The Hessian state capital Wiesbaden is surrounded by rural suburbs, in which grow more than 40,000 fruit trees. These include a large number of different types of fruit, many of them are old and rare. Today you can still find around 3,000 different types of fruit on German orchards, of which around 1,200 are apple varieties. However, the care of the trees is often very complex and so it happens that a large number of the trees decay.
Many of these old fruit varieties represent an important genetic resource for future generations: Various studies have shown that the antioxidant and polyphenol content in old fruit varieties is up to 1/3 higher than in newer varieties. Old varieties also have up to eight times more phytochemicals than modern varieties. In the modern varieties, these were bred out so that the apples no longer turn brown after cutting. The secondary plant substances are extremely healthy: True to the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", they can prevent cancer with their antioxidant properties and also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, old apple varieties are particularly well tolerated by allergy sufferers.
Naturefund has been campaigning for a long time to preserve Wiesbaden's diverse orchard landscape: In 2012, we began using our first orchard, and to date we have cut more than 1,500 old standard fruit trees, cleared countless meadows and currently planted more than 200 new fruit trees. In sum, this means that almost a third of the decaying trees have been saved through the work of Naturefund.
That is why the protection and care of trees and especially the planting of old varieties continues to be the focus of Naturefund's work. Since many of the still existing fruit trees have almost reached their lifespan of 80 to 100 years, new trees of the old varieties have to be planted in order to keep the old fruit varieties in our landscape. The main focus of the plantings is in particular to preserve the diversity of the old fruit variety. Because: the greater the diversity, the more stable is a system against climate change. With the planting of the old varieties, we want to preserve both the livelihood for us humans and the extremely diverse biodiversity in the orchards.
We are also taking a further step: In collaboration with a pomologist, we want to work out a mapping of the locations of old varieties in order to obtain a precise overview of the current population and to find species that have not yet been discovered. Special protection must then take place at these locations, which is monitored regularly. In addition, we want to spread the knowledge about old varieties and educate the public about the importance of these.
Help us with this endeavor! For only 5 € you can preserve 1 m² of orchards in the long term. For € 25 you can help us plant a tree sapling of an old fruit variety.
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