Nuertingen-Geislingen University
Nurtingen, Germany
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Involuntary culling of dairy cows is supposed to indicate animal welfare problems and cause economic loss. Data of 73212 dairy cows that left the farm in 2009 in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg were analyzed. Nearly one quarter of the cows left the farm after the first birth. As main reason with more than 50 % till the end of the 7th lactation health problems and infertility were identified. The average amount of milk per living day was 8.8 to 10.8 kg, depending on the breed; from the economic point of view 15 kg milk per living day makes a cow to be profitable. This early culling is economically unfavorable to the farmer and indicates animal welfare problems combined with pain and damage. In the following article the economic impacts of increased involuntary culling and low efficiency per living day are analyzed.

Bruns E.,Iner E V Institute For Nachhaltige Energie Und Ressourcennutzung | Roth M.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University
Natur und Landschaft | Year: 2017

Supplementing the contribution by Roth and Bruns (2016 a) on visual landscape quality assessment in landscape planning, this article summarises the results of an analysis of the state of visual landscape quality assessment in the context of assessment and balancing methods developed for the German Impact Mitigation Regulation (IMR) procedure since the 1990s. The narrow context (i. e. assessment purpose), the integration in comprehensive ecosystem-oriented approaches and a steadily increasing pressure towards pragmatic and simplified solutions, especially in the context of monetary compensation, have limited any thorough application of aesthetic criteria and consideration of subjective perceptions. New impulses for a more 'viewer-related' operationalisation could emerge from the integration of visual landscape quality assessment and compensation into the societal discourse about social acceptance of the major infrastructure projects currently associated with the transformation of energy supply systems (Energiewende).

Krueger K.,University of Regensburg | Krueger K.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University | Farmer K.,University of St. Andrews | Heinze J.,University of Regensburg
Animal Cognition | Year: 2014

Social learning is said to meet the demands of complex environments in which individuals compete over resources and cooperate to share resources. Horses (Equus caballus) were thought to lack social learning skills because they feed on homogenously distributed resources with few reasons for conflict. However, the horse's social environment is complex, which raises the possibility that its capacity for social transfer of feeding behaviour has been underestimated. We conducted a social learning experiment using 30 socially kept horses of different ages. Five horses, one from each group, were chosen as demonstrators, and the remaining 25 horses were designated observers. Observers from each group were allowed to watch their group demonstrator opening a feeding apparatus. We found that young, low-ranking and more exploratory horses learned by observing older members of their own group, and the older the horse, the more slowly it appeared to learn. Social learning may be an adaptive specialisation to the social environment. Older animals may avoid the potential costs of acquiring complex and potentially disadvantageous feeding behaviours from younger group members. We argue that horses show social learning in the context of their social ecology and that research procedures must take such contexts into account. Misconceptions about the horse's sociality may have hampered earlier studies. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Dahlin J.,University of Rostock | Dahlin J.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University | Herbes C.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University | Nelles M.,University of Rostock | Nelles M.,DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum Gemeinnutzige GmbH
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2015

Managing digestate output and developing a market for the product is a serious challenge for the biogas industry. Without effective strategies for sustainable management, the large volume of digestate produced by biogas plants may cripple the industry and its potential. Through interviews with diverse biogas stakeholders, we examine current approaches to digestate marketing to identify factors that support and those that inhibit its success. We find that marketing to regions with a nutrient demand or into the non-agricultural sector holds promise. Upgraded digestate products offer increased marketability due to their higher nutrient content and lower water content. Fertilizer and soil manufacturers, farmers, horticulturists and private customers all represent markets for digestate. Current disposal prices range from negative to strongly positive, depending on the regional nutrient availability, agricultural structure, season, feedstock and degree of upgrading. Marketers agree that concealing the biogas origin of digestate products is still necessary to avoid negative perceptions by customers. One implication of this is the need for better understanding by marketers of consumer concerns and preferences, and for better education of consumers regarding the safety and benefits of digestate. Overall, we find that opportunities for digestate marketing remain largely unexploited and marketing strategies remain immature. Our findings should prove helpful to current and future digestate marketers. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

To determine the ambient air concentration of NO, NO 2 and NH 3 as well as the immissions' effects, immission measurements using diffusive samplers and lichen mappings were carried out at seven sites in the area of Nürtingen (south of Stuttgart) and nearby Münsingen (Biosphere reserve Swabian Alb) with different conditions in settlement structure, land use and road traffic in 2010. Another aim of the study was to test the applicability of these methods well-established in environmental monitoring with regard to the underlying questions - impact of nitrogen, level of pollution and effects on the environment, influence of agriculture, road traffic and land use and determination of nitrogen impact in protected areas. As expected on the base of the local land use the ambient air concentrations of NO, NO 2 and NH 3 were quite different in their levels. At six sites the air quality was on level 3 (moderate), at one site on level 2 (low). The influence of eutrophicating pollutants was on level 5 (very high) at all sites. Differences in air quality at the seven sites were detected by a detailed interpretation of the mapping data. Generally, there was a good accordance between the results of the immission measurements, the lichen mappings and the local land use. Clear evidence of the importance of the ammonia load by road traffic and agricultural land use respectively could be pointed out. The study confirmed the suitability of diffusive samplers for an indicative monitoring of nitrogenous immissions. For monitoring the impact of nitrogen in ecosystems or biosphere reserve areas both methods - diffusive samplers and lichen mappings - are recommended. Thus, besides effect-based information about air quality, immission concentrations for an assessment regarding limiting values and for a causal analysis are on hand.

Herbes C.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University | Ramme I.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

There is an increasing body of research on consumer preferences concerning electricity from renewable resources. The purpose of this study is to analyze how providers' online marketing in one of the most developed markets for green energy can be improved. We conducted a content analysis of nearly 480 providers' websites, examining as many as 620 products. We found that energy providers' communication seems to be in line with academic research on potential customer benefits (utilitarian benefits, "warm glow", nature experience). However, communication could be improved by giving more detailed information on the impact of the consumer's decision, e.g. by giving numbers on CO2-emissions saved. Moreover, providers could improve the effectiveness of their visual messages by using more pictures related to renewable energy. Further, self-expressive benefits of buying green energy could be created by offering merchandise articles symbolizing the contribution a consumer makes by choosing a green tariff. When comparing purely green energy providers to other providers, we found that the former offer a wider choice as well as more products supporting new renewable installations. Important implications for policy makers aiming to phase out alternative energy subsidies emerge from our findings. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Ringel M.,Nuertingen-Geislingen University
Energy Efficiency | Year: 2016

The German government has proclaimed energy efficiency to be the ‘first imperative’ for the transformation of the energy system (‘Energiewende’). It has enacted numerous policy measures at federal, federal state and local level which combined should deliver the aspired energy savings. Our contribution reviews the German governance system (multi-level policy coordination and policy feedback through monitoring and verification of energy savings), including the full set of German Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs). We find that many of the SEAPs put emphasis on CO2 reduction but neglect a systematic monitoring and verification (M&V) of energy efficiency. A harmonised M&V scheme covering the relevant energy aggregates and energy savings can facilitate policy feedback. Designing the M&V system to the principle of cost-effectiveness can help to save costs and keep information provision and administrative burden in balance. Regarding policy coordination, the German case shows that strong formal coordination structures are a necessary condition for effective policy design, but not a sufficient one. They need to be backed up by informal coordination such as feedback loops or sharing of best practices to add a dynamic dimension. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

In academia as well as in landscape planning practice and administrative procedures the assessment of the visual quality of the landscape has often been considered problematic. Reasons identified are a lack of objectivity, reliability and validity of the methods applied, especially in the case of judgments of individual 'experts'. Based on the analysis of scientific, legal and practical requirements for visual landscape assessment methods the study presents an extensive research and analysis of published methods on the assessment of visual landscape quality. It also analyzed the use of these methods in landscape planning practice and presents an empirical and participatory tool to test the validity of assessment methods of the scenic quality. The paper presents results of this validity test and critically discusses the selected methods. It further shows that by incorporating participatory approaches into the development, validation and application of assessment methods of visual landscape quality the respective results are scientifically more valid, legally better able to stand up in court and easier to communicate in planning practice as well as ensuring acceptance of the planning measures derived.

Just as in other infrastructure planning process, participation of the local population is a key condition for the successful establishment of a national park. In contrast to this expectation, participation all too often results in mutual frustration: Neither the hoped-for acceptance of the project nor the expected influence of the participants on the project can be fully achieved. Such frustration is a major source of moral indignation. From an ethical perspective, project developers' anticipation of acceptance is as disputable as the affected public's expectation of influence. Using the example of the recent debate on the Northern Black Forest National Park, the article explores why public deliberation increases acceptability even if it does not create acceptance. The reasons and requirements for civic participation as well as its limitations are discussed from an ethical perspective. The article does not address technical or methodological aspects, but rather the theoretical prerequisites and criteria of successful participation. © 2014 W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart.

This paper is a rejoinder to an opinion paper by Wolfgang Haber, according to which ethical arguments do not count for the conservation of nature und biodiversity. In contrast to Haber's opinion, this article argues that ethical arguments are indispensable for conservation. To support this view five aspects are discussed: Against an understanding of human population in merely biological terms a differentiation of life styles and societal relations to nature is asked for. It is argued that conservation should not dismiss the idea of a good human life, but should rather actively address it in communication measures. Debate about the moral intrinsic value of nature is depicted as an all too narrow approach to ethics. The opposition of humanitarian and conservation goals is contrasted with an inclusive conception of humanism. Finally, discrepancies between naturalism and conservation are debated critically. © 2014. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart.

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