Biodiversity in viticulture: new measures are being researched and implemented





Berlin/Bonn/Geisenheim22 April 2020 

Germany's vineyards should become more colourful: The Federal Biological Diversity Programme is launching a new project in which wine growers in all 13 wine-growing regions are being advised on how they can bring more biodiversity into their vineyards. The association for sustainable viticulture, Fair and Green e.V., and the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences have joined forces for this purpose, supported by the German Winegrowers' Association. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) is funding the project with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) with 4.4 million euros over six years. 

"With this project, German viticulture is taking a big step forward in terms of promoting biodiversity and facing up to its responsibility for the preservation of biodiversity", emphasises Klaus Schneider, President of the German Winegrowers' Association. This is because biological diversity is currently low in many wine-growing regions and in no way corresponds to their potential. However, many winegrowers would be prepared to implement measures to promote biodiversity - but the practical knowledge to do so is lacking, and there is a lack of advisory services and tailor-made support programmes. This is where the new project "AMBITO - Development and Application of a Modular Biodiversity Toolkit for Winegrowing in Germany" comes in: As a first step, Fair and Green is advising 30 model wine estates nationwide on how they can promote biodiversity in their work. At the same time, a digital handbook with proposed measures will be developed, which will help to reach a much larger number of wine estates. The Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences is advising and researching accompanying innovative measures as to how more biodiversity can be promoted in and around the vineyard and which socio-economic framework conditions must be created in order to strengthen biodiversity in viticulture in the long term. "Besides climate change, the constant loss of species is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Research and practice must work hand in hand to slow down this trend and reverse it in the long term. We expect to gain many new insights from this large-scale and long-term project," says Prof. Dr. Hans Reiner Schultz, President of the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences.

The project is aimed at winegrowing enterprises in all wine-growing regions of Germany and includes both self-marketing wine estates and winegrowing enterprises in cooperatives and wineries. Through lighthouse farms in each region as well as through regional biodiversity forums, the project will invite other interested wine estates to participate. "Right from the start, we wanted to develop a system that does not make purely black-and-white decisions, but supports winegrowers in finding solutions. We are very pleased that with this project we now have an instrument that enables us to work with numerous winegrowing enterprises in Germany beyond our certification system. We will hold biodiversity forums in all wine-growing regions and invite all interested companies to participate", says Dr. Keith Ulrich, chairman and initiator of Fair and Green e.V.

The implementation of the National Strategy on Biological Diversity (NBS) has been supported by the Federal Biodiversity Programme since 2011. Funding is provided for projects that are of representative importance for the whole country within the framework of the NBS or that implement this strategy in a particularly exemplary manner. The measures supported contribute to halting the decline of biological diversity in Germany and to reversing the positive trend in the medium to long term. They serve the protection, sustainable use and development of biological diversity and go beyond the legally required standards. Acceptance-building measures of information and communication help to strengthen social awareness of biological diversity.

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