Somewhat outside of Bad Lauchstädt in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, the world's largest climate experiment in terms of area is running. The Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) carries out about 20 field experiments there on a 40 hectare research station.
Different parcels represent the formative agricultural use in Central Europe from conventional and ecological arable farming, through intensively used grassland with mowing to two forms of different extensive grassland use, mowing and grazing by sheep. Targeted irrigation and shading or solar radiation create the climate that researchers expect in Central Germany in 2070 in the experimental fields. Control areas are managed under currently prevailing conditions. The project is scheduled to run for at least 15 years.
International research teams are investigating questions such as: How does the productivity of grassland influence biodiversity? What effects do nutrients such as potassium or magnesium have on meadows and pastures? Or: How does the diversity of plants change through the input of nutrients? With the answers, they want to "develop strategies and instruments that secure the diverse services and resilience of ecosystems in times of global change and increasing usage pressure (...)".
Image: UFZ / A. KUENZELMANN
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