The Project

About the project

The BioDivKultur project is funded within the framework of the FEdA “BMBF Research Initiative on Biodiversity Conservation” on the topic of valuing and safeguarding biodiversity in politics, business and society.

Species-rich grasslands (meadows and pastures) are known to provide habitat for many insects. However, there are also habitats in parks, green strips (field margins, roadside verges), and commercial green spaces that are similar to grasslands and can or could provide suitable habitats for a large number of insect species.
In this context, those who own, manage, and/or maintain such areas face a variety of design decisions, ranging from the fundamental question of what open green space should remain (in addition to structuring it with trees, shrubs/hedges, water, flower beds, dead wood, etc.) to options for shaping the green space itself (e.g., through vegetation and mowing). These decisions are made against the background of different value attitudes towards nature, different use interests (e.g. recreation, aesthetics, safety, agricultural yield, securing ecosystem services) and pragmatic framework conditions (e.g. costs and time required for maintenance).

The BioDivKultur project, in which biologists work together with humanities scholars and social scientists, is devoted to values, interests of use, options for action, and possibilities for regulation in the design and maintenance of green spaces. The aim is to investigate or test how biodiversity as a value and use interest can become more effective communicatively, politically and practically in green space design (understood as the establishment of multi-layered “biodiversity cultures”). The specific biological focus is on options for improved insect conservation in urban, commercial, and agricultural open green spaces, particularly in the context of mowing.

In grassland, mowing is one of the reasons why many habitats are becoming less and less adequate to the needs of insects, since during mowing numerous animals are killed by the machines and their nests are destroyed. In addition, food resources and refuges disappear abruptly during mowing.

Mowing of areas is done for many different reasons: Gardens and parks are mowed for aesthetic perception and recreational purposes. In an agricultural use, the focus is on yield, for example, for hay production. Nature conservation also has an interest in mowing green areas such as meadows, because only through regular mowing or grazing these areas be can preserved in the long term.
Sometimes, more biodiversity-friendly mowing fails not so much because of a lack of knowledge, but rather because of the availability of the technology or practical issues of organization (e.g., time required, disposal of the mown material, and cost issues).

Therefore, the aim of the biological surveys is, firstly, to record the insect fauna in green areas of different size, isolation, management and design.
Secondly, insect mortality for different mowing equipment and mowing processes, and the influence of refugia and seed choice on insect populations will be investigated. Insect sampling is performed by vacuuming a specified area. Because a wide variety of arthropod groups are recorded during sampling, ecosystem processes can also be studied. In this way, the effectiveness of different protective measures during mowing will be comprehensively determined. In order for these to be used by the relevant actors in practice, the focus is also on the question of the practical feasibility of such measures.

In order to successfully implement our goals, several committed partners are working together in the BioDivKultur project. Each partner brings particular experience and ideas to specific aspects of the project and addresses these in their own sub-project.

Take a look at the different sub-projects:

TU Darmstadt

bioversum Jagdschloss Kranichstein

BUND Darmstadt

Landscape Conservation Association county Göttingen e. V.

City of Science 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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