A Wildflower Meadow in Braunschweig Fosters BiodiversityOur life today is based on biological diversity. Biodiversity provides the basis for our wide range of food products as well as raw materials for the economy. Sound ecosystems ensure clean air, clean water, and fertile soils, and they provide protection against floods and erosion. Nature also plays a major role in many recreational activities. Every organism plays an important role in its ecosystem that directly impacts the stability and health of that ecosystem. For the preservation of all extremely valuable ecosystems for future generations, biodiversity is a must.
Unfortunately, one of the species most at risk are bees as they are facing worldwide bee colony collapse. Against this backdrop, Braunschweig, the second largest city in Lower Saxony / Germany, is aiming to turn into a "city of bees". A research project aims at creating meadows which abound in species covering an area of around 100,000 square meters. This corresponds to the size of about 14 standard soccer fields. Flower beds rich in species are planned for an area of around 30,000 square meters. Plans include six meadows with fruit trees, as well as the planting of 500 pollard willows and 650 further trees to protect the climate.
Siemens Mobility is involved in the Wildflower Meadow project
This approach convinced employees of Siemens Mobility, a strategic company within the group, at its Braunschweig location. Their idea for a "Wildflower Meadow" project was well received by their co-workers and managers, and a horticultural company was commissioned to create the meadow and sow the seeds. Early in the summer of 2019, an approximately 250 square meter area next to a factory building that had previously served as a lawn was assigned to experimentation. Seeds of 19 plants were put in the soil: daisies, catnip, lupins, sunflowers, phacelia, bellflower, sage, red and white clover, mallow, rape, chamomile, lavender, columbine, cranesbill, foxglove, scented violet, horn clover, and lucerne. Already in the year of sowing, Siemens employees and visitors enjoyed watching numerous insects searching for food here during the summer and autumn months.
Masterminding biodiversity at Siemens Mobility
The Braunschweig volunteers engaged in environmental protection and biodiversity come from a variety of backgrounds and roles in the company. This illustrates the large range of motivations and skills which contribute to impressive projects within the Siemens group aimed at supporting a sustainable, biodiverse environment for ourselves and future generations.
Support comes from scientists
Germany is home to over 560 wild bee species each having differing requirements. Recommendations by experts from the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) offered scientific support to the team at Braunschweig. By looking over the entire city and its existing green spaces, they could find out which plant species are attractive to the respective wild bee species and where they are lacking. Then the team determined which are the “right” food plants in combination with the preferred habitat requirement. Additionally, the network of areas with flowering plants had to be tightly knit enough so that the species can spread within the city and then reach surrounding regions.
In the best-case scenario, this initiative will show a domino effect, with further pollinators such as butterflies and hoverflies profiting and spreading throughout the region. Furthermore, other animals such as birds and bats can also benefit directly or indirectly from a thriving plant environment. Last but not least, in their city of bees, the residents of Braunschweig can feel proud of the efforts their taking to save Earth’s best pollinator.