Wilde Mulde

Wilde Mulde

Wilde Mulde - Revitalization of a wild river landscape in Central Germany

In their natural expression, large rivers, their riparian zones and floodplains are seen as biodiversity hotspots. Due to their high spatial and temporal heterogeneity, they provide a habitat mosaic with a variety of environmental conditions and ecosystem services. On the catchment scale floodplains mitigate flood events and retain sediment, including nutrients and pollutants. On a local scale they provide habitats for several animals and plants. Project sites and revitalization efforts

Project sites and revitalization efforts

The joint project Wilde Mulde, promoted by the BMUB and the BMBF, want to revitalize the Lower Mulde along the river section between Retzau and the confluence with the Elbe downstream the city of Dessau-Roßlau. The revitalization is expected to promote the interaction between the river and its adjacent floodplains. Therefore, the following implementations are planned: insertion of large wood within the channel, restoration towards natural riversides, reconnection of a side channel, and also initial development of hardwood forests.

Research and success evaluation

The research parts unite the answering of research questions concerning protection and reestablishment of river-floodplain typical biodiversity and ecosystem services (ESS). Additionally, the evaluation of the implementations is superior target. A direct effect of the restoration is expected. Hydro morphological changes and sediment relocation will change the composition of the aquatic and semi-terrestrial biodiversity, the ESS, and the nutrient and sediment budgets.

The structural implementation is done by the WWF. The scientific concomitant research is done by the University of Leipzig, AG Systematic Botany and Functional Biodiversity and five other research institutes (UFZ Department of Conservation Biology (coordination of all research partners) UFZ Department River Ecology, TU Braunschweig Leichtweiß-Institute, HTW Dresden, Faculty of Agriculture/Environment/Chemistry, University of Hannover, Institute for Environmental Planning).

Floristic investigations

The diversity of the flora and the structure of the herbaceous vegetation will be determined along the riversides and in the floodplain with the help of classic vegetation surveys, quantitative measurements of the coverage and the leaf-area-index, as well as digital photographical images for direct quantification of the structural diversity.

The mapping of the vegetation mosaic along the riversides (treatment and reference sites) will take place on fix calibrated sites. This method helps to measure diverse plant communities and successional stages spatial and temporal fine-grained. Of selected species of all recorded semi-terrestrial and terrestrial plant communities, we will determine and compare occurrence and their functional traits, together with floristic composition of communities and the variation of the floristic and functional diversity between habitats before and after the restoration.

Within the frame of that project also the sediment retention capacitiy of floodplain vegetation will be experimentally investigated. Leaf surface traits of single leaves and the structure of stands are invetored in flume experiments.

Wilde Mulde Project homepage

Contact persons: Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth Dr. Carolin Seele Lena Kretz

Photos: embankment (left) and natural riverside (right).

last modified: 09.11.2018

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