Further development of roadside vegetation maintenance from an economic and ecological point of view
About 25% of the total financial expenditure for road maintenance services on federal highways falls on the management of roadside vegetation. As a result of climate change, the amount of grassy and woody vegetation will not change significantly until 2030, but than an increase is to be expected - especially at higher altitudes - due to extended vegetation periods by warmer climate. With regard to woody vegetation, there is no clear indication if this change leads to an increase or decrease of roadside wood harvesting. However, different scientific scenario range from increased deadwood formation to extensive death of biomasses, especially of trees which are not domestic in the region and not able to adapt quickly to the changing climate pattern. This effect can already be seen in the forest due to warmer and drier summers. Increased from damage, particularly affecting alone standing trees, is likely to happen in future as well. Finally, the increased amount of dead or damaged wood results in increased efforts to maintain traffic safety.
The overall objective of the R&D project is to update existing information databases for roadside vegetation management by comprehensive in-situ studies for best-practice solutions with focus on economic and ecological feasible and sustainable roadside vegetation management.
This in-suit studies are basis for the final recommendations and adapted regulations and shall focus on selected areas of stakeholders interests and evaluate all effects of the different approaches regarding sustainable vegetation management.
Such sustainability isssues are e.g. the growing requirement for nature conservation of green spaces of roadsides with focus on their ecological value.
Further criteria are traffic-related, job-related and economic effects. The project takes into account the different demands of various stakeholders in a consensus-oriented manner.
The project is divided into the following work packages:
- WP 1: Basic research
- WP 2: Preparatory work for the in situ-studies
- WP 3: Execution of in situ-studies
- WP 4: Evaluation of in situ-studies
- WP 5: Assessment and final recommendations
- WP 6: Draft of adapted regulations based on WP 5
- WP 7: Documentation of R&D results
- WP 8: Implementation of regulations
The Steinbeis Transfer Center is the project coordinator and resonsible for the in-situ studies. The project partner Bosch & Partner is resonsible for the legal assessment and final regulations.
The IZES gGmbH develops economic recommendations for energetic and material recycling of wood and grass cuts under economical and ecological criteria (WP 5). The roadside biomass is of high value for renewable energy generation (power and heat) as substitute for fossil fuels. The activation of this giant GHG avoidance potential contributes highly to fulfill the German climate goals.