Ecological agriculture

Long-term research on the effects of Ecofarming on biotic and abiotic resources ("Hof Ritzerau", Northern Germany)


Research Project Information

Runtime: Since 2001-03-01


Contact: Prof. Dr. H. Roweck

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. H. Roweck

Scientific staff: Dr. Christiane Eschenbach; MSc. N. Schulz; MSc. T. Tiedemann; Dipl. Geogr. Christian Winkler; Dr. Lars Schröter; Dipl. Biol. Bernd Koop; Dr. Detlef Kolligs; Nikolaj Savenko; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Irmler; Dr. Kirsten Rücker; Ali Mongol; Hui Zhang; Andreas Rinker; Dipl. Inf. Friedel Hosenfeld; Dipl. agr. Katharina Lohaus

Technical staff: Dipl. Des. Doris Kramer; Mona Dahmen (Fotodesign)

Former staff: Dr. Dirk Lorenzen; Dr. Günther Gubi; MSc. Derk Westphal; MSc. David Nannen; Dr. Helge Neumann; Dr. Sanna Matz; Dr. Stefan Reiß; Dr. Ulrike Werban; Dipl. Biol. Oliver Geweke

Cooperation partner(s): Institut für Agrarökonomie, Universität Kiel; Institut für Pflanzenpathologie und Pflanzenschutz, Universität Göttingen; Institut für Pflanzenbau und Pflanzenzüchtung, Grünland und Futterbau - Ökologischer Landbau, Universität Kiel; Institut für Digitale Systemanalyse & Landschaftsdiagnose (Digsyland)

Contractor(s): Prof. Dr. Günther Fielmann

The farm “Hof Ritzerau” is situated approximately 60 km northeast of Hamburg in Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern county of Germany. About 70 % of the farmland is arable land, 10 % grassland, the rest is composed of small water bodies, hedgerows, shrubs etc. Originally, “Hof Ritzerau” was farmed with conventional methods. Since 2001 the new owner gradually altered management to organic farming. Scientists from various disciplines and different research institutes form an interdisciplinary project focussing on the effects of organic farming on animals, plants, crop production, crop diseases, soils and economics. Within theses fields different methods are carried out including field work, laboratory experiments and modelling. Spatial explicit results are visualised by the means of GIS.

The whole research project is in close collaboration with the manager and the owner of the farm, the local environmental agencies and the local forest officials. This allows that new management systems can be tested and implemented directly on site. There is also a great chance to combine landuse systems, both in forests and the agricultural landscape.



Chronological structure of the project “Hof Ritzerau”

I. Phase, 2001–2003: Inventory of the status quo. Analysis of the effects of landuse changes on biotic and abiotic resources and creation of new management concepts.

  • Mapping of vegetation, soiltypes and -properties
  • Inventory of the initial hydrological situation, collection of hydrological and hydrochemical data
  • Species inventory of Carabidae, Staphylinidae, earthworm, amphibians, birds and vascular plants
  • Collection and creation of digital data basics such as a digital elevation model, long-term climate data, historical and geomorphological maps at different scales etc.
  • Computer-aided landscape analysis for “Hof Ritzerau” and its catchment areas (determination of sensitive areas according to soil-erosion, nitrate leaching etc.)
  • Ecohydrological analysis and monitoring of the effects of landuse change and rewetting of formerly drained minerotrophic fen
  • Analysis of the effects of different landuse systems on flora and fauna
  • Evaluation of various crop rotations, sowing experiments (Bicropping)
  • Creation and implementation of management strategies
  • Reestablishment of arable weed vegetation by sowing
  • Grazing concepts


II. Phase, from 2004: Monitoring

Thanks to long-term funding by the owner, Günther Fielmann, a continuous monitoring on various levels is possible.

Prof. Dr. H. Roweck, Ecology-Center, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, ,

U. Hoernes, Ecology-Center, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel,

Project Structure

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