Children pose for a picture before planting.

Children pose for a picture before planting. Credit: Deutsch Umwelthilfe

About the Meadow Orchards in Hannover/Hildesheim ReLeaf Project:

Alcoa Foundation, American Forests and the nonprofit Deutsche Umwelthilfe are planting 500 fruit trees across five acres of public space in the Hannover/Hildesheim region of Germany in order to restore biodiversity to the region.

ReLeaf Location:

Hannover and Hildesheim, Germany

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 400 trees on five acres.
  • Eestoring biodiversity.
  • Enhancing the environment of local schools and engaging their students in environmental protection and conservation.

Why This ReLeaf Project?

For generations, meadow orchards were a distinctive trait in the Hannover/Hildesheim region of Germany, but over the years, the traditional, mixed fruit orchards have been replaced by monoculture fruit farms. A region that 100 years ago produced 1,000 different kinds of apples now only produces a few. This has affected forest health and wildlife habitat.

By planting a variety of new fruit trees on public and ecclesiastical spaces, as well as in the gardens of schools and other public buildings, this project is making sure the fruit it provides is available for all members of the community.

Why a Fruit Orchard?

Like all trees, fruit trees provide many ecological functions. For instance, fruit tree boles create habitat for a number of wildlife species, such as owls and dormice. The benefit for humans, however, can be even greater. By existing on public lands, biologically diverse fruit orchards provide fresh food for people with lower incomes, while also improving the quality of life around the public spaces.