Cham, 04.05.2021

New wild perennials to increase biodiversity

Two new areas with a mixed wild perennial plantation have been created In the Villettepark and in the Cham cemetery. The native plants are being studied by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences for biodiversity research.

As part of the research project of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the Municipal Horticulture department, together with the ZHAW researcher Doris Tausendpfund, has planted two 100 square metres of land on the Täbumatt in the Villettepark and at the Cham cemetery in recent weeks. According to a communication from the community of Cham, they have been planted with mixed wild-perennial plants that have been specially chosen for the needs of Cham.

The soil in Cham contains a lot of humus, as is usual in settlement areas, and is therefore nutritious. Such soils are more demanding to maintain, however, which is why they are often removed. But: "These soils are also valuable for biodiversity," writes the local municipal department. The new planting is therefore also intended to investigate how care can be designed in such a way that it can be well implemented in more urban areas.

Under the guidance of the research team, the Municipal Maintenance department has planted a large area in the cemetery.
Picture: Cham Municipality

Research to shed light on various aspects
The primary objective of the ZHAW research project is to promote biodiversity both above and under the soil. For this purpose, native wild plants such as common hemp agrimony (Wasserdost) or great burnet (grosse Wiesenkopf) are used. Various research groups are investigating how these plants change biodiversity, how practical they are, and how the local population react to them.

"We are happy to support such implementation-oriented research, and hope to obtain some practical insights into the maintenance of our green spaces," says Markus Schuler, Head of Horticulture of the Cham municipality, in the communication. In addition, the zHAW research fits well with the biodiversity measures already implemented within the community. Previous municipal horticulture projects have attracted a great deal of interest and commitment from the population. "We are now looking forward to seeing how the research project develops with the ZHAW."

The two newly planted areas will be maintained and inspected up to the end of 2023 according to the instructions of the research team. Where possible, mixed wild perennial plantations will be planted in both public and private green spaces in the future.

The latest research results, background information and a survey that takes up feedback from the population can be found on zhaw.ch/iunr/wildstauden.

 

What are wild perennials?
Wild perennials are perennial, herbaceous wild plants that do not create wood. Through their underground storage organs (rhizomes, tubers, onions, roots) or their rosettes, they can survive the cold winter or hot summer, depending on the species. In addition, they are used in particular for the promotion of hoverflies, butterflies and earthworms and to ensure the preservation of humus-rich soils, as well as the diversity of soil microorganisms in the settlement area. Such native wild plants are particularly valuable, because they provide food and shelter for various insects, as well as being a colourful sight in the urban landscape.