Integrated agro-forestry ecosystems in South Africa

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AgriWaterSystems  - Optimization of irrigation and evapotranspiration in agriculture 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. The establishment of shelterbelts will reduce the wind speed and effects the water supply in the agricultural fields.  Aim of the project is to determine the effects of shelterbelts on the evapotranspiration in the winelands near Stellenbosch. [2016-2017]


AgroSolarSystems  - an integrated Agro-Forestry-Energy approach to land use

With increasing population land will be a more and more precious resource. This fact and the South African development targets of growing the economy and economic empowerment of the population will increase the energy demands drastically. 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. (more..) [2014-2017]

Agroforestry systems in Central Europe

  • Tree ecophysiology of agroforestry systems in Brandenburg
    In 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. Our research focus on the ecophysiology and stress physiology of poplars (Populus spec.), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and  willows (Salix spec.). Aim is to determined the water consumption and nutrient efficiency of the trees in relation to biomass production. (more…)


Modelling photosynthesis and carbon fluxes of agroforestry systems

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. Hence, biochemical photosynthesis models are widely used to estimate diurnal and annual carbon uptake on the leaf level and scaling up to predict carbon fluxes on the canopy level.  (more…[2013-ongoing]


Ecophysiology of Robinia pseudoacacia

Black locust (Robinia pseudoaccacia L.) is an important tree species in Central and Eastern Europe. In Central Europe, Robinia pseudoacacia L. is known to be relatively drought tolerant compared to other temperate deciduous tree species. As a pioneer species the tree grows under a wide range of conditions and is used for reclamation of former open-cast lignite mining areas in Brandenburg and cultivated in short-rotation plantations for the production of bioenergy wood. In order to evaluate the growth and ecophysiological performance of Black locust to drought stress, we established several controlled experiments to study the morphological and ecophysiological adaptation of the tree under different water regimes and air temperatures. (more[2010-2013]

Nitrogen and photosynthesis of willows and poplars

The sustainability of short-rotation plantations depends on the supply and maintanance of water and dissolved nutrients in order to meet the demand of the plants. The efficient use of nitrogen is important for maintaining or increasing biomass yields and reducing environmental impacts. We study  the effect of nitrogen fertilization on chlorophyll content and photosynthetic performance of poplars (Populus maximovizcii × P. nigra clone Max 4) and willows  (more[2012-2013]

Bioenergy crops in Central Europe


Igniscum - a new bioenergy crop

The new cultivars IGNISCUM Candy and IGNISCUM Basic of the Sakhalin Knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis, Fam. Polygonaceae) are new bioenergy crops, which are characterized by a high annual biomass production. Information on the crop production of this species is rare. Hence, understanding plant response to the combinations of water and nutrients availability is crucial for the development of sustainable plant production. Field experiments are arranged under different climatic and soil conditions across Germany from Schleswig-Holstein to southern Germany to investigate the plant growth on the field scale. (more)  [2010-2013]


Sida hermaphrodita 

Virginia Mallow (Sida hermaphrodita)  is a perennial herb and can be found from the Appalachin Mountains to the Mississipi and the Atlantic watershed. Here the plant is able to grow on sandy soils with fairly low nutrient content. The stems have a high concentration of cellulose, resisns and wax. The plant can reach up to 3 m in height. The lifespan is for at least 15-20 years. The dry stems are harvested between January and March before new stems to start to emerge.  (more)  [2011-2013]

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