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gARTENreich Preferences and constraints for biodiversity conservation in home gardens

Home gardens have great potential to protect and promote biological diversity. Around 15 million private gardens take up almost 1.5% of the total and around 10% of the settlement and traffic areas in Germany. However, the biodiversity in private gardens is dwindling due to a steadily decreasing structural diversity: Reasons for this are a lack of knowledge and understanding for suitable garden care and design, aesthetic preferences, social pressure, e.g. to “clean up” the garden, or a lack of interest among garden owners. People are also looking for easy-care solutions – on the one hand due to age-related restrictions in the cultivation of their own garden, on the other hand because they have little time for their garden.

The gARTENreich project uses an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research design to investigate which social, economic or design factors promote or inhibit more diversity in home gardens. The aim is to show ways in which home gardens can help to protect species. What condition are home gardens in and why? And how are structural and species diversity related? Together with the participating municipalities of Aumühle and Gütersloh, the project first analyzes the problem situation and the need for action as well as possible influencing preferences and constraints to a structure and species-friendly garden design. A workshop together with garden owners is intended to identify possible courses of action and ideas for development: What can I do in my own garden to create suitable structures for more biodiversity? How do I imagine my garden in the future?

Building on the results, a nationwide survey among garden owners is to be carried out in a second phase to find out whether they are willing to support a program to promote biodiversity in home gardens in their own city/municipality. It is also intended to examine the relevance of home gardens for biodiversity as a whole. The results of the survey and the ecological study should make it possible to estimate the effects of funding measures for the redesign of home gardens on biodiversity nationwide. Finally, recommendations for species diversity-promoting garden design and possible instruments for promoting a more biodiversity-friendly design of home gardens are to be developed.

IÖW Project Team