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Berlin Environmental Atlas

05.07 Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (Edition 2004)

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Statistical Base and Methodology

The ascertainment of groundwater-dependent ecosystems was carried out by joining several thematic maps.

The recording of groundwater dependent land ecosystems is based on existing data of the Berlin Environmental Atlas (Map 05.02 Vegetation, Edition 2000 and Map 05.03 Valuable Areas for Flora and Fauna, Edition 1995). The data were checked with current biotope mapping, to the extent available.

The groundwater level conditions were obtained from the Map Depth to Water Table of the Groundwater/ Depths to Water Table, May 2002 (see Map 02.07, Edition 2003).

The assignment of vegetation and biotope types to their groundwater dependence categories has been accomplished first of all on the basis of a methodological Guideline for the classification and localization of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. The Guideline was compiled by the Erft Association Association under contract with the State Water Office (LAWA), with the goal of providing a practical ascertainment method applicable throughout Germany. The guide is based on the standard biotope type list of the Federal Conservation Agency, and assesses all standard biotope types with regard to their groundwater dependence.

The Erft Association list classifies biotope types as either "always groundwater-dependent" or as "groundwater-dependent depending on specificity." On this basis, vegetation or biotope types in Berlin from the Environmental Atlas maps Vegetation (05.02) and Valuable Areas for Flora and Fauna (05.03) were recorded as "always groundwater dependent"; they can be directly considered wetlands. Combined in biotope groups, these include springs and spring slopes, reed-beds, mires, damp and fresh meadows, and forests at damp and fresh locations.

Other types, which can be groundwater-dependent depending on specificity, were subjected to further assessment.

The knowledge of the depths to groundwater makes possible an assessment as to the locations at which groundwater affects vegetation. The effect of the groundwater on the vegetation depends on the root penetration depth of particular plants, and, depending on the type of soil, on the capillary rise capacity of the groundwater. The limit depth to groundwater at which groundwater can be utilizable to a certain degree for trees is generally 4 m, under Berlin conditions. The vegetation of wetlands is usually dependent on the groundwater for its water needs, and thus requires a depth to groundwater of less than 50 cm.

By joining forests well as parks and cemeteries with old tree populations and the areas which show a depth to groundwater of up to 4 m, the groundwater-dependent forests and woodland-like stands were ascertained.

For other biotope and vegetation types, such as fallow areas, or gravel and sand quarries, which may be groundwater-dependent depending on their specificity, an individual area assessment was carried out with the technical consultation of the state authority for conservation and landscape care. In addition to concrete local knowledge, this assessment was based of the landscape program, aerial pictures, and the map of depths to groundwater. As a result, single areas of the vegetation map were represented as groundwater-dependant. The vegetation types in which individual groundwater-dependent areas occur are indicated in Table 1 by the designation "pt." (partial).

All lakes and ponds from the official map of bodies of water which are not fundamentally fed by inflow from the rainwater drainage system or by flowing waters are represented as groundwater-dependent bodies of water. Here it can be assumed that the water level in these lakes depends primarily on the corresponding ground-water level. In addition, lakes formed by gravel quarrying, which also are fed by the groundwater, are shown.

Details can be taken from Tab. 1. The vegetation and biotope type numbers refer to the legends of the Environmental Atlas Maps.

Tab. 1: Groundwater dependent ecosystems in Berlin
Biotope Group Data source
Springs and spring slopes
  • Biotope type mapping of the Habitats-Directive area Tegel Creek, as of 2003, made by Luftbild + Vegetation GbR
Reed-beds
  • Reed-beds (updated representation of No. 602 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.03; basis for update: "Reed-Bed Stock 2000," by Luftbild + Vegetation GbR)
Mires
  • Open mires (No. 47 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.03)
  • Oligotrophic mires (No. 501 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Transition mires (No. 502 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
Damp and fresh meadows
  • Groundwater-proximate grassland and fallow areas (No. 307 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Pt. groundwater-distant grassland and fallow areas (No. 306 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
Forests at damp and fresh locations
  • Fresh oak-hornbeam forest (No. 410 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Damp oak-hornbeam forest (No. 411 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Alluvial forests (No. 412 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Alder swamp forests (No. 413 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Birch swamp forests (No. 414 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Pt. alluvial forest (No. 112 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
Park and woodland tree populations with a depth to groundwater ≤ 4 m
  • Mapping depth to groundwater of up to 4 m (as of 2003, HYDOR Consult GmbH)
  • Woodlands and forests (No. 401-409 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Woodlands and forests in major parks (No. 205 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Open areas of major parks (No. 206 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Medium-sized parks (No. 207 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Old park cemeteries (No. 203 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Wooded cemeteries (No. 204 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
Other groundwater-dependent biotopes
  • Pt. construction sites, storage areas, fallows (No. 209 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Pt. urban fallow areas, planned construction sites (No. 210 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
  • Pt. reforestations and fallow areas in former sewage-farm and sanitary landfills (No. 213 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02) partly
  • Pt. airports, police areas, gravel and sand quarries (No. 214 from Environmental Atlas Map 05.02)
Groundwater-dependent bodies of water
  • Internal working map
Tab. 1: Groundwater dependent ecosystems in Berlin

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