Our beautiful planet: Avenues as biodiversity havens | Eco Africa | DW | 18.10.2019
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Eco Africa

Our beautiful planet: Avenues as biodiversity havens

The quintessentially-German tree-lined avenue can provide vital habitats for endangered species. To raise awareness about their importance for the ecosystem, the winner of 2019's best avenue photo has just been named.

A photo of a chestnut-tree lined avenue, captured as the morning sun shines through the mist, has been named the winning image in this year's Avenue of the Year competition in Germany.

The state-wide photo competition run by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) aims to highlight how tree-lined avenues are crucial for biodiversity, and coincides with the country's "Avenue Day," held on October 20.

In Germany, the allee is taken to mean any wide tree-lined avenue – but many have been destroyed in recent years by road development projects.

This year's winning snap is of the 5km-long chestnut-lined Rosskastanien Allee, in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. 

Explaining their selection, the award's jury said: "The light falls on the mist, endowing the dawn in this old avenue with an especially magical quality.

"Not only the horse chesnuts, with their beautiful blossoms, but also the roadside offers nutrition and a habitat for numerous insects, birds and small animals."

Winner Heidi Sprenger said of her favourite avenue: "I find it wonderful how the chestnuts, despite the infestation of leaf-mining moths, delight us every year and even manage to ripen their fruit."

Katharina Dujesiefken, an expert on avenues at BUND, praised the winning avenue as being a shining example of a beautiful old tree-lined boulevard that has "thankfully not yet fallen victim to being covered with concrete."

"The trees are able to develop almost totally undisturbed," she said. "And that gives the avenue its thick leafy canopy which protects numerous insects and birds, while burrows are a welcome home for bats and other hole dwellers.

"In a landscape that has been shaped by huge agricultural areas which are often cleared, these avenues provide a vital corridor between various habitats for endangered animals and plants."

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