BAtroS - Bodenmelioration und Anbauverfahren für trockenheitsgefährdete Standorte

Background and Goals

The joint project will develop combined and site-adapted procedures to mitigate climate change risks when using marginal yield sites for specialty crops (renewable resources). As an example region, the Lower Lusatia located in the southeast of Brandenburg is considered. It is characterized in a special measure for Germany by sub-continental-continental climatic influences with hot and dry summers. Deep seepage of precipitation water in the soil and thus a replenishment of the groundwater resources takes place almost exclusively in the winter months. The Niederlausitz also has extensive areas with predominantly sandy soil substrates and low water holding capacity and nutrient supply, and thus low productivity.

 The project is divided into three modules with the following subprojects (TP):

 Module 1: techniques of soil improvement and cultivation methods

 - TP 1.1: Optimization and development of humic acid soil additives

 - TP 1.2: introduction and optimization of Geohumus®

 - TP 1.3: Sheath seed for drought-prone sites for biomass production

 Module 2: Effects in soil and plant

 - TP 2.1: Soil science studies on the effects and sustainability of soil additives

 - TP 2.2: Studies on interactions between soil improvement measures and selected plant species

 Module 3: Integration and Coordination

 - TP 3.1: coordination and project management



The project has set itself the goal of developing a method for improving the water holding capacity for drought-prone sandy soil locations and to investigate its sustainability. Several soil adjuvants are already available on the market which will enable or improve biomass production on soils with low water and nutrient availability and reduce the need for irrigation (e.g., Humentos®, HumiComplete® or Geohumus®). Especially in the combination of various soil additives, the chance is seen of ensuring the productivity of energy crops and renewable raw materials and avoiding the degradation of falling marginal production sites. It will scientifically monitor the optimization of soil additive composition, the development of soil injection techniques, and the effects on soil quality and plant development. At the same time, seed technology is being further improved and tested, especially with regard to drought-prone locations.

The declared objective is thus to develop a soil improvement and cultivation method for marginal production sites in drought-prone regions of Central Europe, and to improve export opportunities for the above-mentioned soil additives to areas with current degradation problems due to drought.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Brandenburg
Natural spatial classification
  • South-Eeastern basin and hills

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Current regional climate models

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Dry periods
Time horizon
  • long term = to 2100 and beyond

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

For various parts of Germany present climate scenarios indicate a potentially increasing risk of drought events primarily occurring in the growing season. Among these areas the Southeast of Brandenburg is supposed to be most affected by the continental climate which causes fundamental problems for agriculture. Mainly during winter a replenishment of ground water supply is taking place. There are broad areas showing a high amount of sandy soils, low water holding capacity, low nutrient supply and therefore a low productivity. For reasons of landscape conservation it is recently thought to grow renewable primary products at these sites. Further decrease of precipitation during summer would cause problems in watering crop plants in this area.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Urgency and priorization of adaptation needs 

Already nowadays the Niederlausitz is influenced by a sub continental and continental climate.  A replenishment of ground water supply is mainly occurring during winter. Coincident there are widespread areas in the Niederlausitz showing a high amount of sandy soils, low water holding capacity, low nutrient supply and therefore a low productivity of biomass.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

A technique to improve the water holding capacity in sandy and potentially dry soils will be developed. Soil amelioration technologies which may increase the water storage capacity of soils and, hence, the access of plants to soil water were in the focus. Different types of both humic and synthetic soil enhancers were tested in a field experiment. Results of the first two years showed that soil enhancers do affect properties of sandy soils regarding the increase of water storage capacity and biomass. Particularly the combination of different types of soil enhancers had positive impacts. Concerning the degradation rate in the soil there were distinct differences. Combined enhancers might also be of advantage with regard to long-time effects on soil properties. Additionally the development of modern seeding material (coated seeds) will be continued to ensure the germination in dry habitats. The combination of soil enhancers and coated seeds will be tested in a pilot plant. To improve the incorporation of soil enhancers new techniques will be tested. A guideline will be developed to support people concerned in choosing the appropriate techniques. The combination of different types of soil enhancers is seen as a possibility to increase the biomass yield of energy crops and renewable primary products and to avoid the degradation of locations with marginal agricultural yields. There is a great potential in the use of soil enhancers for Mediterranean regions suffering from desertification.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)
Conflicts / synergies / sustainability 

Regarding the water supply there is potential for conflicts. In the course of improving the water holding capacity in sandy and potentially dry soils, sustainability shall be considered.

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Costs of the measures 

Improving export opportunities for soil additives to areas with current degradation problems due to drought. Yield increase in agricultural production at home and abroad under extreme climatic and edaphic conditions


Funding / Financing 

Funding programme “klimazwei – research for climate protection and protection from climate impacts”, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany

Project management 

Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus, Lehrstuhl für Bodenschutz und Rekultivierung


Feldsaaten Freudenberger GmbH & Co. KG, Krefeld;

Geohumus International Research & Development GmbH & Co KG, Frankfurt/Main;

Hoogen Bodensanierung GmbH, Senften


BTU Cottbus, Forschungszentrum Landschaftsentwicklung und Bergbaulandschaften (FZLB)
Postfach 101 344
D-03013 Cottbus

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  soil  water regime, water management