• ANFROEK - Applied research for reclamation of post-mining sites in the Lusatian lignite mining district

Objectives of the research project is the understanding of ecosystem functioning of reclaimed post-mining sites in the Lusatian lignite mining district (around Cottbus). Reclamation measures will be investigated and evaluate with the aim to improve the ecosystem processes in reclaimed post-mining sites,´.

In general, the newly created landscapes can be regarded as an ecosystem at the point zero with drastic changes in topography, hydrology and biogeochemical processes compared to the original ecosystem. The dumped overburden material has little or no recent soil organic matter, low nutrient content and low water holding capacity. Planting trees is a common measure in reclamation practices on post-mining to restore ecosystem functioning and land-use of degraded landscapes. Our research focus is on fast-growing trees, mainly on black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and to some extent hybrid-poplars and aspen (Populus spec.). Ecophysiological measurments in combination with growth analysis will provide more informations for better managment and application of fast-growing trees at reclaimed post-mining sites. Furthermore, the ecosystem development of natural habitats are invesigated. 

Funded by LEAG - Lausitzer Energie- und Bergbau AG, Cottbus. Since 2017 - ongoing


  • AgriWaterSystems  - Optimization of irrigation and evapotranspiration in agriculture in the Western Cape, South Africa

The Western Cape Province in South Africa is characterized by a high evaporation and high wind speeds, which have implications on crop water demands and on water availability in the region. In particular in the last decade, the cultivation of wine and other irrigated orchards increased in the region. The establishment of shelterbelts will reduce the wind speed and effects the water supply in the agricultural fields.  Aim of the project is to determine the effects of shelterbelts on the evapotranspiration in the winelands near Stellenbosch. 

Funded by Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Since  2016 - ongoing

Cooperation: University of Stellenbosch, Department of Forestry and Wood Science

  • AgroSolarSystems - An integrated Agro-Forestry-Energy approach to land use

With increasing population land will be a more and more precious resource. This fact and the South African development targets of growing the economy and economic empowerment of the population will increase the energy demands drastically. In fact South Africa is currently losing agricultural land by soil erosion processes, which must be countered. The project AgroSolarSystems should provide innovative solutions by integrating agroforestry land use systems with energy production to solve erosion problems and provide a combined production of energy and agricultural goods. With the proposed integrated AgroSolarSystems a novel concept is tested with real data from a pilot farm in the West Coast and implementation plans are created. 

Funded by National Research Foundation South Africa. Since  2014 - ongoing

Cooperation: University of Stellenbosch, Department of Forestry and Wood Science, DLC - Dr. Littmann Consulting


  • Development of biocrusts on temperate sand dunes and post-mining sites and their application in restoration ecology

In many ecosystems of the world biological soil crusts play an important role for ecosystem processes. These biological crusts (biocrusts) are assemblages of cyanobacteria, green algae, mosses, fungi and soil lichens. The understanding of pattern formations and interactions with biogeochemical and biotic processes are important for ecological theory and for applications in restoration ecology. Currently, we investigate the spatial and temporal variance of biocrust formations and their impact for photosynthesis and carbon accumulation on temperate sand dunes. Carbon fluxes and crust activity will be linked to the formation of different crust types. Field experiments are carried out on the Research Platform Chicken Creek / Quellberg Hühnerwasser

Funded by Geschwister-Stauder-Foundation, University of Hohenheim. Since 2016 - ongoing


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