Research in the Department of Applied Ecology

Our Research Projects

Project start: 01.07.2020
Project end: 30.06.2025
Sponsor: Hessian Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection

The aim of the VitiVoltaic4Future project is to conduct research for viticulture in a newly created real laboratory for the use of agrophotovoltaics (APV). The infrastructure is to serve as an innovation platform beyond the project period; it is to enable research, development and knowledge transfer, as well as to encourage social participation in shaping the energy transition using practical examples. An overarching goal is to make land use more sustainable for special crops (here using viticulture as an example), to open up new ways of adapting the cultivation of special crops to climate change, and at the same time to develop renewable, decentralized power generation plus agricultural production in the field to application maturity iteratively with the stakeholders concerned as part of the energy transition. The concrete goal of VitiVoltaic4Future is to quantify the effects and possibilities of viticulture under Germany's first agro-PV system, to provide data for knowledge transfer, and to scientifically accompany adaptation strategy possibilities that could arise from such solar islands through viticultural research and know-how building. Within the project, measures for biodiversity promotion in viticulture (--> project "AMBITO) will be integrated. In particular, we aim to link "solar islands" with biodiversity islands in viticultural cultural landscapes, in order to holistically promote the sustainability of viticulture.

Project start: 01.04.2020
Project end: 31.03.2023
Sponsor: Hessian Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection

The aim of the joint project "AKHWA" is to contribute to measure L 19 of the Integrated Climate Protection Plan Hesse 2025. The joint project is concerned with research into the implementation of cultivation measures from the "toolbox" of regenerative agriculture (ReLaWi) on soil fertility and ecosystem services, especially with regard to soil water retention, which is becoming increasingly important against the backdrop of advancing climate change and the recent heatwave summers.

Project start: 01.02.2019
Project end: 31.01.2022
Sponsor: Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts

Project start: 05.04.2019
Project end: 30.11.2021
Sponsor: Central Innovation Programme for SMEs

The ZIM cooperation project with Prodana GmbH involves the development of a new batch reactor by the start-up company for the carbonization of a farmer's own woody residues or wood chips. The task of the partner HGU is the development and evaluation of plant carbon-based organic fertilizers under examination of their environmental effects and environmental and yield effectiveness. At HGU, tests are therefore carried out with biochar from the novel retort, in which either a more extensive screening of various carbon fertilizer combinations for their nitrate retention capacity and possible N2O emission reduction is carried out in the greenhouse. In addition, selected carbon fertilizer combinations for a possible yield increases and improvement of the environmental balance are tested in the field under natural weather conditions using pseudo-lysimeters. The results of the project partner HGU will be used to improve the batch process of biochar production accordingly and to develop a field data basis that can be made available to potential interested parties and users.

Project start: 01.01.2018
Project end: 31.12.2019
Sponsor: German Academic Exchange Service

This project investigates the application of nutrient-loaded biochar in less fertile agricultural soils of Pakistan with additional mechanistic investigations carried out in Germany. A set of field (Pakistan) and laboratory experiments (Germany) will be conducted to evaluate the effect of biochar on nutrient use efficiency and GHG emission per unit of agronomic yield production or per unit of agricultural land use. The field experiments will be conducted at University of Agriculture Multan (MNSUAM), Pakistan. All GHG samples collected from the Pakistan field study will be analysed at Hochschule Geisenheim University (HGU), Germany where the necessary gas chromatographic methods are established. The PI in Pakistan (Dr. Haider and his PhD and later master student) will visit Germany in 2018 and 2019 to learn GHG data analysis with the gas chromatograph (GC) and subsequent calculations and protocols using R protocols. They will also conduct controlled experiments (2nd year) using e.g. Pakistan soil or Pakistan vegetable species.

Recently, the combination of conservation farming methods with using biochar as a carrier for organic and mineral fertilizers applied to the root zone produced promising results. In this project we seek to test these novel approaches for improving yields while at the same time reducing the GHG emissions associated with agricultural production. Pakistan is the 6th largest population on the planet and there are rarely studies or data available on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the present project will investigate novel C-sequestering fertilization strategies, but also be the founding study in Pakistan to obtain first estimates of GHG emissions per unit of crop production or per unit of agricultural land, under specific cropping systems and fertilizer regimes.

Project start: 01.04.2017
Project end: 31.03.2019
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

BioCAP-CCS quantifies the global potentials and effects of large-scale land use with biomass plantations used to limit global warming to 1.5° by negative emissions for mitigation and compensation of temporary overshooting emissions. The project quantifies for the first time the global potential of biochar-CCS while considering concurrences for land, water, food security and protection of ecosystem integrity.

Project start: 01.01.2015
Project end: 31.10.2018
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research, European Commission

A key role for a resource-saving, sustainable land use management of agricultural ecosystems are the interactions between biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. The PromESSinG project aims to identify management options for promoting biodiversity in order to reduce external inputs in vineyards ecosystems. It will be conducted from 2015 to 2018 in five countries of Central Europe : Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Romania. The project intends to unravel biodiversity driven processes associated with the main ecosystem services in viticultural systems taking different management factors into account. A particular focus will be on the analysis of interactions between soil management strategies and soil biodiversity, as interactions between the diverse soil biota as well as chemical and physical properties of the soil environment are fundamental for the provision of soil-based ecosystem services. The intended research will be conducted in temperate vineyard systems in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Romania, thus covering a gradient from maritime to continental climates. In a common study with all countries involved and using a standardized sampling design we will analyze the links between disturbance gradients and diversity of soil relevant species groups (soil microflora including mycorrhiza, macrofauna, plants), soil function and related supporting, regulating and provisioning ESS. Management effects on these interactions are analyzed on two different scales by combining: a) the factor soil management (local scale) including three vineyard ground management treatments of different disturbance intensities, b) the factor landscape management (landscape scale) consisting of three different landscape heterogeneity levels.

Project start: 01.12.2008
Project end: 31.01.2015
Sponsor: German Research Foundation