The Small Structures Directory describes small structures in our agricultural landscape at the level of municipalities. The directory is based on information from federal states (Länder) and municipalities and on our own research on nature-based small structures in the agricultural landscape. It is essentially a geographical information system (GIS-based). Small structures include, above all, hedgerows, meadow orchards (Streuobstwiese in German), copses and bushes, unused grassland and riparian strips. They can vary greatly from region to region, but they shape our cultural landscape and are of particular importance for agriculture.
In 2004, the JKI first started to compile the Small Structures Directory on behalf of the licensing authority for plant protection products, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). The background is that plant protection products should only control pests and diseases and cause as little damage as possible to other animals, plants and microorganisms. These are referred to as non-target organisms. If there are enough structures - also called marginal biotopes - at the edge of the field that are not treated, the non-target organisms can retreat or recover there. For this reason, the regulatory authority BVL stipulates in the regulations for the application of plant protection products that drift-reducing techniques must be used or that a minimum distance to adjacent small structures must be maintained.
In the directory, for instance, farmers will find information on whether the municipality where their farmland is located belongs to an agricultural landscape with a sufficient proportion of small structures. In municipalities that do not achieve the specified minimum proportion of small structures, additional requirements for PPP application must be observed.
The JKI maintains the register and updates the data collected at local level at regular intervals. More information and the directories per federal state are found on our German website.