GEO Biodiversity Day
Since 2014, KfW Stiftung has been the main sponsor of GEO’s biodiversity day – the largest field research campaign in Central Europe. Its aim is to identify as many animals and plants as possible in a specific area within 24 hours and to show that biodiversity can actually be discovered on our doorstep.
Over the last years, the programme has made a valuable contribution to the preservation and documentation of animals and plants by helping to rediscover several species which were considered to be extinct. Launched by the wildlife magazine GEO in 1999, the event attracts thousands of people every year – ranging from school children who are enthusiastic about nature to university professors. Not only experts are invited to take part: anyone interested in nature and environmental protection can join in.
The purpose of GEO’s biodiversity day is to raise awareness for the local diversity of species and to rediscover the fascinating plant and animal life that is hidden just around the corner of our homes.
Main Event 2016
Connect natural areas
The motto of the 18th GEO Biodiversity Day was “biotope networks” and was held in the heathland Wahner Heide located in the open natural space of Bergische Heideterrasse in Germany.
This area, which stretches between the river Ruhr in the north and the river Sieg in the south, demonstrates that re-connecting natural habitats and preserving corridors of open space between nature conservation areas is one of the most pressing tasks in order to stop the loss of biodiversity.
Taking stock of nature in 24 hours, zoologists and botanists listed the animals and plants found in the area under examination. The discovery of two species of orchids new to this area created a surprise: the musk orchid, Herminium monorchis, was thought to be extinct in the region and is classed as highly endangered on the Red List of North Rhine-Westphalia. Fen orchids, Liparis loeselii, equally considered extinct in the region, were also rediscovered. Finally, the occurrence of the freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii was another new discovery for Wahner Heide.
Main Event 2015
The main event of the 17th GEO Biodiversity Day took place in collaboration with 'Living flood plains for the river Elbe', a project organised by BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany). With a comprehensive visitor programme ranging from field trips to exhibitions, international biologists came together around the question 'How much space does nature require: where are the limits of biodiversity?'
The experts discovered around 1400 animal and plant species in the Elbe lowlands around the peninsula Hohe Garbe in the region of Saxony-Anhalt, including the bat Myotis daubentonii and the plants Eragrostis albensis and Statiotes aloides. A particularly exciting find was the beetle Tenebrio opacus, a primeval forest relict species that lives in the dead wood of oak trees and is included in the Red List of endangered species. They also came across five Ascomycetes that had never been observed in Saxony-Anhalt before, including four Mollisia species and one species hitherto unknown in Germany that was found growing on the dead stalks of Euphorbia palustris, a flowering plant included in the Red List.
Geo Biodiversity Day 2015
International biologists came together around the question 'How much space does nature require: where are the limits of biodiversity?' Film
Main Event 2014
On 14 June, the 16th GEO Biodiversity Day took place in Ebern-Unterpreppach. In the Bavarian town of Ebern, about 80 wildlife experts explored animals and plants on a military training ground that has been out of use since 2002. They documented an amazing variety of wildlife – around 1,500 different species were collected and identified by the scientists in the course of 24 hours in an area measuring less than three square kilometres.
BIG BUG DISCOVERIES!
A spectacular highlight was achieved this year by Markus Bräu, a scientist from Munich who specialises in bugs. By discovering the bug Jalla Dumosa on the former military training ground, he managed to prove the existence of an animal that for decades had been considered extinct in Bavaria. Ringo Dietze, a colleague from Saxony, equally returned with great news. Not only could he confirm recent evidence of the existence of the bug Excentricus planicornis in this area, a bug that has no other known habitat in the whole of Germany, but he was also able to prove that this extremely rare animal has established a very healthy population in Ebern. The beetle experts were successful too – they managed to find around 150 species, proving that the area under study was particularly valuable. Fortunately, their discoveries included specimens of extremely endangered species. Chlaenius tristis, for instance, a species of ground beetle that can create an air bubble around its body in order to move from solid ground into water, had not been spotted in Bavaria for thirty-five years - until Michael Fritze found it on the military training ground in Ebern. Another discovery of a beetle species thrilled the experts who had travelled to the site: Anthaxia candens, included on the Red List of endangered animals in Germany, seems to be at home in Ebern.
01. Image: Source: KfW Stiftung, Author / Photographer: Pia Puljanic
02. Image: Source: GEO, Author / Photographer: Solvin Zankl
03. Image: Source: KfW Stiftung, Author / Photographer: Pia Puljanic
04. Image: Source: BUND Nordrhein-Westfalen, Author / Photographer: Holger Sticht
05. Image: Source: BUND Nordrhein-Westfalen, Author / Photographer: Enver Hirsch
06. Image: Source: BUND, Author / Photographer: Frank Meyer, RANA
07. Image: Source: BUND, Author / Photographer: Dieter Damschen
08. Image: Source: BUND, Author / Photographer: Melanka Helms, GEO
09. Image: Source: GEO, Author / Photographer: Thomas Stephan
10. Image: Source: GEO, Author / Photographer: Thomas Stephan
11. Image: Source: KfW Stiftung, Author / Photographer: Pia Puljanic