Environmental Physiology of Agricultural Landscapes


Shelterbelts on a vineyard near Stellenbosch (South Africa)Microclimate and evapotranspiration in a vineyards (Stellenbosch, South Africa)Agroforestry site Neu Sacro, BrandenburgEcophysiology - photosynthesis and water use efficiencyModeling carbon fluxes - from the leaf to the standsInvestigation of light environment in agroforestry systemsGrowth analysis with dendrometersAgroforestry system with poplarInfluence of agroforestry systems on microclimate and crop production


Planted hedgerows have a long-term tradition as land-use systems in various European landscapes, primary in Denmark, North Germany and England. Planting of trees and shrubs into agricultural systems have economical benefits as they provide timber and and fuelwood and other products. It is well recognized, that these shelterbelts enhance biodiversity and have positive effects on the ecosystem functioning. In those contemporary agroforestry systems, selection of tree species and their management are more economically oriented towards an optimizing biomass production, use and harvest, especially in short-rotation systems for bioenergy. 

Focus of our research are physiological processes of trees and crops in agroforestry systems and their relations to microclimate and soil properties. We investigate the influence of shelterbeils on crop physiological performances.


AgroSolarSystems - Development of an integrated Agro-Forestry-Energy approach in the Western Cape, South Africa

The Western Cape Province in South Africa is characterized by a high evaporation and high wind speeds, which have implications on crop water demands and on water availability in the region. In particular in the last decade, the cultivation of wine and other irrigated orchards increased in the region.In fact South Africa is currently losing agricultural land by soil erosion processes, which must be countered. The project AgroSolarSystems should provide innovative solutions by integrating agroforestry land use systems with energy production to solve erosion problems and provide a combined production of energy and agricultural goods. A focus is on the reduction of wind speed in a vineyard near Stellenbosch. With the proposed integrated project the concept is tested with real data from a pilot farm in the West Coast and implementation plans are created. The establishment of shelterbelts will reduce the wind speed and effects the water supply in the agricultural fields.

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Water use, photosynthesis and carbon fluxes of fast-growing trees in temperate agroforestry systems in Brandenburg

For a better understanding of biomass production of fast-growing trees in agroforestry systems more detailed ecophysiological informations and their annual carbon balances are required. Carbon gain by photosynthesis is a predominant factor for plant growth and to estimate biomass allocation at the tree, stand and landscape level. Our specific objectives are, therefore, to developed a leaf carbon model driven by light and modulated by temperature and air humidity. The seasonal variation of CO2 uptake and release can be then modeled and up-scaled to estimate the annual carbon fluxes of sun and shade leaves of black locust and poplars in agroforestry system.The research is carried out at an agroforestry systems near Neu Sacro (Brandenburg) in cooperation with Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Chair of Soil Protection and Recultivation and the University of Hohenheim, Institute of Botany. 

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