Alexander von Birgelen

Prof. Dr. Alexander von Birgelen

Function: Deputy Head of Department
Organizational Unit(s):Department of Urban Horticulture and Plant UseProfessorship for Plant Use
Phone: +49 6722 502 773
eMail: Alexander.Birgelen(at)
Postal Address:Von-Lade-Straße 1
D-65366 Geisenheim
Address: Building 6701
Room 107
Rüdesheimerstraße 5
65366 Geisenheim

Since 01.01.2020 Mr. von Birgelen has taken over the office of Vice President Teaching at the Geisenheim University.

Alexander von Birgelen studied landscape planning with a focus on plant use at the Technical University of Berlin. After his studies he worked as a freelance landscape planner. Since 2008 he is a founding member of the Berlin planning office Strauchpoeten. From 2006 to 2010 he worked as a research assistant at the Technical University of Berlin, Department of Plant Use and Vegetation Technology. This was followed by a position as deputy professor for plant use at the Technical University of Dresden from 2011 to 2015. In 2014 Alexander von Birgelen completed his doctorate at the Technical University of Berlin on the topic: "The vegetation of urban post-dismantling landscapes in large housing estates of the 1970s and 1980s in East Germany - potentials and limits of their open space development". In October 2015 he took over the professorship for open space plant science and use at the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences and the management of the maintenance and development of the university's parks. Alexander von Birgelen has been involved in the nationwide working group on the use of plants since 2005.

Research Projects

Project start: 01.07.2023
Project end: 30.06.2026
Sponsor: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit

The preservation and planting of urban green, especially trees, play a crucial role in the adaptation of cities to global heating, as they provide natural cooling. Larger trees transpire up to 500 litres of water per day. Shade and evaporative cooling reduce the effect of urban heat islands. However, road salt, soil compaction and pollutants stress urban trees. Heat and drought intensify, so that new plantings often fail to grow and existing trees increasingly die before they reach a size that has an impact on the city's climate. Alternative tree substrates could provide a remedy, and also improve the infiltration of water from heavy rainfall events. One promising approach are biochar macadam substrates (PMS), i.e. defined mixtures of rock gravel, plant charcoal and compost. After compaction, the crushed stone results in a passable but pore-rich structure that creates space and aaeration for root growth and which are capable of absorbing high levels of precipitation. The production of the biochar also locks up biomass carbon over decades to millennia (=carbon sinks, i.e. carbon (dioxide) removal). PMS were developed in Stockholm and are so far only used in Sweden, Austria and Switzerland. The goal of "Black2GoGreen" is to create a network of municipalities, municipal enterprises, associations as well as manufacturers of biochar and biochar (tree, green-roof) substrates to transfer knowledge about already implemented solutions to Germany.