Permission to commercially remove, treat or process wild plants (including lichens and fungi) that are not specially protected is granted by the lower nature conservation authority at the district administrative authorities. This is usually issued in the form of a written decision.
Permission must be granted if the population of the species in question is not endangered at the site of removal and the ecosystem is not significantly impaired. The removal must be carried out carefully. When deciding on removals for the purpose of regional seed production, the beneficial effects on the objectives of nature conservation and landscape management must be taken into account (Section 39 (4) of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG)).
Plants within the meaning of the Federal Nature Conservation Act are
- wild plants, plants obtained by artificial propagation and dead plants of wild species,
- seeds, fruits or other developmental forms of plants of wild species,
- readily recognizable parts of plants of wild species and
- readily recognizable products obtained from plants of wild species.
Lichens and fungi are also considered plants within the meaning of this law.
No official authorization is required for the private collection of small quantities of certain plants that are not specially protected for personal use. Anyone may carefully collect and appropriate small quantities of wild flowers, grasses, ferns, mosses, lichens, fruits, mushrooms, tea and medicinal herbs as well as branches of wild plants from nature in places that are not subject to a trespassing ban for personal use. (§ 39 para. 3 BNatSchG).
Wild plants of specially protected species or their developmental forms may not be taken from the wild (§ 44 para. 1 no. 4 BNatSchG). Exceptions are possible for certain purposes, such as research, and with the prior approval of the higher nature conservation authority at the government (§ 45 Para. 7 BNatSchG). There are exceptions for certain mushrooms that are taken from the wild in small quantities for personal use (§ 2 para. 1 BArtSchV)