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Installation of conservation strips in grassland



project profile


Background information & challenges


    • Conflict of objectives between the conservation of biodiversity and the increase in agricultural productivity (basic fodder for milk and meat production) in Hessian grassland.
    • The cost pressure resulting from low producer prices leads to an intensification of cultivation (early, more frequent cutting, fertilisation, intensive grazing, increase in the area of fields).
    • Reduction in the diversity of herb species as a fodder base
    • Impairment of the ecosystem services of the economic grassland


Planned innovation & aims


  • Installation of small-format conservation strips (5% of the area), which are moved freely by farmers every year.
    • Short-term: process protection on a small area (refugia, dispersal sources for insects).
    • Long-term: sustainable, area-wide restoration of valuable grassland communities (regeneration and resilience of the seed bank).
    • Securing ecosystem services through an intact and valuable economic grassland
    • Unification of fodder production and conservation of ecosystem services.

Overall objective

  • Integration of the process into the Hessian agri-environmental support system
  • Optimisation of existing support modules
  • Quantification of biodiversity effects




  1. Technical implementation and establishment of the conservation strips in grassland at the experimental facilities of the Justus Liebig University of Giessen (on-station research, exact system) and on farms (on-farm research).
  2. Investigation of the influence of alternating conservation strips on the biodiversity of grasses and herbs (Chair of Organic Farming) through seeding in the conservation strip and spreading to the entire field area.
  3. Investigation of the influence of alternating conservation strips on the biodiversity of flower-visiting and herbivorous insects (Chair of Animal Ecology) at field level: direct influence on population sizes, phaenology and community structure as well as resilience of interacting communities to mowing events.
  4. Testing of different mowing techniques to determine an optimal outcome of biodiversity enhancement and yield performance.
  5. Publication of the research results via brochure, project homepage and journals as well as communication of the results.


Lead Partner


Justus-Liebig-University Gießen

Department for agronomy and plant breeding  II

Professorship of Organic Farming with focus on sustainable soil use

Dr. Peter Ströde

phone: 0641 / 99 37742


Members of the operational group


  • Institut für Tierökologie, Justus-Liebig University of Gießen
  • Gladbacherhof, Justus-Liebig University of Gießen
  • Oberer Hardthof, Justus-Liebig University of Gießen
  • Landwirtschaftlicher Betrieb Dr. Konstantin Becker
  • Sonnenhof GbR, Jürgen Scheld
  • Nikolai und Sandra Hampel GbR
  • LWG Dottenfelder Hof KG
  • Bioland e.V. Landesverband Hessen


Project duration


04/2021 - 03/2024



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