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Institute of

BD Biodiversity


Grassworks-2 - Successful concepts for restoration of species-rich grasslands

What works and why in grassland restoration in Germany? A multi-region social-ecological assessment and pilot implementation of successful approaches

In Grassworks, scientists from ecology, sustainability science and economy aim to investigate which factors are important for successful grassland restoration in a transdisciplinary research approach together with the Thünen Institute, as an interface between science and policy, and with the Deutscher Verband für Landschaftspflege (German association for landscape conservation). Grassworks will facilitate a uniquely comprehensive analysis of the direct and indirect drivers of restoration success of grassland ecosystems.

Background and Objective

Grasworks pursues a social-ecological systems approach that explicitly captures the dynamics of appreciation of biodiversity, improves governance structures, develops scenarios of future policy instruments and sustainability strategies and, thereby, makes an important contribution to protection of biodiversity in grasslands.


Based on our hypothesis that restoration success is highest if both ecological and social complexity is high in restoration projects, we will conduct a post-hoc analysis of 30 already implemented restoration projects in each of three regions of Germany (north, centre, south) in order to quantify the influence of ecologcal, social-ecological and socio-economic parameters on restoration success and to identify leverage points for higher biodiversity and multifunctionality. In a complementary fashion, we will conduct ex-ante and ex-post surveys on changes in behaviours and biodiversity measures in relation to appreciation of biodiversity, ecosystem functions (ESF) and ecosystem services (ESS). Here, measures will be planned and implemented in selected municipalities in a participatory approach together with all relevant actors, and common leverage points will be identified that help to successfully initiate a transformation process towards higher appreciation of biodiversity, ESF and ESS and better knowledge on successful methods of grassland restoration. An analysis of the economic and political aspects of grassland restoration will reveal strengths and deficits and identify courses of action for improvement of governance on different scales, incl. agro-environmental schemes of the CAP and other policy instruments. The multifaceted results will be synthesised in inter- and transdisciplinary models and be incorporated into an innovative online restoration toolkit.

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Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    (national, öffentlich)


11.2021 - 11.2024

More Information

Project funding number: 16LW0098
Project status: ongoing

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