Landscape and Health

Possibilities to generate added value of the ecosystem services of meadow orchards

Sarah Pflüger, M.Sc, Dr. Maike Petersen, Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund


As part of this project, the current and potential suitability of meadow orchards for therapeutic concepts is to be examined using an integrative approach. The basis is the evaluation of drone aerial photographs of orchards at individual tree level, terrestrial inventories and environmental-psychological analyzes to generate possible usage requirements for orchards. In addition to generating added value for ecosystem services to protect meadow orchards, the aims of the project are concepts for landscape planning of cultivated landscapes dominated by meadow orchards with health-promoting appearances.


Meadow orchards are defined as extensively managed agroforestry systems, which are composed of permanent grassland and medium to tall fruit trees. In addition to numerous positive ecological properties, meadow orchards have a high aesthetic value and reflect the character of the state of Baden-Württemberg like hardly any other landscape. Although various actors from politics, administration, research and numerous private individuals have dealt intensively with the topic of orchards and their conservation, results and forecasts show that the measures taken so far are not sufficient to slow down or stop the almost linear decline in stocks. The motivation of the project is therefore to focus the investigation on the aesthetic added value of the ecosystem services of meadow orchards as a basis for their preservation. Based on studies of the potential of orchards within therapeutic landscapes, an added value of the ecosystem service can be generated, which in turn underlines the protection status of these endangered landscape structures. 
The appearance of various meadow orchards is very diverse due to numerous parameters, such as the variability of tree species, age and condition of the trees or the variety of planting arrangements. In addition, the areas are influenced in their recreational function by various external factors such as environmental noise. The first thing to do is to use quantitative data collection to find out what structure a stock should have in order to achieve the best possible therapeutic effect. For this purpose, the project partner Dr. Eike von Lindern from DialogN first identifies possible usage requirements for orchards in therapeutic-clinical fields of work on the basis of surveys. From these results, relevant structural parameters can be used for a subsequent landscape analysis. On the one hand, this is based on a remote-sensing inventory analysis of meadow orchards in selected sample regions, which is partly based on the results of the already completed project recording, evaluating and imparting meadow orchards. On the other hand, terrestrial recordings of inventory characteristics by Prof. Dr. Christian Küpfer from StadtLandFluss to assess the current and potential suitability of orchards for therapy-related measures. Finally, a concept is to be developed as to how meadow orchards can be classified in their potential as a therapeutic landscape based on a landscape structure analysis (e.g. heterogeneity analyses).

Project period: 01.11.2022-31.10.2024
This project is funded by the Ministerium für Ernährung, Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg (MLR).  


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