As it turns out, there are times when armed conflict benefits the environment. Just look at Korea’s DMZ, where wildlife thrives in the 4km-wide strip of no man’s land that divides the peninsula.
Something similar occurred along the infamous Iron Curtain, the heavily fortified border that cut for thousands of kilometers through Central Europe, demarcating East and West. 1,400 of those kilometers were in Germany.
While armed guards held vigil, nature flourished. In 1989 the border came down, but the ecosystem that had grown up around it remained. It’s now home to 600 of the region’s threatened animal and plant species, from rare mosses to endangered birds and wild cats.