Why is land dry

Boxing : Why the land is so dry

Potsdam. For centuries, farmers in what is now Brandenburg have fought against too much water. The 250th anniversary of the drainage of the 50 kilometer long and 20 kilometer wide Oderbruch has just been celebrated. Thousands of builders had dug a new bed for the river under the orders of Friedrich II and thus gained fertile fields.

Today drainage ditches with a total length of 23,000 kilometers run through the country. After every rain, the water quickly drains into the rivers. Most of the channels were created during the GDR era, when thousands of young people tampered with the major annual "improvement programs".

But the draining of the Mark, which was celebrated as a success at the time, is now a disadvantage. 83 percent of all moors, which are considered to be the most important water reservoirs, have disappeared. Depressions in which there was still water a few decades ago, even on hot days, have long since been straightened for the large agricultural machinery.

The pine, which still makes up 80 percent of the forests, still helps the land to dry out. “The needles cannot hold back any water,” explains Matthias Freude from the State Environment Agency. “In the case of deciduous trees, on the other hand, it drips very slowly from the leaves onto the ground, which therefore remains moist for much longer.” This is another reason why more mixed forests are to be planted over the next few decades.

The state is making 50 million euros available for this. In addition, numerous drainage ditches are being filled in again.

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