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Collaborative project: Satellite-based information for grassland management. Subproject 1 (SattGrün)


Project code: 2818300716
Contract period: 01.12.2017 - 28.02.2021
Budget: 316,657 Euro
Purpose of research: Applied research
Keywords: climate (climate relevance, climate protection, climate change), monitoring, cultivation, precision farming, resource protection, resource efficiency, digital world, grassland, grasses

Permanent grassland accounts for 28% of Germany's agricultural area and thus has a landscape-shaping character. Its main supply service is the production of milk and meat, through the use of grassland as a high-quality basic feed. In addition, grassland contributes to the regulation of the natural environment as a habitat of numerous plant and animal species, due to carbon sequestration in the soil, flood and erosion protection and the filtration function for rainwater. The preservation of traditional forms of use of the meadows and pastures and the resulting landscapes also ensure the scenic cultural heritage. The long-term preservation of grassland-based ecosystem services can only be ensured by means of continuous, site-specific, market-oriented and environmentally sound management and care, which at the same time must be innovative and future-oriented. Grassland management in accordance with these objectives is subject to a complex decision-making process which involves a large number of information. In today's high-technology work environment, farmers increasingly rely on digital information systems. The aim of the project outlined here is the development of innovative products from the combination of satellite data and simulation models. These products are intended to provide the farmer with up-to-date and tailor-made information to optimise mowing dates, fertiliser applications and other measures, incorporating aspects of selected ecosystem services (in particular production and regulation services) into the decision-making criteria. The main focus of the research approach is the development of simple web-based decision-making aids as a free information offer. This offer is supplemented by a commercial site-specific consulting through specialised enterprises. The project is divided into seven work packages, which map the information flow from the satellite to the user. In Work Package 1, the image information of the various satellites is first processed and converted into products which transport information relevant to grassland. These are based on the derivation of phenomenological metrics from combined optical and radar time series as well as on radiation transfer models. For this purpose, extensive validation of the methods using data obtained from monitoring areas, practitioners’ fields and field experiments are provided (WP3). In WP 2, the products are used to derive variables that are used in biophysical simulation models for processes in grassland ecosystems. These variables are assimilated into the models, a workflow of which some are already implemented. For specific research questions the assimilation processes will be set up within the framework of the project. The models used simulate dynamics of biomass, soil moisture, carbon and nitrogen levels in the soil and the population of competing species. The simulation of these variables is also validated by means of data from monitoring areas, practitioners’ fields and field experiments (WP 3). In WP 4, the simulation models are used to simulate the required variables for describing ecosystem services and for decision-making criteria for grassland management. These variables are then fed into two utilisation paths: along the first, indicators are derived for decision-making support. Here, field accessibility, optimal mowing date and hay dryness are assessed and offered both free of costs on the web and through consulting within commercial software (WP 5). Along the second, individual models are used to summarise certain information at the regional scale and compare it in scenarios. This synthesis at larger area scales is particularly aimed at policy advice on sustainable grassland management in Germany (WP 6). Research work is coordinated in WP 7.

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