The practice days in Kaufering were organised by the project partner of Links4Soils, Municipality of Kaufering. In two days the importance of forest and soil adaption for a sustainable development in the face of climate change was discussed, shown and felt.

Why is sustainable adaption necessary?

The result of our currently unsustainable lifestyle and industrial activities are: accelerated climate change, excessive loss of soils and nutrients and thus in the long term a decline in the ecosystem services (e.g. health).

The regional climate change in Bavaria has already been recorded since 1950 and it will probably not be possible to stop the development by the year 2050. In addition to the substantial increase of about 3°C there are also indications of less summer precipitation.
This means a drastic change in the rules of the game for the vegetation. The decisive growth factor will no longer be temperature, but the water available to plants during the vegetation period.

The energy our trees expend for evaporation on a summer day corresponds to the annual increase in wood and supplies the bulk of precipitation during the vegetation period.
To limit the increase in temperature in Germany, which is twice that worldwide, sufficient tree vegetation (e.g. also energy forests) is essential.
A high evaporation capacity during the vegetation period thanks to healthy, living soils with a  large quantity of water stored and available for plants are the adaptation measures needed to  withstand the future increase in weather extremes.
With these short closed water cycles erosion and land degradation are drastically reduced.
The results of the 2013 EU study ( forests, health and climate change ) that increasing the proportion of forest by 10% in a city leads to an improvement in health and 5 years longer life expectancy (+1°C in 70 years), whereas reducing the proportion by 10%  leads to an increase in temperature of 8.2°C, bear witness to the excellent ecosystem capacity of a healthy ecosystem.
A daily temperature curve during the vegetation period indicates quality of life clearly.

What are our goals and how can we realize them?

When it comes to sustainability we must observe the limits to the capacities of our earth, put in plain terms this means:
1. drastically reducing greenhouse gases to a sustainable level
2. increasing and improving our soils (lively and rich in earthworms)
3. maintaining or reactivating short closed water cycles
To implement the necessary adaptation on a large scale fair framework conditions are essential.
Anyone who protects our climate, improves the soil and delivers ecosystem services (e.g.
health) must receive the necessary recognition.
Our current economic reality is exactly the opposite.
High profits are made using products which damage the climate, soil and our health. A particularly negative example is our CO² certificate trading which brings the polluters billions in profits thanks to too many certificates issued, whereas those who provide services must pay the costs of their own damage and don't get anything.

In 2006 Markt Kaufering decided to build a large biomass thermal power plant the opportunity was taken to implement a regional sustainability concept.
The main goals are:

  • Supply to a radius of 15 km (forest + short rotation forest)
  • Natural flood protection and healthy drinking water
  • Soil increase and improvement with living soils rich in earthworms
  • Positive hunting management (internal handling) with high biodiversity
  • High ecosystem services on site and in the region

The development in the Landsberg and Kaufering area has intensified significantly since 2000.
The clearing of the climate protection forest "Frauenwald" and climate-related damage by wind (Nicklas 2015) and bark beetles have significantly worsened forest functions.

That is why the concept foresees wherever possible the rapid conversion of our forests to permanent forests, which would achieve high stability and wood capacity with the correct sustainable mix of trees.
For our soils the "living soil" with a high earthworm density is needed, and in addition a low wildlife stock and energy forests for agriculture would be the right way.
As health and supply benefit from high biomass capacity the concept should be implemented as quickly as possible and fully.
This means that with permanent and energy forests a climate buffer and "green lung" will be built up in our towns, the natural flood water protection will be  improved along rivers and streams and we will count on valuable, healthy drinking water  which is low in nitrate.
In areas with intensive agriculture the topic or erosion and soil improvement should be addressed with enough permanent structures (forest, energy forest, hedges).
Very important here is the correct choice of plants, which must take soil improvement and the consequences of climate change into account. Deciduous trees with favorable decomposition are particularly beneficial here and the necessary proportion must be used.
With the correct mix, the correct care and development the soil will reach a higher performance level.
As the period of time for this is between 10 and 80 years, a postponement is not a suitable option.
A healthy soil with high water storage and a sufficient proportion of trees can cope best with weather extremes (hot-dry phases or strong precipitation).
Data from our Kaufering community forest have been recorded for a long time and provide the technical data for introducing the necessary developments and measures.
The high productivity and thus increase in wood growth and the ecosystem service contrast starkly with the economic reality.
The meanwhile high proportion of energy-related use (deciduous wood) together with the low prices for the wood lead to a dramatic decrease in profits.
Sustainable permanent forest management goes hand in hand with massive losses for forest owners. Our farmers with energy forests are experiencing the same thing.

Practice Days in Kaufering show the results of the ongoing adaption process to the public

At the end of June, the concept of the municipality of Kaufering “sustainable adaption with the forces of nature”, starting in 2006, organized an annual project week together with the academical institutes of Weihenstephan and Straubing, in order to demonstrate the results with a focus on stone soil.
On Thursday, mayor Püttner welcomed the participants and guests, who traveled to Kaufering from Slovenia, Austria and Iceland (partner of the INTEREG project).
Marijan Sinkovec from Slovenia explained the aims of the 3-year project, which should finally provide the soil the necessary attention and acceptance.
In addition to an effectively useful basis practical examples like the ones in the municipality of Kaufering should be developed and spread.
Then project manager Ludwig Pertl explained why adaption is necessary. Climate change, soil damage and the rising extreme weather conditions require rapid and consistent action. Soil increase and soil improvement is the basic for a higher biomass growth with an increased ecosystem performance and thus the aims of climate protection and agenda 2030 are respected.
The students of the institutes of Weihenstephan and Straubing then presented the results of the project week.
The development in the energy forest of wood, bark, branches, leaves and fine roots has been presented for the last 10 years.
The focus, however, was on the forests of the lech stone plain in Kaufering and Fuchstal. Thereby, the tree species spruce, beech and sycamore have been compared. The fine roots, wood growth (wood, bark, branches + leaves / needles), temperature, daily growth and biodiversity have been determined and evaluated.
As a result, the development has confirmed that a greater increase and higher ecosystem services (e.g. health, transpiration) are associated with soil increase and soil improvement. After an interesting discussion the first day ended.
After the welcoming of mayor Püttner, Ludwig Pertl explained how we can develop municipalities and regions in a sustainable way. In the region of Kaufering and the four participating municipalities, the necessary focus is placed on the local situation. Local climate protection and drinking and flood protection are the predominating targets. The implementation of the measures is made more difficult by the unfair frame conditions. Since it is currently economically much more lucrative to produce climate, soil and health damage, too few land owners are willing to go along with the necessary adaption.
Martina Zacios of the Bavarian State Institute of Agriculture and Forestry showed the results of the continuous research in Kaufering since 2009. The difference between arable land and energy forest is examined in the drinking water protection area. The results are convincing, as soil improvement and drinking water quality can be positively influenced.
Afterwards an excursion took place in the research forests.
First stop was the “St. Walburgaholz” of the municipality of Kaufering. The approximately 35 year old hardwood mixed forest is managed as a permanent forest with fifteen different species, measured annually and impressed by its high growth and excellent soil conditions.
Subsequently, the measuring devices in the drinking water protection area were presented and explained by Martina Zacios.
Second stop was the “Eichwald” of the municipality of Fuchstal. The “living forest soil trail” was opened there in the year 2015, which was at once the year of the soils. There are three soil profiles under the tree species spruce, beech and sycamore. Mr. Hans-Jürgen Gulder showed the different development of the same soil types by the three profiles.
The master´s students from Straubing, who took measurements in the “Eichwald” during the project week presented their results and methodes.
Dominik Landerer, who is currently writing his master thesis about the ecosystem services, explained the measuring devices such as temperature, humidity, particle matter, continuous growth measurements in spruce, beech and sycamore and a lot of other activities. After these many impressions and discussions the second practical day came to an end.