Person holding a sugar beet

Image by Jonathan Schulze

County of Euskirchen.

Blue map of Europe with an orange pin on County of Euskirchen

The County of Euskirchen is a rural district in the southern part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It borders the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Belgium. Spanning 1,248.73 km² with 198,967 inhabitants, the County of Euskirchen is characterised by two natural regions: the wooded Eifel in the southwest, and the fertile, mostly flat Zülpicher Börde in the northeast, part of the Lower Rhine Bay. The County consist of eleven municipalities, with Euskirchen and Mechernich being the largest towns, with populations of 60,000 and 25,000. Topographically and climatically, Euskirchen, Zülpich, and Weilerswist belong to the Zülpicher Börde, while the remaining municipalities are part of the Eifel.

Challenges facing the region.

Due to global warming, the County of Euskirchen faces heightened risks of extreme weather events, especially floods and droughts, owing to its specific topography and land use features. In July 2021, the region experienced a historic flood disaster, resulting in over 180 casualties, with 27 from Euskirchen. The unprecedented rainfall, up to 200 litres per square meter in 24 hours, caused flash floods and massive damage, altering cityscapes and townscapes. Despite financial support, the ongoing restoration work will take years. Beyond flooding, the County struggles with heat stress on farmland, urban areas, and forests during summers, leading to falling groundwater tables, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss. Urban areas face challenges like significantly increasing temperatures in the summer, including rising number of tropical nights (nights when the temperature does not fall below 20 °C), aggravating the "urban heat island effect," particularly affecting vulnerable groups in densely populated areas.

County of Euskirchen Kloster Steinfeld

Image by Jonathan Schulze

LAND4CLIMATE related actions and expected results.

Flower field in the County of Euskirchen

Image by Jonathan Schulze

In the County of Euskirchen, LAND4CLIMATE focuses on tailored nature-based interventions for residential and agricultural areas. A key initiative involves establishing "Tiny Forests" in privately owned spaces, creating miniature forests that contribute significantly to carbon storage and increased biodiversity. The dense planting of Tiny Forests safeguards soil fertility and improves microclimates, addressing climate challenges in urban areas. In agricultural zones, the focus is on promoting the planting of reed grass (miscanthus), a fast-growing crop serving as a carbon sink, preventing soil erosion, and providing refuge for wildlife. The versatility of miscanthus allows for various product applications and the establishment of a local business model. Additionally, rainwater infiltration troughs are implemented to cool the environment, recharge groundwater, manage excess rainwater for flood protection, and enhance water quality. Greening efforts in urban areas promote biodiversity, cool environments, and act as natural buffers against flooding. This urban greening initiative is crucial for creating sustainable, resilient, and ecologically harmonious urban environments.  Furthermore, the utilisation of drainage water from fields is explored to replenish groundwater, relieve stocks, and potentially reduce fertiliser and pesticide use. These integrated actions under LAND4CLIMATE aim to enhance climate resilience, promote biodiversity, and foster sustainable practices in the County of Euskirchen.

How can locals and private landowners get involved?

Residents and private landowners in the county of Euskirchen can actively participate in LAND4CLIMATE through citizen surveys, workshops, and face-to-face meetings. The county is committed to ensuring a high level of engagement by seeking input on the perception and acceptance of climate adaptation measures. Farmers will be directly involved through meetings to present and coordinate climate adaptation concepts. Workshops and interactive formats are being developed for broader community participation. Regular updates on the status of climate adaptation measures will be shared through social networks to keep all stakeholders, including locals and private landowners, informed and engaged in the process.

County of Euskirchen Gildehaus

Image by Jonathan Schulze

Local Project Partners