University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 58/2023, 08.05.2023
Less lawn, more flowers: Bayreuth University joins the "Mower-free May" campaign
Over 50,000 square metres of green space on the university campus will not be mown in the next few weeks. In this way, the university is promoting insect diversity.
Bayreuth is to become a model city for urban insect habitats. To this end, the project "Urban Insect Biotopes" was launched by "Die Summer e.V.". It is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection until 31 May 2025. Part of this project is the "Mower-free May". The goal behind it: Not to mow 50,000 square metres of green spaces until the end of May or, at best, the end of June, thus promoting insects. The University of Bayreuth is participating in the campaign on an exceptionally large scale.
"On the Bayreuth campus alone, about 52,000 square metres of green spaces are not mown in May, according to gardener Jürgen Franke from the University's Central Technology Department," says Dr Birgit Thies from the BayCEER (Bayreuth Centre for Ecology and Environmental Research) office. "In addition, there are further areas at the external sites. This means that the area target of the call will be achieved. And maybe it can even be doubled with the help of further unmown areas in private gardens?"
Franziska Wagner, project worker of Urban Insect Biotopes explains that even the many small areas have a great value for insects if they are mown later. "Every square metre counts," she says, because this is the only way to create a network of biotopes in which animals can migrate and spread. Gardens that have not been mulched are particularly interesting. In such lawns, wildflowers such as the round-leaved bellflower, piglet weed, common hornwort and lesser hawkweed can usually be found. "A real five-star buffet for wild bees, butterflies and co," says Wagner.
From a research point of view, the preservation of biodiversity through an appropriate supply of habitats and food is important. Not only for ecological, but also for economic reasons: Scientific studies show that well over 80 percent of flowering plants depend on pollination by insects. These insects need a habitat. Even small areas can make a major contribution to biodiversity.
"The University of Bayreuth is committed to sustainability. That is why we also see it as our task to promote biodiversity and want to set a positive example on the large green spaces that are open to the public," emphasises Prof. Dr Susanne Tittlbach, Vice President for Digitisation, Innovation and Sustainability.
Last year, the University of Bayreuth had already made "Biodiversity in urban spaces: Bayreuth's urban nature and the UBT" the topic of the "Stadtgespräch" event series. The lecture by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Obermaier, Robert Pfeifer and Thomas Pickel can be listened to at any time on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-psvWL7sjnk&list=PLq8ER4S3y9W5TL8LNbtO0cXF4Gy4ctrWr&index=1.
In order to make Bayreuth a model city for urban insect habitats, the association "Die Summer e.V." calls on all residents of Bayreuth and beyond to participate in the "Mow-Free May". For more information, visit https://urbane-insektenbiotope.de/termin/maehfreier-mai/ .