve for rare animals. While this article is not specifically about tanks, it’s a somewhat interesting look at the ecological impact that armored operations can have on an ecosystem. Somewhat ironically, the use of the land as a area for running tanks made it ideal for it’s current use as a preserve for rare animals due to the fact that the land had no buildings on it and was cleared of most trees, and no fertilizer, liquid manure or pesticides were used on it. This area is called Schmidtenhöhe and has been designated a natural reserve and a national natural heritage site by the German government.
According to the article, only one weekend per year do military sounds disturb the birds’ chirping on Schmidtenhöhe: When members of the local Military Vehicles Drivers Koblenz club gather to maintain and drive military vehicles. This once a year tank drive does have an environmental benefit, creating hollows that fill with rain water that become home to some of the species of the preserve. However, the use of the land for armor exercises has also left large parts of it contaminated with old munitions, some of it still live, as well as oil and diesel fuel.