The case study region „Münsterland“ (6752 km²) is located in north-west Germany (Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia). It compiles five counties (Steinfurt, Borken, Coesfeld, Recklinghausen und Warendorf) and the city of Münster (about 310.000 inhabitants). It is a small-structured agricultural landscape, also known as ‚Münsterländer park landscape‘. The region is dominated by agriculture, more than fifty percent (52 %) of the regional area is dominated by arable land and less than twenty percent (14 %) by grassland. Forests (16 %) are of secondary importance. The urban areas cover 13 % of the whole region. The agriculturally shaped landscape is part of a bigger intensive livestock breeding region, with production of fodder, food and energy crops. The energy region “Münsterland” is based on a broad production of renewable energy by photovoltaic systems, wind power and biogas pants.
Short facts about the region
Characteristics of the regions
The focus of livestock farming is on pig fattening, piglet breeding, dairy farming and bull fattening. Poultry farming is of minor importance.
Cultivated crops are wheat, barley, corn maize, which are used mainly for fodder production and also for conventional farming of food crops. The cultivation of special crops: vegetables (e.g. asparagus on sandy soils, salad, onions, cabbage) and field fruits (e.g. strawberries) is of regional importance, for example to supply the market in the city of Münster.
The “energy region” has a diverse portfolio of renewable energy like photovoltaic systems, wind power plants, and biogas plants. Investments in biogas production from energy crops now stagnated due to enhanced rental prices for farmland and high product prices for market crops.
Significant resources of the region
SALBES’s aim is to identify, maintain and facilitate species and species groups of open agricultural land (e.g. field birds, insects, other wild animals and floristic species) and their habitats, primarily by two components: encompassing elements and functions of green infrastructure and developing adaptive management strategies integrated in agricultural production systems. Both components will be analysed and discussed by the research group and accompany and facilitate by regional stakeholders within a co-design process.
The arising pressure on agricultural used land and the small structured landscape with small arable fields leads to intensive farming management strategies. Characteristic species of open agricultural land (e.g. field birds, insects, other wild animals and plant species) are threatened by current management strategies. Some projects aim to improve the situation (e.g. by introducing flower strips). The maintenance, further development, improvement of habitat function and (re)connection of already existing green infrastructure elements (e.g. forest edges, hedgerows, small water bodies, like ditches and small water courses) can support such approaches.