Sternberger lake district, Mecklenburg, Germany
Nature conservation and farming moving closer together as it comes to balance the results of climate change due to adapted farming methods.
A hidden gem often overlooked by tourists, the Sternberg lake district in northeast Germany is lush with forests, moors, agricultural land and historic small towns. Some landscape features date back 16,000 years when the area was formed during the last ice age.
The dominant element is water, as it is hold in many streams, lakes, and peatlands.
Unfortunately, several droughts in the past few years have exacerbated challenges that farmers were already experiencing due to reduced soil fertility and erosion. Added to that, this least densely populated part of Germany faces economic challenges. Until recently, unemployment rates were high and young people were moving to larger cities. Farmers struggle to compete on the international commodity market while facing environmental challenges. Locally harvested goods can not be processed regionally anymore due to a lack of facilities as mills, abattoirs etc.
However, the landscape holds huge regenerative potential, Commonland is partnering with the Landschaftspflegeverband Sternberger Endmoränengebiet and G.C. Pon Stiftung to restore ecosystems, create a resilient and sustainable agricultural sector, and bring back inspiration.
Together we are supporting farmers to increase their resilience in the face of a changing climate and economy. Meanwhile, we are exploring how the partnership and scope of activities may be expanded across the landscape to include other stakeholders, such as schools, local business, local administration and nature conservation organisations.
A great opportunity is found in the regeneration of wetlands, which are covering wide areas in the region, that have historically been drained but can be restored for water storage and climate protection.
- Disturbed hydrological system with reduced resilience to drought and extreme rainfall
- Degradation of agricultural soils and soil erosion exacerbated by recent droughts
- Loss of diversity in flora and fauna
- Large number of drained wetlands which turn to low quality meadow
- Declining populations in rural areas
- Gaining access to local, national and international food markets, and ability to compete successfully
- Transition to regenerative agricultural practices through farmer-to-farmer learning networks
- Climate adaptation through restoration and regenerative land practices
- Production and sales of regenerative landscape products such as dairy and meat
- Creating / expanding ecological corridors
- Restoring peatlands – sustainable farming in rewetted areas