City of Science


Sub project City of Science Darmstadt

City of Science Darmstadt

The city of science is a medium-sized city in the Rhine-Main metropolitan region. It offers a residence to almost 162,000 people from over 50 nations on an area of about 123 hectares. On this area there is a great potential for projects in the field of species protection and biodiversity, which will unfold in the course of the BioDivKultur project.

The Urban Green Space Planning Office and the Environmental Office of the City of Science work hand in hand and are thus committed to the preservation of biodiversity across the board. We create and maintain natural habitats, form retreats for insects or birds, and manage meadows and parks as gently as possible for all living creatures. However, players outside the administration, such as housing associations and tradespeople, as well as municipal holdings, also make an important contribution with their share of land on municipal territory

Because Darmstadt’s structure is particularly diverse and a wide variety of habitats can be found, species protection must also be thought of in a multifaceted way: company grounds on sandy soil in the west, roadside greenery with lichen-covered trees, lawns in historic parks with green woodpeckers on them and flower-rich meadows in parks, as well as species-rich borders at forest edges and along bodies of water. Within protected areas, but also within settlement areas, the diversity of our nature becomes apparent and makes the work in species protection particularly exciting.

City meadows instead of lawns

For several years now, the City of Science has been treading the path towards greater biodiversity in urban green spaces. For example, many flowering meadows have already been planted and green spaces redesigned as part of the City Meadows Instead of Lawns project. Here, care is taken to promote native plants as far as possible and to use regional seeds. This helps our native pollinating insects in particular.

However, roadside greenery also changes continuously through individual reseeding concepts on sometimes large model areas and creates ecologically valuable habitats.

We as part of BioDivKultur

Together with BioDivKultur, the city of science now wants to go one step further: After the creation of natural habitats, the focus is already on insect-friendly maintenance and mowing. By selecting and purchasing suitable mowing machines, determining mowing times that are adapted to the composition of the meadow, or developing other maintenance methods that are particularly gentle on insects, there is thus room for maneuver that can be crucial for butterflies, beetles, and wild bees.

In order to fully exploit this scope, basic questions about mowing will first be answered, which will then be implemented on the selected areas in the Darmstadt urban area. In this way, the City of Science Darmstadt wants to take on a role model and demonstrate in a practical way that species protection and green space maintenance do not have to be contradictory.

Open questions

The conversion of the maintenance of green areas should be based on a sound concept. Initially, core questions must be answered for this, on which every further design depends:

We already know that mowing large, contiguous areas in sections is kinder to insects. What now needs to be clarified is exactly how this can be implemented in everyday practice:

  • How can areas be divided?
  • What spacing can refuges have for insects? How big would these have to be?
  • When to mow during the year? How is this time determined?
  • How often and at what intervals can mowing be done?
  • Are certain times of day particularly suitable for insect-friendly mowing?
  • How can you combine mowing that is gentle on plants with mowing that is gentle on insects?
  • Which machines are particularly recommended?
  • What else should be considered when mowing (weather, mowing direction, mowing height, …)?
  • How can a new mowing technique be taught?
  • Can economic and organizational problems be avoided?
  • How to recycle or use the mown hay?
  • How do you prove the results at the end? What is a sign of the success of the measures?

Knowledge transfer is the be-all and end-all

An important result of the BioDivKultur project will be the acceptance of flowering areas and insect meadows by the population. The aim is to raise public awareness and make them a matter of course in Darmstadt’s cityscape.

To this end, we would like to approach the various stakeholders and create as broad an information base as possible through events, training courses and educational work. Important in this context are not only the local trade and industry, the housing associations, clubs and societies, but above all, as the heart of the matter, the people of Darmstadt.

The BioDivKultur project is funded by the Research Initiative for Biodiversity Conservation of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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