No burden for the Börde

Better protect arable land on black earth

Border landscape UFZ
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Hedges, fields and small groves are the focus of a pilot project of the Environmental Research Center Leipzig-Halle. The researchers want to know what impact these plantings have on the ecology of agricultural land. Using new software, they record the impact on soil conservation and populations of endangered species.

When Gerhard Pflock picks up the soil on his fields, dark soil trickles through his fingers: black soil, the most fertile soil ever and the "bottom of the year 2005". A real treasure for farmers like Pflock. But the fertile soils also have a drawback: the soil is blown away quickly and away from the water, especially on large arable land without protective obstacles. The biggest treasure of the Börde is therefore threatened by erosion. Now, the research project IUMBO (Integrative Implementation of the Multicriterial Assessment and Optimization Procedure on the Querfurter Platte) will help to improve the landscape and soil protection in such regions.

Bördenlandschaft as project area

The Leipzig-Halle Environmental Research Center, the Barnstädt (AUB) agricultural enterprise, scientists from the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and the software company OLANIS are pulling together. For a project area of ​​about 24 hectares on the Querfurter Platte in southern Saxony-Anhalt, the researchers are developing new software models for assessing the arable structures. Various criteria such as reducing soil erosion, increasing groundwater recharge or increasing the recreational value are integrated into the development of these landscape scenarios.

"The problem of soil erosion can be effectively combated by structures such as hedges, field grass or small groves as well as agricultural engineering measures", explains project leader Heidrun Mühle from UFZ the basic idea. "The removal of fertile soil is a problem of great economic importance for farmers. At some points of the Querfurter plate, the loess already lights ocher-colored. There the black earth is already cleared away. "

Soil protection and animal home at the same time

Hamster © UFZ

The new green strips offer many endangered species a chance of survival. These include the hare, the red kite or the hamster. The number of hamsters, for example, has fallen dramatically in recent years, as the animals can no longer find enough food after harvesting the grain and starve the boys in hamster farming. A 20-meter wide so-called hamster protection strips of grass and crops, which are mowed later, should prevent this in the future. display

The experiences from the area around Barnst dt are also important for other farmers. After all, the Querfurter Platte is not the only region that has to deal with these problems. Other B rdegebiete such as the Magdeburg B rde, the B zwischenrde between Hildesheim and Wolfenb ttel, the Soester B rde or the Bay of K lner face the same challenges. What's more, the scientists want to use their method to provide help for planning in other agricultural landscapes. In this way, agriculture and nature conservation alike benefit from the researchers' findings.

(Environmental Research Center Leipzig-Halle (UFZ), 04.10.2005 - AHE)