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Our life is literally grounded on soil. Beyond that, soils are a record of our natural and cultural heritage. Visit our topic “Soil” to discover what Berlin’s soils reveal about the development of the city and find out what’s beneath your feet.

Soil Associations

Link to: Soil Associations
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What types of soil do we encounter in Berlin? And what parent materials form the basis for the soils on which we walk? Take a look at our “Soil Associations” topic. Learn more about the distribution and frequency of different soil associations here. More information

Soil-Scientific Characteristic Values

Link to: Soil-Scientific Characteristic Values
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What’s the difference between a high-quality and a low-quality soil? Read our topic “Soil-Scientific Characteristic Values” to find out what aspects come into play and what they reveal about the soils of the city. More information

Criteria of the Soil Functions

Link to: Criteria of the Soil Functions
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A soil is not only evaluated based on its properties. The criteria used for assessing its role in the natural balance and in climate protection also come into play. Discover different soil characteristics and how to evaluate them here. More information

Soil Functions

Link to: Soil Functions
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Humans, animals, plants and organisms benefit from soil’s many functions. Visit “Soil Functions” to find out more about them. Discover how soil can be used, including its natural functions, such as groundwater protection. Six maps outline how these properties are developed in Berlin. More information

Planning Advice for Soil Protection

Link to: Planning Advice for Soil Protection
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The “Planning Advice on Soil Protection” offers guidance on how to meet the demand for new housing and infrastructure whilst also protecting the soil. Soils that are particularly worthy of protection in Berlin as well as planning requirements and measures for soil protection are presented on a map. More information

Impervious Soil Coverage

Link to: Impervious Soil Coverage
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Be it houses, streets, industrial areas – construction measures leave soils covered left right and centre. They are asphalted, paved or built on. Land consumption is to be kept to a minimum, in order to protect nature and the microclimate. Get right into Berlin’s data on impervious coverage here. More information

Removal of Impervious Soil Coverage

Link to: Removal of Impervious Soil Coverage
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In order to maintain a better balance, whenever a new area receives an impervious cover, the cover of a different area is removed, if possible. The cover is removed to restore the soil and its natural functions. Discover here which areas are suitable and where they are located. More information


Link to: Peatlands
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Did you know? Berlin’s largest contiguous peatland area of just under 200 hectares is the Gosener Wiesen located in Treptow-Köpenick. Learn more about these extraordinary biotopes and access background information on why peatlands are of utmost importance to the climate here. More information

Geological Outline

Link to: Geological Outline
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Berlin’s landscape was formed during the Ice Age. A mix of deposits from this and other eras can therefore be found below ground. Check out the “Geological Outline” to learn more about the geological units of the city. More information

Geological Map

Link to: Geological Map
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Berlin’s urban area was first geologically mapped between 1875 and 1883. In some places, this data is more relevant than ever: they unearth landscape contexts some of which vanished from the cityscape decades ago. Dive into our topic “Geological Map 1 : 25,000” to learn more. More information

Engineer's Geological Map

Link to: Engineer's Geological Map
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

Did you know that parts of Berlin are grounded on dune sand? Or that the properties of the ground below the surface differ across the city? Check out the “Engineer’s Geological Map” to find out more! More information

Sewage Farms

Link to: Sewage Farms
Image: Umweltatlas Berlin

It’s hard to believe: in 1928, about 10,000 hectares of land in and around Berlin were used as sewage farms, i.e. areas for wastewater field treatment. Read up on the concept behind these farms, their history and what has happened to former sewage farms in the chapter “Sewage Farms”. More information

Heavy Metals in Soils

Link to: Heavy Metals in Soils
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Measurement programmes from the 1980s revealed that our soils and plants are, in part heavily, contaminated with lead and cadmium. Visit our topic “Heavy Metals in Soils and Plants” to discover where this is the case and how to prevent an excessive intake. More information

Radioactivity in Soils

Link to: Radioactivity in Soils
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Forest fruits, mushrooms and game meat still carry a piece of history. Why? Because of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Some of the radioactive substances released spread throughout Europe. Read up on the levels of radiation Berlin was exposed to and the background here. More information