Universität Bayreuth, Press Release No 197/2022 - 01 December 022

University of Bayreuth brings together expertise on the topic of soil

The researchers at the University of Bayreuth are bringing together knowledge about soil in a unique way. They want to sensitise the public to the topic of soil health on World Soil Day on 5 December.

"As of this month, the world has eight billion inhabitants and we still have no idea how to feed them all," explains Prof. Dr Eva Lehndorff, soil ecologist at the University of Bayreuth. "So it doesn't serve any purpose if industrial estates are designated on good, fertile soils and if more and more soils are sealed by building development." Her colleague, the agroecologist Prof. Dr. Johanna Pausch, explains: "The condition of soils has a decisive influence on food and feed production. Soil protection plays a central role if sustainability goals are to be met, climate protection pursued and biodiversity preserved."

The main exhibition "The Thin Skin of the Earth" at the ÖBG will be on display from 16 April 2023 to 22 October 2023

The reciprocal relationship between soil health and climate change, including the effects of heavy rainfall events or droughts, are being researched at the University of Bayreuth. The Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER) bundles the competences of about 30 working groups in biological and earth sciences. Not only experts from soil ecology, biogeography, agroecosystem research or animal and plant ecology "dig" in the soil. In addition to Lehndorff and Pausch, Prof. Dr. Efstathios Diamantopoulos (soil physics) and Prof. Dr. Tillmann Lüders (ecological microbiology with a focus on the soil microbiome) are also specifically concerned with soil. Students in particular benefit from this Bayreuth-typical interdisciplinarity: Only in Bayreuth can they study geoecology with this soil focus. This is unique in Germany.

"40% of the earth's soils are already degraded. Many soil functions are being lost due to wind and water erosion, soil compaction, acidification and the use of soil for agriculture, settlement and transport areas," explains Prof. Lehndorff. Prof. Pausch is convinced: "In order not to lose the ground under our feet, we have to take a closer look!" That is why she has brought the travelling exhibition "The Thin Skin of the Earth - Our Soils" from the Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz to Bayreuth. From April 2023, visitors to the Ecological-Botanical Garden (ÖBG) at the University of Bayreuth will be introduced to the topic of soil. The soil science chairs of the University of Bayreuth will accompany the exhibition with their expertise and offer workshops and excursions in Upper Franconia. A BayCEER lecture series on the topic of "Soil and Soil Protection" for interested members of the public completes the offer.

The projects related to imparting knowledge about soil are financed primarily with the support of the Rainer Markgraf Foundation, the Upper Franconia Foundation and the University Association.

More about the exhibition:

Expert offer for World Soil Day:

Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff, soil ecologist at the University of Bayreuth, is available to the media for interview requests on the topic of "soil". She can answer questions like these:

  • What is soil made of?
  • How does soil develop?
  • Why is the composition of soil so important?
  • Which of our areas of life are directly or indirectly influenced by soil health?
  • What role do sealing, erosion and agriculture play?
  • What can be done to keep soil healthy?

Please send interview requests to pressestelle@uni-bayreuth.de

Prof. Dr. Johanna Pausch

Prof. Dr. Johanna Pausch

Professorship Agroecology

Tel.: +49 (0)921 55-2292
Mail: Johanna.Pausch@uni-bayreuth.de

Portraitbild von Anja Maria Meister

Anja-Maria Meister

PR Spokesperson University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0) 921  55 - 5300
E-mail: anja.meister@uni-bayreuth.de