Development of innovative methods for the mapping of grassland management practices
Grassland ecosystems are widely spread in the alps and the foothills of the alps of southern Germany and cover an area of more than one million hectares. From an economical point of view, grasslands are precious as they provide fodder for dairy and cattle farming. In addition to their economic value, they fulfill important ecosystem functions such as the storage of carbon and nitrogen, water retention, protection against erosion and biodiversity. However, changes in climate, land use and grassland management jeopardize the multiple functions provided by grasslands. The aim of the SUSALPS (“Sustainable use of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate”) project is to improve our knowledge on the effects of current and future climate and management on ecosystem functions performed by grasslands. Based on this improved knowledge, sustainable management options for grasslands in the alps and the foothills of the alps will be developed.
Within the SUSALPS project, DLR develops innovative approaches to map grassland management practices (e.g. harvest frequency) based on the synergetic use of optical and radar satellite data. The grassland usage intensity will be mapped for all grassland areas within the Ammer catchment for the years 2019 – 2021. Furthermore, it will be tested how well indicators for biomass and fodder quality can be derived for large areas. These metrics are important input parameters for the biochemical and socio-economical modelling which is conducted during the second phase of the SUSALPS project.
The partner consortium under the lead of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) comprises the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the University of Bayreuth (Chair of Disturbance Ecology and Professorship of Ecological Services), the University of Würzburg, the Helmholtz Center Munich, the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture (LfL) and the company “WWL Umweltplanung und Geoinformatik GbR”. SUSALPS II is a research project funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) under the research initiative "BonaRes - Soil as a sustainable resource for the bioeconomy" (Grant 031B0027 A-E).