Summendes Rheinland – Landwirte für Ackervielfalt (Rhineland Alive and Buzzing – Farmers for Diversity in the Fields)

Using the slogan Landwirte für Ackervielfalt (Farmers for Diversity in the Fields), the Summendes Rheinland (Rhineland Alive and Buzzing) project promotes the enhancement of open-land habitats in intensively farmed arable landscapes. The Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft (Foundation Rhineland Cultural Landscape), a non-profit organisation, runs the project in the Lower Rhine Basin physiographic region.

Collaborative implementation of innovative, sustainable measures

Since 2014, the project developers have collaborated with local farmers to promote biodiversity in the farming countryside. The measures involved, which were designed especially for the project, meet nature conservation criteria and are easily integrated into farming operations. Once the project is completed, the measures are to be transferred:

  • Flowering catch crops provide insects with an attractive supply of food in late summer and early autumn. The project’s own species-rich mix of seed takes account of pollinators’ needs as well as those of agriculture. Field birds and mammals benefit from the diverse range of insects, seeds and cover in winter.
  • Many animals use multi-year flowering fringes of native wild plants as a feeding habitat, and also as a mating and breeding place. Given their elongated form, these fringes are especially suited to use as habitat corridors. The regional seed mix provides a steady supply of flowers during the summer months, helps overcome dearth periods and takes account of differing flight times of the various insect species.
  • Specially developed pollinator gabions enhance the habitats to provide adequate nesting places for many wild bee species. The gabions are filled with locally appropriate materials and enable targeted monitoring and observation of wild bees.

The project measures improve habitats for insects, birds and many other animal groups, and form a connecting link between farming and the general public. With this innovative approach, the project demonstrates what collaborative nature conservation can achieve in conserving and improving biodiversity in arable landscapes.

Diverse cultural landscape on the doorstep

As pollinators of both wild and cultivated crops, flower-visiting insects play a key role in agri-environmental schemes. In addition to their actual numbers, the diversity of pollinator species is also important. The project thus concentrates on promoting flower-visitor diversity. Since 2013, more than 30 kilometres of flowering fringes and 180 hectares of flowering catch crops have been planted, and nesting aids installed. The effectiveness of these measures with regard to wild bees and butterflies has been monitored in fauna surveys conducted since 2015. These surveys gave rise to the discovery of a new wild sand bee species (Andrena lagopus) in North Rhine-Westphalia in spring 2016.

The project also aims to make the farming countryside more aesthetically pleasing. It should be made attractive to passers-by and bring the diversity of the cultural landscape ‘on their doorstep’ to life. Information boards located throughout the project area and also printed information sheets provide background knowledge on the environmental benefits of the project measures, motivate people to become engaged in nature conservation and foster constructive dialogue between local people and local farmers.

Further development and evaluation of the project measures is performed by specially commissioned faunists, the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). Kiel University of Applied Sciences is also conducting a feasibility study to assess the suitability of the measures for use in long-term funding programmes.

WHERE TO FIND US

Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft

Rochusstraße 18

53123 Bonn

Opening hours: 8 am – 5 pm

Contact:

Tel.:0228 -9090721-0

stiftung(at)rheinische-kulturlandschaft.de

www.rheinische-kulturlandschaft.de/summendesrheinland

©Photo: Summendes Rheinland
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