Sustainable adaptation with the power of nature: Markt Kaufering (DE)

Wood cogeneration plant as a necessary prerequisite

The high proportion of conifers (spruce) and the high pollutant inputs have led to unfavourable soil development in native forests. Soil acidification, non-functioning humus forms, low earthworm populations and poor buffering ability against extreme weather conditions are the major consequences.

In order to counteract these problems, five municipalities in Landsberg and some of the adjoining landowners decided to collaborate with individually developed adaptation concepts until 2050. The aim is the improvement and the increase of the soil to increase its efficiency and thereby dampen climate change and the resulting weather extremes.

The chosen focus is the conversion of forests to permanent forest management. The selected tree species can demonstrably bring the soil back to peak performance. Similarly, short rotational plantations are used on agricultural land to achieve ecosystem services.The obtained data from surveys and research projects with universities prove that intact soil performance is the basis for high biomass production and therefore ecosystem services.

A healthy, living soil with a high plant-available water reservoir can produce more biomass during the growing season and at the same time achieve more climatic performance through higher transpiration. This, in turn, can lead to increased precipitation and a lower temperature rise and thus dampen the steady global warming. According to the equation: Soil performance = biomass increase = ecosystem performance. Conversely, rising weather extremes caused by ongoing climate change will lead to the long-term collapse of biomass production and thus ecosystem performance. The need for action is therefore essential.

The main problem at the moment, however, is the lack of economic efficiency due to cheap fossil energy and a low timber price, which makes the conviction of forest owners to convert to hardwood-rich permanent forests massively difficult. Another obstacle is the economy and policy based on fossil fuels and fossil raw materials. Therefore, it would be urgent to create a monetary incentive to improve ecosystem services. After all, important services such as health and erosion control cannot be adjusted with money.

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