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Sustainable use of alpine and pre-alpine grassland soils in a changing climate

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 biodiviersity. However, changes in climate, land use and grassland managenent jeopardize the multiple functions provided by grasslands.

The aim of the SUSALPS project is to improve our knowledge on the effects of current and future climate and management on ecosystem functions performed by grasslands. In the process, the general framework of the socio-economy of the specific geographic region will be considered. Based on this improved knowledge, sustainable management options for grasslands in the alps and the foothills of the alps will be developed. These management options will be especially designed to support the climate protection function of grassland soils.

Outcomes of the survey on climate change, agriculture and nature conservation

From January to September 2020, 617 citizens and 350 farmers participated in the SUSALPS survey on climate change, agriculture and nature conservation. The surveys took place in the pre-alpine Ammer catchment (districts of Weilheim-Schongau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and in the Upper Franconian catchment of the Red and White Main (districts of Bayreuth and Kulmbach).

The findings of the survey are summarised in the report "Grünland im Spannungsfeld von Klimawandel, Landwirtschaft und Naturschutz" or are available via the following link (in German only):


Brunnenkopfalm - time for the cattle to return to the valley

Summer is coming to an end and for the cattle of the regrazing project on the Brunnenkopfalm, this means it is time to return to the valley. Since 2018, cattle from local farmers have been coming to the alpine pasture every...[more]

Feature on SUSALPS experiments in the regional magazine tassilo

The July/August 2021 issue of tassilo, a regional magazine based in the Weilheim and Murnau area, reported on SUSALPS and the long-term grassland experiments at the Fendt, Rottenbuch and Graswang TERENO experimental sites. The...[more]

Effects of drought threaten reproduction of subalpine species in a warmer climate

The change in phenological processes are one of the most obvious features of the changing climate. An example of this is the earlier greening up or onset of flowering. These earlier-in-the-year processes, caused by the...[more]

New publication on citizens' and farmers' perceptions of ecosystem services

In addition to forage production, grasslands provide other valuable ecosystem services such as climate regulation, erosion mitigation, and recreation. A new SUSALPS study, published in the journal Ecosystem Services, shows that...[more]