On 19 October 2022, in the presence of Klara Geywitz (Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Construction) and Dr Manja Schüle (Brandenburg’s Minister for Science, Research and Culture), the official starting signal was given for the New Branitz Baumuniversität in Cottbus. The project is part of the federal programme “Adaptation of Urban Spaces to Climate Change” and is funded by the federal government with five million euros. Germany’s largest model project on this topic is intended to show new ways of preserving historic gardens in the face of climate change.
In addition to periods of drought, extreme weather events and excessively warm winters, the centuries-old tree population in Branitz Park is also suffering from increasing pest infestations and diseases. The loss of numerous characteristic large trees in recent years is visibly changing the appearance of the Branitz Park. This problem also affects other large and small historic gardens in the region and throughout Germany.
The central concern of the Branitz Baumuniversität, as part of the Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum (SFPM), is to preserve historic tree varieties and to test new methods of propagating and using trees on site. The name Baumuniversität (Tree University) refers to the tree nursery in Branitz Park created by Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau as early as 1846 to raise older, large and distinctive woody plants for transplanting. In addition to the area of the historic Baumuniversität on the grounds of the Schlossgärtnerei in the inner park, which was already revived in 2011, the New Branitz Baumuniversität will now be created in the northern outer park. Over the next two years, the majority of the cultivated areas for the propagation and cultivation of woody plants will be created on the twelve-hectare, fallow site of a former large-scale nursery. In addition, parts of the existing greenhouse facilities will be reactivated and further infrastructure for research operations will be built.
FUGMANN JANOTTA PARTNER prepared the development concept for the project. In addition to the areas of the New Branitz Baumuniversität in the outer park area, this also includes recommendations for action for the Schlossgärtnerei (the old tree nursery) and a future centre of excellence in the western park.
Dr. Stefan Körner, Director of the Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz, emphasised the necessity and opportunities of the project.
Christoph Haase, director of the Branitz Baumuniversität, explains the development concept.