The global biodiversity crisis is, along with climate change, the greatest challenge facing mankind. To ensure the long-term protection of biodiversity, conservation objectives must be agreed upon by all stakeholders, defined in concepts, and appropriate actions taken. This involves considering the often contrasting needs of nature and people and examining ethical-moral issues about the value of nature as well as different approaches to nature conservation. In this thesis, conservation objectives and values in German forest conservation concepts, considering ecological, political and social aspects are analysed in an interdisciplinary approach. The present state of forest conservation in Germany is discussed and current and future challenges are described. Based on this assessment of needs new methods for the classification of conservation objectives and for the assessment of forest conservation objects are presented and possible changes in conservation responsibility in view of climate change are proposed. Forests support a significant proportion of global biodiversity and provide essential ecosystem services, and their long-term conservation and sustainable use is becoming more important than ever in the face of climate change. Due to the diverse demands for conservation and use, a consensus on the objectives is necessary in forest conservation. Only a transparent system based on consistent objectives and measures is likely to be sufficiently accepted and implemented. Therefore, a hierarchical framework for the classification of nature conservation objectives was developed in Chapter 2 of this thesis. Within higher-level target areas, desired target properties were assigned to conservation objects, which are to be achieved through certain measures. Using this framework, the contents of biodiversity and forest conservation concepts were examined for commonalities and differences. A broad consensus on conservation objectives was found in the concepts across different stakeholder groups and spatial scales, with the conservation of species, ecosystems and structures in forests rated as particularly important. Deficits were identified with regard to genetic diversity, abiotic resources and social-cultural objectives, as well as a mismatch in the transfer of knowledge. The reasons for these inconsistencies in forest conservation include conflicting objectives, lack of coordination across scales and inadequate implementation of objectives. In private forests, which make up half of the German forest area, the implementation of nature conservation measures is a particular challenge. Private forest owners often have reservations about sovereign nature conservation regulations and are less willing to participate due to the financial expenses involved. In order to ensure higher acceptance, forest conservation measures should be financially compensated. However, the contractual agreement of nature conservation services and financial remuneration (= contract-based nature conservation) has so far found limited application in private forests. Since the successful implementation of contract-based forest conservation requires a system of reasonable measures, the conservation objects identified in Chapter 2 (forest habitat types, structures and processes in forests) were assigned a conservation value in Chapter 3 on the basis of the need for, and the worthiness of, protection. Oak and mixed oak forests, dry-warm beech forests, historical forms of forest use (coppice forests or wood pastures) and natural structures such as deadwood (deciduous tree species, standing and lying) or habitat trees have a high nature conservation value. Based on the initial value and the expected value development, it was assessed whether conservation or restoration measures within the framework of contract-based forest conservation with varying durations are suitable. Contract-based forest conservation is particularly suitable for conservation objects with a high initial value if a loss of value can be avoided and if a high increase in value can be expected. It is not suitable for low initial values and a low restoration potential. With this framework, private forest owners can easily assess which nature conservation measures are suitable in their forest, increasing the likelihood that they will apply contract-based forest conservation in the future. Climate change and its predicted effects in terms of intensity and frequency of disturbances require an adaptation of silvicultural management. In Germany, silvicultural planning tools such as forest development types are often only related to the economic productivity function, while nature conservation demands are given little consideration. Therefore, the framework developed in Chapter 3 for the conservation value assessment of forest habitat types was adapted in Chapter 4 to the economically relevant tree species (beech, oak, pine, spruce, fir, Douglas-fir and larch) and further developed for application in forest stands according to the potential natural vegetation of the location. With the new framework, the nature conservation impacts of silvicultural planning and future tree species composition in forest stands can be spatially-explicitly assessed. Certain silvicultural combinations of tree species can lead to a reduction in the initial nature conservation value, which is determined by the forest habitat type naturally occurring there. The highest nature conservation value can be achieved if the planned tree species are both autochthonous and a natural component of the respective forest habitat type. The framework was trialled to assess planned forest development types using a Germany-wide transect. In most cases, the forest development type combinations led to a reduction of the initial nature conservation value, as the restricted tree species selection of the forest development types did not correspond to the diverse species composition of the natural forest habitat types. With this evaluation framework, forest planning can also be assessed in terms of nature conservation and be adapted to a tree species composition that is as close to nature and site-specific as possible. The uncertainties of climate change and the associated changes in environmental conditions also pose new challenges for nature conservation and may require an adaptation of the conservation objectives and justifications. Chapter 5 therefore investigated whether the favourable conservation status of forest habitat types of the Habitats Directive remains a well-founded objective when confronted with climate change. In this context, both the question of the conservation justification and an assessment of the future development trend of the conservation status of forest habitat types of the Habitats Directive were addressed. It was shown that current niche and species distribution models of habitat types and tree species indicate that a climate change-induced increase in drought can lead to losses in area of forest habitat types such as the subalpine sycamore-beech forest and the montane-alpine soil-acid spruce forest. In the case of bog woodland and alluvial forests, successful restoration should be the first priority before future development can be assessed. Forest habitat types on secondary sites, such as mixed oak forests, will probably continue to require active management measures to restore and secure a favourable conservation status in the long term. The distribution models for beech forest habitat types showed increasing uncertainty regarding future distribution, and for the most part no significant negative change could be identified, even under climate change. Flexibilisation and adaptation of conservation objectives should therefore only take place on the basis of evidence and within the framework of adaptive management. Overall, no clear indications is found to abandon the favourable conservation status of forest habitat types under climate change as a well-founded objective of nature conservation. This thesis discusses the importance of forest conservation concepts in today’s world and the difficulties that can arise in the classification and implementation of forest conservation objectives. Furthermore, the challenges that may arise in the conservation value assessment of conservation objects and tree species as well as in future implementation of forest conservation measures are identified. It was found that the systematic analysis of conservation objectives has gained importance in conservation research and that there is a broad consensus on the objectives of forest conservation in Germany. Nevertheless, there is a considerable need for more specification, especially with regard to the implementation of contract-based nature conservation in private forests. The frameworks presented for the derivation of nature conservation values can be helpful in turning abstract properties such as nature conservation values into a simplified and comprehensible system. Forestry and nature conservation stakeholders can thus be sensitised to the conservation value of forest biodiversity. In order to reduce existing prejudices between stakeholders, it is also necessary to further revise the funding system in Germany with regard to its financial scope and the effectiveness of conservation measures, and to provide practical recommendations for action based on scientific findings. This thesis underlines that a constant adaptation of forest management strategies is necessary for forest conservation and silviculture to cope with the challenges of climate change. For forests to maintain their diverse functions and ecosystem services in the future, semi-natural, species-rich resilient mixed forests composed of predominantly native tree species should be favoured and the existing objectives in nature conservation should not be abandoned without reason. Only in this way can forest conservation in Germany and also worldwide be successful in the long term.