to the Research Group Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning

The Research Group of " Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning" is part of the Institute of Landscape Ecology (ILÖK) of the University of Münster. The aim of the working group is to contribute to sustainable development in general and to nature conservation strategies and ecological planning methods in particular. We want to build bridges into the future and transfer research from universities into society. We are strong in doing real fieldwork based on classical species surveys and complemented by remote sensing techniques such as UAS data or GIS. In addition, we work intensively with qualitative methods of social research. We believe that natural and social sciences must complement each other in landscape ecology.

Study News

Hand Tillmann 2zu1
Research News

Forschung Lehmann 2zu1
Recent Activities
© B. Kupilas

Everything new or already normality?
The spread of the Corona 2019 virus means change on many levels: A university without students, relocation of activities to the home office, a ban on field research and excursions, shut down of experiments - all these are circumstances that we will have to get used to and hopefully soon will overcome.
Nevertheless, it is also a time to reflect on how we have lived (so far), in what dependence we have tied our existence and our daily life to the global flow of goods, how vulnerable our complex society actually is.
We in the AG ÖKOPLAN are currently thinking about how we can organize the summer semester. Online meetings and collaborative work will not only take place in cooperation with partners from other countries or projects but also at our home university. The picture shows the meeting of a working group from the project internship in M7.
Everything you currently need to know about the courses can be found here.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

© Multec

New research facility at the Münstersche Aa (River)
The construction of the mesocosm facility plant has begun. This comprehensive research approach is intended to find out how various stressors affect the macrozoobenthos community of sandy lowland streams. For this purpose, water from the river Aa will be channelled through 32 mesocosms, which are endowed with a biocoenosis of the river bed of the Vechte. The innovative aspect of this approach is that the mesocosms were specially designed for this system by I. Lober, T. Buttschardt and F. Hotz and printed by Multec (see illustration). The mesomosms consist of corn starch (PLA). In connection with this project, which is financed by the third-party initialising funding of Geosciences department (FB14)  and was designed by B. Kupilas, a case study and a master thesis in M.Sc. Water Sciences, a bachelor thesis in B.Sc. Landscape Ecology and the project course in M7 M.Sc. Landscape Ecology will be carried out in summer term 2020. Learn more on the Limnolab website.

3rd NABU - ILÖK conference on insect decline presented results of the GrünSchatz project (15.02.2020)
On 15.02.2020 the 3rd conference on insect decline was held at the Institute for Landscape Ecology of the WWU Münster. In this context the results of the GrünSchatz project were presented in a workshop. Biogas production as a contribution to an energetic transformation, promotion of biodiversity, avoidance of the use of toxins on arable land and groundwater protection do not have to be mutually exclusive. Furthermore, it has been shown that farmers are very positively disposed towards the cultivation of perennial wild plant mixtures for biogas production. The reduced yields of around EUR 270/ha are comparatively low and could be rewarded within the framework of EU agricultural subsidies (Greening, AECM) or contractual nature conservation or within the framework of production-integrated compensation measures. Please find the presentation here.

Nutrition Council founded
On Friday, February 7, 2020 the kick-off event of the "Ernährungsrat Münster i.G." took place with more than 120 participants. The aim of the Nutrition Council is to establish a resilient, fair and public welfare oriented food system in Münster, which is characterised by e.g. seasonal and regional food from fair and sustainable production. To achieve this goal, five working groups were founded. Sophia Schröder, Master student of Landscape Ecology at the Institute of Landscape Ecology, is spokesperson of the first working group "Food Supply". In the working group, knowledge is to be bundled and projects initiated and supported which promote the establishment of regional food cycles. The working group deals with the question of what a sustainable agriculture in the belt around Münster could look like.

© C. Steinhäuser

Poster presentations
At the Young Researchers Day of the Department of Earth Sciences on 24.01.2020, PhD students* and postdocs presented their current research work. The Working Group Ecological Planning was represented with several posters from the EUfMAa and the BIOBRAS project, among others. Also César Pedrosa Soares (picture with Prof. Dr. Tillmann Buttschardt) from the USP presented his work.

© T. Buttschardt

On to new shores!
We bid farewell to longtime companions:
Witold Arndt accompanied the working group from the beginning and was an invaluable support and help not only in (geo)technical details and questions! It is not less than an era that is coming to an end.
Dr. Jan R.K. Lehmann has also been involved for almost a decade and has established UAV-based remote sensing in the working group and at the ILÖK. It is therefore only logical that he will move to the research group of Prof. Dr. Hannah Meyer. As AG Ökoplan, we will continue to work closely together in the future.
At this point we would like to thank you for your presence, your support and the wonderful time! What happens now? Freely adapted from K. Massei: "Continue to sign the Book of the Earth, continue to decide on its path. It is in the hands of the people who write, in the signs they set, what happens to the earth" - and with the people and the relationships among themselves. Once again: Thank you guys!
A new path is also beginning for Viola Krone: she is expecting a baby and is on maternity and parental leave until the beginning of next summer. This is so wonderful and we wish her all the best for this exciting and important time!

© AG Ökoplan

DAAD scholarship holders in the AG Ökoplan
The close cooperation with Brazilian partner universities is currently being revived by guests: From the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Laboratório de Ecologia e Evolução de Plantas - LEEP), Herval Vieira Pinto Junior (1st from left) and Alex Pires Coelho (4th from left) are currently guests of the BIOBRAS project. Both are botanists and work on inselbergs and secondary successions in Atlantic rainforests. Their work combines earlier research questions from the Research Group with the current work of the DAAD-funded project and various theses.
César Pedrosa Soares (3rd from left) is funded by the Brazil Centre of the EMU within the framework of the cooperation project WWU.USP. He works on offset policies and socioeconomic and environmental inequalities: a critical look at Brazilian territories.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

© Netzwerk Wasser

The next lecture in the context of the lecture series WasserWissen will take place on Wednesday, 20.11.2019, at 18:15 in the lecture hall B008 of the University of Applied Sciences Münster in Corrensstraße 25.
Johanna Buss M.Sc. and Saskia Rohrer M.Sc. from WWU Münster will speak on the topic of
"172 km² diversity in the Münsterland - hydrochemical and biological investigation in the catchment area of the Münster Aa
We cordially invite you to join us!

The lecture reports from the DBU-funded project: Watercourse development of heavily modified river systems.

© C. Steinhäuser

Dr. Cornelia Steinhäuser is currently visiting the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. It is an exciting region. It lies directly north of Buenos Aires and belongs to the Argentine "Mesopotamia", i.e. between the rivers Uruguay and Paraná. It is characterized by wetlands and river meadows, but the intensive agriculture there is also very strong. The research trip serves to prepare a project application and is funded by the Department of Geosciences.
On 13.11.2019 Dr. Steinhäuser will give a lecture at the Centro de Capacitación Integral (CECAIN) of INTA, EEA Paraná on the topic: Iniciativas y movimientos agroecológicos en Alemania. It deals with agro-ecological initiatives and movements in Germany.

2nd BIOBRAS Summerschool


Wild fires in the Serra do Cipó
© Ricardo Solar
  • UAV photo Serra do Cipó
    © Jan Lehmann
  • fieldwork
    © Ricardo Solar
  • students talks
    © AG Ökoplan
  • before take off
    © T. Buttschardt
  • River crossing
    © T. Buttschardt
  • In the earl morning at the LTER-site climatic station
    © T. Butschardt
  • Ricardo Solar organized the Summer School from the Brazil side
    © Ricardo Solar
  • an Ipe - the iconic tree of Brazil
    © Ricardo Solar
  • Prof. Marcos Callisto teaches the brazilian protocol
    © Ricardo Solar
  • Prof. Tillmann Buttschardt teaches the german protocol
    © Ricardo Solar
  • View to Belo Horizonte
    © AG Ökoplan
  • Lecture
    © Jan Lehmann
  • Traverssao
    © Ricardo Solar
  • pesquisa = research
    © Jan Lehmann
  • Snapshot in Cerrado
    © Nico Espadrilha
  • Group picture in INHOTIM Botanic Garden and Arts Museum
    © Ricardo Solar

The world is currently looking to New York, where the 72nd United Nations General Assembly will focus primarily on climate protection and the fires in the Amazon. Since this topic is of the utmost importance also in Münster, it is rightly negotiated so prominently. Less well known, however, is the fact that the Cerrado, one of the most species-rich ecosystems in the world, which alone is home to 4800 endemic animal and plant species, is even more severely affected by deforestation, fires and land use change than the South American forest ecosystems. In the context of the second BIOBRAS Summer School from 10-28.09.2019, Cerrado, Campos rupestres and Cangas will be regarded as so-called "neglected ecosystems" and researched in the Serra do Cipó and Serra do Gandarela. What is special about this summer school is that three universities from two countries (WWU, UFMG and UFV) work together and, above all, that a total of 22 Bachelor and Master students, doctoral students and postdocs as well as a total of 4 professors work together. The summer school is funded by the DAAD. The core concept of the partnership is the integration of teaching into research projects. Among other things, modules for distance learning (webinars, video lectures) are developed in order to make the basics and latest findings available to all partners and the general public. Classical and modern field methods (UAV) as well as a thorough discussion of theoretical concepts (e.g. OCBIL) are applied, also through the contribution of numerous scientists and practitioners from the local institutions.

Annual Meeting of the GfÖ 2019 - 09 - 13 September 2019 in Münster, Germany

With the conference motto wasser.leben.zukunft, the annual conference of the German Society for Limnology refers to the past UN Decade of "Water for Life" in order to span the arc from current problem fields and new findings to future water-related challenges, which will to be addressed by science, society and politics. The theme of the conference therefore fits in perfectly with the objectives of the Ökoplan research group, which is involved in the conference on several occasions.


  • A02: Diversitäty and Ekologie of aquatic communities
    Moderation: Benjamin Kupilas, Caroline Winking
  • Spurenstoffbelastungen der Münsterschen Aa im jahreszeitlichen Wandel
    Johanna Buss; Saskia Rohrer; Christine Achten; Tillmann Buttschardt
  • Fließgewässermetabolismus als funktioneller Indikator  zur Bewertung von ökologischen Verbesserungen – eine Untersuchung an der Emscher-Versuchsstrecke
    Christian Lieske; Caroline Winking; Benjamin Kupilas; Mario Sommerhäuser; Jens Haberkamp
  • Wanted: Groppe - auf Spurensuche in der Vechte
    Diehle, Naomi, Julia Fröhlich, Jan Philip Josten, Ines Lober, Patrick Günner, Christian Edler, Tillmann Buttschardt
  • Litterbags – ein funktionaler Indikator zur Fließgewässerbewertung im Test an der Münsterschen Aa
    Per-Olaf Walter; Benjamin Kupilas
  • Der Biber – unterschätzter Entwicklungshelfer für NRWs Gewässer?
    Ramona Hinz; Sarah Gerritzen; Verena Haupt; Lukas Iking; Jan R.K. Lehmann; Rainer Mohn; Elisabeth I. Meyer; Ingo Bünning
  • Bewertung von Gewässerrenaturierungen am Beispiel der Münsterschen Aa: ergänzende Methoden für ein ganzheitliches Monitoring
    Mike Müller; Leonie Bley; Melanie Diepenbruck; Sabrina Fehlhaber; Michel Harre; Jasmin Meyer; Friederike Schumann; Lelaina Teichert; Benjamin Kupilas
  • Gewässerökologische Untersuchungen im FFH Gebiet Berkel zur Erstellung eines geeigneten Maßnahmenkonzeptes
    Ramona Winkens; Franziska Roßocha; Jannik Düllmann; Julia Fröhlich; Benjamin Kupilas; Patrick Günner; Saskia Rohrer; Christian Edler; Birgit Stephan; Stefan
    Platz; Tillmann Buttschardt
  • 172 km2 Vielfalt im Münsterland – biologische und hydrochemische Untersuchungen in der Münsterschen Aa
    Saskia Rohrer; Johanna Buss; Benjamin Kupilas; Christine Achten; Tillmann Buttschardt

Annual Meeting of the GfÖ 2019 - 09 - 13 September 2019 in Münster, Germany

As part of the GfÖ conference, the RG Ecological Planning presented a session entitled:
The "new" agroecology: An approach to sustainable agriculture?

The session will be offered in the "German Window" of the conference and will focus on the internationally long-established view of agroecology as a transdisciplinary approach, which has been pursued outside of Germany since the 1990s at the latest, as it becomes clear in a definition by Steve Gliessmann: Agroecology is the integration of research, education, action and change that brings sustainability to all parts of the food system: ecological, economic, and social (GLIESSMANN 2018). In Germany, however, ecology remains in a scientific perspective. read more

Invited speaker of the RG Ecological Planning will be at the conference Julieta Decarre, PhD, Grupo Biodiversidad, Ecología y Gestión Ambiental en Agroecosistemas of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria; Argentinien. She will present her work to the Research Group as well as to the audience of the conference.

Evaluation of fish stocks

© Birgit Stephan, NZ COE

The fish stocks in the Natura 2000 habitat site "Berkelaue are currently being recorded by a cooperation project with Naturschutzzentrum Coesfeld e.V. and the district government of Münster. The aim is to develop specific measures to improve water body structures for fish fauna with a focus on the special Natura 2000 species. In addition, the water body structure quality, the macrozoobenthos as well as local water body parameters will be recorded. For the first time, the newly acquired temperature loggers will also be used, which have been installed at all test sites over a longer period of time. Within the framework of research-based learning, this cooperation project is linked to the case study in M9 (LV 146643) of the M.Sc. Water Sciences and two master's/diploma theses. The work is supervised by Patrick Günner and Dr. Benjamin Kupilas (see Team-page).

Excursion: Oslo / Southern Norway (07.06. - 16.06.2019)


© AG Ökoplan
  • © AG Ökoplan
  • © AG Ökoplan
  • © AG Ökoplan

During Whitsun Prof. Buttschardt and Dr. Kupilas with a total of 16 students (LÖK, 2 subject Bachelor, Wassermaster) were on an excursion to Norway. Packed with tents and hiking boots the journey went from Oslo (Green Capital of Europe 2019), to research stations of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), a hike of several days in the National Park Jotunheimen, over the UNESCO World Heritage Fjord Nærøyfjord to Bergen.

New study to small Game in the GrünSchatz project

© AG Ökoplan

Lara Blome's recently presented master thesis shows that lower strips for renewable energy use like those in the GrünSchatz project were favoured used by small game. The mix of 22 species of wild plants provide food and cover in the otherwise homogeneous landscape. Characterised by a hight density of insects and a heterogeneous structure, different animal species find their habitat. Different habitat requirements can be covered in this culture. Further studies have shown positive effects on diversity and abundance of insects, small rodents or avifauna. Depending on the region and the initial situation, the positive impact on species diversity can vary. In addition, each animal species can react differently to the sowing of wild plants.

New paper: "Mountain farmers’ intangible values foster agroecological landscapes"

The text addresses the question which values, skills and forms of knowledge communities of mountain farmers cultivate in order to preserve and renew species-rich cultural landscapes in the Andes of northern Argentina and the Dolomites of northern Italy.  At two conferences in the context of cultural anthropology and the sustainable development of rural areas, Cornelia Steinhäuser discussed the view of young adults on the continuation of such agro-ecological land use.
Conferencia Las Américas 2019; Bonn
2019 International Geographical Union Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems (IGU-CSRS) Colloquium, Saint Paul, MN, USA.

Agroecological landscapes, which promote critical features such as agrobiodiversity, represent valuable global commons. These landscapes are products of ways of life, local knowledge, and rural practices. Recent studies agree on the need to better understand such rooted social-ecological systems by more deeply exploring their human-environment relationships. To address this, we investigated agroecological landscapes in two communities, one in the Andean highlands of northwest Argentina, the other in the Dolomites in northern Italy. This research applies discourse-ethnographic methods to explore how the communities build institutions to protect their culture, how they manage change, and how the environment is perceived and used. Based on the results, we identified several dimensions of farmers’ intangible values, their understanding of well-being, and how they contribute to the genesis of landscapes (maize terraces, alpine pastures). This work shows that many interviewees did not perceive nature merely as a resource or service for humans, as suggested by the widely held discourse of agricultural industrialization, and that alternative relationships to nature are possible and do exist in practice. Further, this work raises relevant issues for how to imagine the transition to agricultural systems that do not define well-being only from the perspective of materiality and of humans.
read more

New phD

© AG Ökoplan

The AG Ökoplan working group has two new doctorates: Eva Huth and Harald Grote received their doctorates at the end of the summer semester. Congratulations!