Terraced landscapes in Germany

    What is the used name in your country?
    Terrassenlandschaft, Terrassen, Ackerterrassen, Weinterrassen; old: Stufenrain, Kulturwechselstufen (see photos), (Wölbäcker)
    How/why/by, whom was it created?

    The entries are still in process, the e-atlas is still under development

    The used name in Germany is Terrassen and for the landscape Terrassenlandschaft, according to their function also Ackerterrassen and especially important Weinterrassen for wine growing. Old names are Stufenrain, Kulturwechselstufen (see fig. 2). An additional historic type is the so called “Wölbäcker”(see fig. 3). There is a huge agrarmorphological ensemble of relief features, related to terraces that have been created in order to use the ground as best as possible – depending on natural conditions – and which do not exist anymore or only as relict, conserved through a different type of type.

    However, the majority of German terraces are intentionally created, some have ‘appeared’ through long-term tillage, namely ploughing along slopes, which has resulted in erosion in the upper and accumulation (Konold 1996:102 ff) in the lower part of arable fields. They occur mainly at river slops and in hilly regions, at the lower foothills of the Alps. Natural terraces do only occur next to rivers in the high mountains. Terraces have been created in order to make production more profitable: Working on terraces is easier than on steep slopes, inclination can be better used, erosion will be reduced.

    Intentionally created terraces for agricultural production date back early; historical findings prove wine cultivation at the rivers Rhine and Moselle appr. 5th cent. before Christ through Romans (Gilles 1995). It is unknown when fruit plantation on terraces started. But for the North-Eastern part of Germany (Brandenburg) it can be proofed for the 12th century (KRUSE 1999: 186ff). In former times, fields for crop production have been created everywhere in hilly regions. Nowadays most of those terraces are used as grassland, often as (horse)pasture (see fig. 5), as tillage is restricted to plain areas. 

    Most terraces wine yards are artificial in order to use better the microclimate and inclination towards the sun and heat. Terraces are less steep and therefore easier to work at, less soil erosion is caused by evacuating rain water because of less inclined soils.
    At the end of the 20th century several small, traditional terraces have been removed in order to create bigger flat fields to allow mechanised production. Pennig 2012 describes the case of the Kaiserstuhl region, where more and more people left in the 60ties and 70ties their farms as they could not afford a living anymore. In order to stop this migration, a huge land consolidation plan was started with the aim to produce large, tractor compatible fields. The whole area was newly modelled by the help of huge machines. Production was much quicker, easier and therefore more efficient than before and the migration trend was stopped. Unfortunately several negative components were the result: Many historic structures with high importance for biodiversity, like hollow ways had been destroyed. Rare and/or endangered plant and animal species lost their habitats. Erosion increased and, more important, in the backrows of these new and large terraces, cold air led to freeze of the grapes. Therefore the success was smaller than anticipated.

    Wine production on terraces is what people in Germany associate to terraces. (Middle Rhine Valley/Germany, A. KRUSE 2012

    Wine production on terraces is what people in Germany associate to terraces. (Middle Rhine Valley/Germany, A. KRUSE 2012

    Former arable terraced fields, today used as grassland. (Dieringhause, Oberbergisches Land/Germany, A. KRUSE 05/2017

    Former arable terraced fields, today used as grassland. (Dieringhause, Oberbergisches Land/Germany, A. KRUSE 05/2017

    Large-scale artificial wine terraces in the Kaiserstuhl region, created in the 1970ties and 1980ties. The small, traditional wine terraces have been replaced with huge machines in order to create bigger terraces on which the farmers can use tractors. (Kaiserstuhl, close to Freiburg/Baden-Württemberg) https://www.pinterest.de/pin/532198880939415431/

    Large-scale artificial wine terraces in the Kaiserstuhl region, created in the 1970ties and 1980ties. The small, traditional wine terraces have been replaced with huge machines in order to create bigger terraces on which the farmers can use tractors. (Kaiserstuhl, close to Freiburg/Baden-Württemberg) https://www.pinterest.de/pin/532198880939415431/

    Wine production along the river Rhine: Very steep slopes, not really terraces – to be discussed if it will be counted as terraces or not. If not, the extent of the appearance of terraces in Germany will shrink enormously. Source: Alexandra Kruse 2015

    Wine production along the river Rhine: Very steep slopes, not really terraces – to be discussed if it will be counted as terraces or not. If not, the extent of the appearance of terraces in Germany will shrink enormously. Source: Alexandra Kruse 2015

    Wölbäcker are not considered as terraces, but their outer appearance is quite similiar. Wölbäckers are in the plains, created by ploughing from both sides towards the crown in order to reduce e.g. humidity of the ground. Have been used as fields in former times and are conserved today through grassland and/or orchard use. (Konold 1996, p. 104)

    Wölbäcker are not considered as terraces, but their outer appearance is quite similiar. Wölbäckers are in the plains, created by ploughing from both sides towards the crown in order to reduce e.g. humidity of the ground. Have been used as fields in former times and are conserved today through grassland and/or orchard use. (Konold 1996, p. 104)

    In the foreground Stufenraine (Ackerterrassen) which divide the slope and reduce erosion. Sometimes these Stufenraine had also irrigation channels. Background: mosaic of small fields for different crops (Konold 1996, p. 108)

    In the foreground Stufenraine (Ackerterrassen) which divide the slope and reduce erosion. Sometimes these Stufenraine had also irrigation channels. Background: mosaic of small fields for different crops (Konold 1996, p. 108)

    The German wine production is concentrated to steep river valleys. (Source: Wikimedia commons) (http://images.google.fr/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/89/WeinbaugebieteDeutschland.svg/2000px-WeinbaugebieteDeutschland.svg.png&imgrefurl=https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weinbau_in_Deutschland&h=1846&w=2000&tbnid=FgJKGSCxNZpIMM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=98&docid=CzmXs99Ic6QxZM&usg=__slYqW0IF4o3vnVarw80IC_PJRgQ=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwianO600_nLAhXI2SwKHVeHCF0Q9QEILjAB)

    The German wine production is concentrated to steep river valleys. (Source: Wikimedia commons) (http://images.google.fr/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/89/WeinbaugebieteDeutschland.svg/2000px-WeinbaugebieteDeutschland.svg.png&imgrefurl=https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weinbau_in_Deutschland&h=1846&w=2000&tbnid=FgJKGSCxNZpIMM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=98&docid=CzmXs99Ic6QxZM&usg=__slYqW0IF4o3vnVarw80IC_PJRgQ=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwianO600_nLAhXI2SwKHVeHCF0Q9QEILjAB)

    Abandoned terraces in the north-east of Brandenburg (North-east of Berlin), former fruit production Source: Kruse: Dissertation 1999

    Abandoned terraces in the north-east of Brandenburg (North-east of Berlin), former fruit production Source: Kruse: Dissertation 1999

    There is a great variety of tools and machines connected to wine production, especially on steep terraces, here a collection of "Kiepen" (collectors) (collection fishing Internet)

    There is a great variety of tools and machines connected to wine production, especially on steep terraces, here a collection of "Kiepen" (collectors) (collection fishing Internet)

    Loess hollow ways in Kaiserstuhl/Baden-Württemberg/Germany of high ecological importance, endangered through the creation of large-scale artifical terraced (Photo: A. KRUSE 1997)

    Loess hollow ways in Kaiserstuhl/Baden-Württemberg/Germany of high ecological importance, endangered through the creation of large-scale artifical terraced (Photo: A. KRUSE 1997)

    Many wine producing villages celebrate their own “Weinfest“and crown their own “Weinkönigin” (collage made by the A. KRUSE 2015 by fishing in the web).

    Many wine producing villages celebrate their own “Weinfest“and crown their own “Weinkönigin” (collage made by the A. KRUSE 2015 by fishing in the web).

    51.054882, 7.617153

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    Literature
    • Bronner, Joh. Ph. (1837): Der Weinbau im Königreich Württemberg, Heidelberg, https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=6_E6AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=de&pg=GBS.PP3
    • Gilles, K.-J. (Hg.) (1995): Neuere Forschungen zum Weinbau an Mosel und Rhein, Schriften zur Weingeschichte, Nr. 115, Wiesbaden
    • Konold, W. (Hrsg.) (1996): Naturlandschaft Kulturlandschaft – Die Veränderung der Landschaften nach der Nutzbarmachung durch den Menschen. ecomed
    • Kruse (Schmidt), Alexandra (1999): „Beitrag der historischen Landschaftsanalyse für aktuelle Fragen des Naturschutzes“ GCA-Verlag
    • Pennig, L. (2012): Infoblatt Flurbereinigung im Kaiserstuhl. TERRASSE online, Ernst-Klett-Verlag: https://www.klett.de/sixcms/detail.php?template=terrasse_artikel__layout__pdf&art_id=1006208
    • Raba, Angelika (1996): Historische und landschaftsökologische Aspekte einer inneralpinen Terrassenlandschaft am Beispiel von Ramosch : Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde der Geowissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau ; vorgelegt von Angelika Raba aus Augsburg, Freiburg im Breisgau : Univ., 1996.

    Internetlinks

    https 1: http://www.urlaubmitgewinn.de/2015/04/endingen-vlr/kaiserstuhl-oberrotweil-weinterrassen/

    Occurence

    Terraces occur mainly at river slops (in Central, West and East Germany) and in hilly regions as well as at the lower foothills of the Alps. Natural terraces do only occur next to rivers in the high mountains and are very rare today.

    Today Occurrence can be subdivided

    • Regional: river valleys,hilly regions, mountain regions.
    • By function: Wine production,Fruit tree production, Gardening (urban, private, educational gardening, small scale), Special production forms
    • Genesis: Natural, Artificial (production improvement, flood protection, infrastructure, mining, etc.)

    Neither natural once nor infrastructural ones are treated within this databank.

    Physical geography: description

    Inclination towards the sun, in order to use the local climate conditions, at rivers, up to 400 m max. highest mountain in the Kaiserstuhl: 556 m
    Foothills of the Alps: max. 1000 m
    Slopes
    Terraces appear on different soils/geology:

    • River Moselle/Rhine: schist/slate
    • Kaiserstuhl: volcanic, loam/loess
    • Saale-Unstrut: sandstone and muschelkalk (shell lime)
    How is it used today?

    Today the majority of terraces is used for wine production in the central and southern parts of Germany, mostly on steep river slopes. Terraced wine yards allow a better use of the microclimate and inclination towards the sun and heat and it is easier to work on them. Furthermore, soil erosion caused by evacuating rain water is reduced because of less inclined soils.


    They are threaten through/by

    • No use
    • Land consolidation (from small to large)
    • Destruction of stone walls
    • Destruction of (loess) hollow ways
    • Pesticide and chemical fertilizers

    Protection:

    • Extensivation of use and production
    • Promotion of biological production
    • Protection and/or creation of biotops
    • Re-construction of dry stone-walls

    Small scale: one of the most species-rich biotops with Stone walls with their gaps

    These biotops or areas are (today) often protected by German law.

    By whom is it perceived as threatened?
    State authorities
    NGOs
    Is it combined with/connected to something typical (traditional)?

    a) very small buildings (for material and shelter) used during wine production but of no known importance or awareness
    dry stone walls
    castles?
    b) everything connected to wine and fruit production, Special production forms
    c) mainly wine etc.
    d) trails (see photo 14,15)

    1. Hiking

    • Rheinsteig
    • Moselsteig
    • Burgenwanderweg

    2. Cycling

    • RheinRadweg
    • Saale-Unstrut-Weg
    • Donauradweg
    Is it connected to specific structures?

    a) dry stone walls especially at the very steep river slopes
    in Kaiserstuhl, due to the loess/loam, we find huge, impressive hollow ways (I do have slides, but I have to scan them)
    These hollow ways have a very typical flora and fauna, many endangered and many endogen species.
     

    Is it connected to specific functions?

    Machines, tractors, Kiepe (see photo 16)

    As wine production is very old and has not changed too much in some of the regions, the tools and techniques used are still traditional (collage made by A. KRUSE by fishing in the web).

    As wine production is very old and has not changed too much in some of the regions, the tools and techniques used are still traditional (collage made by A. KRUSE by fishing in the web).

    Is it connected to specific values?

    wine feasts, wine tasting

    About awareness

    Locally the awareness for the wine is high, important economic good but also for tourism, both increasing (also due to climate change as the quality of German is getting better).
    Many hiking paths, well organised and very well merchandised (via internet) (see KRUSE presentation Prada do Sil)
    High awareness among actors in the field of nature protection, as well as among planners and farmers and last but not least tourism, but also among local people.

    Do you have national approaches towards this landscape type?

    No category for terraced landscapes in the German “Landscapes to be protected in Germany” (see map) by the National Agency of Nature Conservation, but we find: orange with white strips: “winelandscapes”

    Dry stone walls are often protected locally as well as hollow ways, e.g. in the Kaiserstuhl with a high number of indigenous Species.

    Many biocenosis with species preferring a warm, dry climate (Mediterranean), south and south-eastern European species; vineyard-Herbs-Societies with special div. leek/allium, hyacinth, wild Tulips, div. ornitholagum.
    Some species are adapted or even indigenous in wine yards.

    Large parts of the wine production terraces are included in the UNESCO World Heritage site "Upper Middle Rhine Valley".