Bad Schönborn/Ingolstadt, December 8, 2022 – The project launched in the summer of 2018 – and now the results are being presented: Over the past three years, research drones from the Heidelberg University of Education repeatedly circled over the meadow orchards in the community of Bad Schönborn between Heidelberg and Karlsruhe. Covering an area of around 500 hectares, roughly ten hectares of which were meadow orchards, the drones carried out a comprehensive digital monitoring survey that automatically classified and evaluated the fruit trees. This involved categorizing the trees according to their state of health, such that targeted care measures can now be undertaken to improve their vitality. Private individuals are also encouraged to sponsor the care of fruit trees via a specially created platform. The Audi Environmental Foundation supported the project over its entire duration.
Protecting biodiversity through improved care of trees
In addition to the Audi Environmental Foundation and the Heidelberg University of Education, other contributors to the project include the Countryside Conservation Association for the Karlsruhe District and the Bad Schönborn Task Force for Local Nature and Environment (AHNU). Now the final results are available: Around 20 percent of the stock was found to be in urgent need of care, roughly half needed a lesser amount of care, and 28 percent needed no care. The meadow orchards are comprised of two-thirds apple trees, followed by pears, walnuts, plums, and cherries. This stock will now get the appropriate care, above all through regular pruning. And the benefits will not stop there: Improving the vitality of trees helps the long-term biodiversity of the landscape, safeguarding the habitat of domestic animals and insects.