The study region is located in the south of Lower Saxony and belongs to the two rural districts Göttingen and Northeim which cover together an area of 2380 km². It is a hilly region in the Leine-Weser-Bergland between the Harz mountains in the east and the Weser river at the western border.
The five main categories of crops grown in the region are cereals (mainly wheat), maize, oilseed rape, root crops (e.g. sugar beet) and grassland. Grassland has a proportion of 10-20% of the arable land in the two districts (NMELVL 2011) and is mostly farmed with high intensity, but some semi-natural calcareous grasslands can also be found in the region. Other crops like vegetables, strawberries and fruit tree plantations are of minor importance. The mean size of farms in the districts Göttingen and Northeim is similar to the average of Lower Saxony which is 62 ha per farm (NMELVL 2011). Main changes in the agricultural landscape in the last years are due to a strong increase of energy crops (especially maize) which have a proportion of about 15.6% in Lower Saxony. The area used for energy crops in Lower Saxony has increased from 77,000 ha in 2005 to 311,000 in 2011 (NMELVL 2011).

Research team

This region was studied by a team from Gottingen University lead by Teja Tscharntke. Fieldwork was coordinated by Annika Hass in 2013 and 2014. This team is in charge of the Work Package on plant, butterflies, syrphids and bees as well as the pollination experiment.

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