Fläming, Brandenburg, Germany.
The Brandenburg region is about an hour and half’s drive southwest of Berlin, Germany. This region is affected by extreme weather driven by the climate crisis, with consequences such as water shortages, desertification, wildfires, and increased flooding risk. 60% of agricultural land is owned by large non-agricultural players, leading to political tensions. The region faces many social challenges, including political distrust of collaboration, widespread political resignation and depopulation, as young talent leaves to find work opportunities elsewhere.
The Brandenburg BWL aims to create a climate-resilient bioregion by co-creating and implementing a holistic landscape vision with local stakeholders. The Lab’s principle activity will be capacity-building for regional actors such as farmers, foresters and conservation actors – increasing their knowledge and access to resources, so that they can transition to climate-resilient, regenerative land management practices.
- Brandenburg is the dryest region in Germany receiving only 540mm rain annually. It is the area with the highest recorded temperatures in the country. This is all exacerbated by climate change.
- GDP per capita (EUR 29,700) is the third lowest among German states and much lower than Germany as a whole (EUR 41,500); by contrast, neighbouring (internal) Berlin’s GDP per capita (EU 42,300) ranks sixth (Eurostat, 2019). This creates political tensions locally and reduces social cohesion.
- Social and political polarisation – agriculture vs. environmentalism; right-wing vs. Left-wing; urban vs. Rural, and so on.
- Gentrification of regenerative product economy – a belief (and lived experience) that access to regenerative products is limited to the “rich” in Berlin.
- Rising land prices and unequal ownership system.
- Healing from the consequences of the post-war division and GDR land reform in which a significant amount of land used for cultivation was expropriated and redistributed without compensation).
- Slow progress in reaching solutions to challenges due to historical political processes; has led to a local belief that solutions are only theoretical, not tangible.
- There are many existing habitat protection areas in Brandenburg.
- Political will exists to engage in restoration and regeneration and to create economic opportunity in the region.
- Population density is decreasing, which might offer opportunities to increase restoration efforts and create jobs in the field of land regeneration.
- The amount of active farmland is decreasing due to lack of fertility, threat of drought, and increasing land prices. Some of this land could be allocated to restoration as well as activities that underpin the creation of alternative, fairer regenerative value chains.
- The regenerative product economy has the possibility to be reimagined to shift the market from privilege to inclusivity.
- The realisation of a ‘climate landscape’ (as above).