Field Station

The Brown Coal site in Søby (Brunkulslejerne)

Establishment of an AURA Field Station

In autumn 2013, the project established a research field station at a former brown coal mining area in Brande. The Brown Coal site in Søby (brunkulslejerne) was chosen due to its interesting cultural history as well as its unique geological environment. Brown coal is plant residues from sediments laid down 15-20 million years ago during the Neogene period. Brown coal was mined for in the period 1939-1970. One aim of the mining was to make Denmark independent of German fuel during World War 2. Read more about the area here.

The former ruined landscape today changes between deep excavated nutrient-poor lakes, hills and planted plains that make it an ideal place to study the new flora and fauna that has emerged after the mining for browncoal stopped in the 1970's. The project is using this site as a key place for both research into interspecies relations on anthropogenic landscapes and for methodological training.

The AURA group has been divided into research teams that are mainly cross-disciplinary and focus on a specific aspect of the brown coal area as an anthropogenic site: the freshwater lakes, the waste disposal site, the red deer and hunting communities, the geological history and the coniferous woodlands. The integrated nature of these research teams make them effective training tools.

  • Read about the exhibition Mild Apocalypse based on findings from the field station here
  • Cover story in Jyllandsposten from a trip to Søby with Researcher in charge Nils Bubandt

A special issue of the scientific Journal Ethno-Biology and an art-science anthology are currently under review.


    Photos from Søby and the Browncoal area

Brown coal mining went under water surface, which made the activities heavily dependent on pumping away water. When the mining came to an end in 1970 many of these mining areas where quickly filled up with water. Many of the 700 lakes are deep and sour/acid reducing plant and animal life. In some lakes private owners have now put out fish after reducing the level of acids (photo: Elaine Gan).
Large areas were long left untouched and without vegetation. Most have been replanted with pine. The plan is to let the state owned areas develop into a more natural forest (Photo: Elaine Gan).
Different animal and plant species are emerging in the Brown coal area. DNA tracing shows signs of at least one wolf having been in the area (photo: Elaine Gan).
The area can be a dangerous place to walk due to sudden mudslides, especially close to the lakes (photo: Elaine Gan).
Photo by Joshua Kim
Photo by Joshua Kim
Photo by Joshua Kim
The dump (Østdeponi). Photo by Joshua Kim
Photo by Joshua Kim

Future Field Station Trips

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Past Field Station Trips

Fri 29 Nov
08:00-14:00 | Brunkulslejerne, Arnborg
Field Station Trip 7, November 29-30, 2013
Sun 10 Nov
08:00-11:00 | Brunkulslejerne, Arnborg
Field Station Trip 6, November 10-11, 2013
Fri 08 Nov
08:00-17:00 |
Field Station Trip 5, November 8, 2013
Fri 01 Nov
09:00-14:00 |
Field Station Trip 4, November 1, 2013
Fri 25 Oct
08:00-17:00 |
Field Station Trip 3, October 25, 2013
Wed 23 Oct
09:00-17:00 | Brunkulslejerne, Arnborg.
Field Station Trip 2, October 23, 2013
Fri 04 Oct
09:00-11:00 | Brunkulslejerne, Arnborg. Søby Brown Coal Museum.
Field Station Trip 1, October 4-5, 2013

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The dump (Østdeponi). Photo by Joshua Kim