BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg is the second largest university and the only technical university of the State of Brandenburg, Germany. Located in the city of Cottbus between Berlin, Dresden and Wrocław (PL) the university has a capacity of 10,000 students with a high proportion of international students from about 100 countries. BTU is a research-driven university with strong basic research and application orientation. It has the classical hallmarks of a technical university and is characterized as such. The research areas offered by the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg include the following topics: Environment, energy, materials, and biotechnology. The BTU Research Centre Landscape Development and Mining Landscapes (FZLB) together with the Chair of Soil Protection and Recultivation investigate the development of marginal landscapes, e. g. post-mining landscapes or former industrial sites. In this framework basic research on ecosystem functions and development as well as applied projects focusing on practical land use options for marginal sites are carried out. BTU cooperates closely with mining companies and is very experienced with regard to reclamation and restoration of severely disturbed landscapes. Special attention is paid to the scientific monitoring of agroforestry approaches for marginal sites. An up-to-date laboratory equipment of the cooperating FZLB chairs offers good prerequisite for environmental and ecological studies, particularly for soil scientific analyses. BTU Research Centre Landscape Development and Mining Landscapes (FZLB) is coordinating collaborative research projects in environmental sciences as a central scientific unit. The center is responsible for a broad spectrum of activities in soil-reclamation and land-use. The Chair of Soil Protection and Recultivation is one partner within the FZLB. Its focus is on the investigation of processes of initial ecosystem development as well as on applied aspects of mine site reclamation. Agroforestry as an alternative land use opportunity particularly for marginal lands is one of the most important research areas of the chair. BTU is in close contact to the regional lignite mining company Vattenfall Europe Mining AG which enables the university to use manifold experimental sites within the “real lab” of the Lusatian lignite mining district. In addition, potentials of former industrial sites for biomass production have been investigated in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn AG. The Chair of Soil Protection and Recultivation is equipped with state-of-the art laboratory facilities allowing all kinds of soil chemical, physical and biological analyses. FZLB coordinates further experimental sites in the post-mining landscapes of Lusatia left to an unrestricted natural succession which will serve as reference sites. Long-term time series from a comprehensive monitoring programme can be provided for all relevant ecosystem compartments.