Ecological hiking trail - Stop 12:
|Where trees can live, humans can live.
The Nursery has to confine their services to the mowing of grass and the disposal of waste in the park. This is normally done in mid-June and in late August or early September at the latest. The accumulation of foliage that fell to the ground remains there and becomes much-needed humus, which is a prerequisite for biodiversity. The decomposition of the foliage is usually completed in late May. Apart from that, the area is not fertilized.
Below are listed some of the plants that are can be found in the park:
Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
Miscellaneous speedwells (Veronica spec.)
Miscellaneous shade-loving grass
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorasa)
Blue Anemone (Anemone blanda)
Miscellaneous botanical crocuses
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
Botanical tulip (Tulipa tarda)
Narcissuses (Narcissus poeticus)
Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
Sage Apple (Pushkinia libanotica)
Snake’s Head (Fritillaria meleagris)
|It is the beauty of flowers that is oftentimes useless, which means not meaningless
“In nature, there is nothing more important, not a thing more worthy of consideration, than soil.” (Frederick Albert Fallou, 1862) – “A nation destroying its soil is destroying itself.” (Anonymous)
Soil is the basis of human livelihood. We settle down and live on soil, we grow our food and forage plants on soil. Soil acts as a filter which cleanses water. We extract raw materials from soil. Soil is of the utmost value to us – we can and must protect it!Many people deem soil to be an inanimate and dark thing. But only one (1) gram of soil contains billions of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoans (e.g. threadworms, earthworms, mites, woodlice, larvae, etc.). Thus, one hectare contains 15 tons of microorganisms, or the combined weight of 15 cows. Life is possible solely in the soil’s hollow spaces, which are filled with water and air. Therefore, the practice of soil compression in agriculture is dangerous to our soil and so is the excessive development of urban areas and infrastructure and the sealing off of soil accompanying this process.
Soil and water
Rain water seeps through soil. The filter effect of soil, and hence the protection of soil, is crucial for securing our drinking water supply since 65% of our drinking water is extracted from the ground water.
Germany’s per capita consumption of drinking water amounts to about 140 liters per head and day (trade and industry not included). This, in turn, amounts to 51,100 liters a year per head. Every citizen needs an arable acreage of 16 m² in size to meet that amount. For that reason, the increasing sealing off of soil in Germany is a serious problem, not to mention the pollution and overfertilization (even in private gardens!).
Soil and climate
Soil contributes to an equable climate. It is above all the flora growing on soil that ensure temperatures remain moderate. Almost everyone has experienced the difference on a hot day between the sweltering temperatures in inner cities caused by the sealing off of soil and the more moderate temperatures in a park, at a river, or in the countryside.
Soil is valuable…
…because it can store and break down pollutants. Pollutants produced by humans can be partly retained and be partly broken down. This process is supported by microorganisms in the soil. Nevertheless, the filtering and buffering effect of soil should not be overexerted.
… because it can tell stories. Soil has been part of our earth for thousands of years. Different types of soil were created in the course of a complex interplay between different kinds of rock, climate, and vegetation. These differences can be best observed in the various layers of soil. Humans, too, left their mark on soil. Thus, soil is an archive of natural and cultural history.
… because it is a treasure trove. Humans always made use of mineral resources: building materials such as clay, loam, and gravel, ore and salt, or fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Gems, gold, and silver are as popular as they were in the past. Today, another natural resource is becoming more and more significant, even though this resource is merely at the developing stage: geothermal heat.Geothermal heat will cover a great part of our energy supply. The cultivation of soil by humans often harms soil. Thus, it is crucial to protect soil by measures such as recultivation. The damaged soil must be stabilized in order to ensure a sustainable development in the future.
Our soil is endangered!
|-||by dumping of waste, accidents, leaking pipes, fertilizers, pesticides, air pollutants, etc.|
|-||by salinization in arid regions (e.g. Iraq, Iran,…)|
|-||by acidification: input of acids such as sulfuric acid into the air (traffic, household, industry, agriculture)|
|-||by drugs, which are produced and consumed in growing amounts in the last decades (e.g. antibiotics, hormones,…)|
|-||by genetic engineering|
|-||by climate change|
|-||by overbuilding (Germany: 12% of land is overbuilt by development and infrastructure; there is 130 ha of excessive development added each day)|
|-||by soil erosion, which is either a natural process (e.g. wind erosion in areas with little vegetation) or created by human hand (e.g. excessive cultivation of soil, clearing of rain forests,…). Erosion poses the biggest threat to soil worldwide.|
The protection of soil needs many helping hands! The protection of soil regards everyone!
Excerpt from: Advisory Board Soil Protection with the Minister of Environment, Environmental Protection, and Nuclear Protection SafetyOriginal title: “Ohne Boden – bodenlos”, December 2002