Zwingenberg (dpa/lsw) - Baden-Württemberg still has the largest contiguous orchard stocks in Europe, but they are already on the red list of biotope types in the state. Agriculture Minister Peter Hauk (CDU) underlined the importance of orchard cultivation in Zwingenberg (Neckar-Odenwald district) on Friday. "The semi-open areas with large-crowned fruit trees are not only beautiful to look at and are part of our sense of home." They are also important habitats for a large number of wild animal and plant species, including the little owl, hoopoe, hedgehog and Bechstein's bat.
According to the State Office for the Environment, there were around 7.1 million orchard trees between the Main and Lake Constance in 2020. That is a decrease of 17 percent compared to 2009. The area has also shrunk massively in this period. The cause is the expansion of settlement and traffic areas and the abandonment of the trees as a result of the low proceeds from the sale of the fruit or the products made from it.
The country is trying to counteract the trend with a bundle of measures. This also includes the previous pilot project of the nature park cooking school in the southern Black Forest nature park, which is to be extended to other regions. The Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park is already committed to this in an exemplary manner. Hauk: "An important approach is to create points of contact for young people with orchards and to integrate orchards into educational opportunities." The aim is to get participants to process and enjoy regional products from organic or extensive farming.