About us

Our team is interested in how land ecosystems, climate change and land-use change interact globally and regionally. We explore through a range of modelling approaches challenges and solutions to sustainable development arising from land system dynamics. We are based at the Campus Alpin of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, located in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Southern Germany.

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How do land and climate interact? Climate is a chief co-determinant of vegetation cover and carbon, water and nutrient cycles. Climate change, including the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, therefore will cause biomes’ boundaries to shift, and impact biodiversity and numerous processes in terrestrial ecosystems.

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Ecosystem functional diversity and services

Life together with climate and other abiotic drivers is the basis to the state and functioning of the ecosystems. Although we do not fully understand the entirety of consequences of our doing, humanity is exploiting, in many places over-exploiting, ecosystems around the world: to gather resources, as space for human living, and for agriculture, forestry, and many other forms of use.

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Impacts and future of land use

Land provides the basis for our livelihoods – but the current extend of human influence, magnitude and rate of change of resource use is historically unprecedented and not sustainable. The way humans make use of terrestrial ecosystems clearly will have to improve, especially since changing climate and rising CO2 concentrations will become additional key factors, which affect growing conditions for crops, pastures, and forests.

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Aerial view of land-use in Germany

Summer School 2024

Land Use and Ecosystem Change
30th July - 7th August 2024

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - Campus Alpin in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, offers a 7-​day international Summer School (3-4 ECTS) on the topic of land use and ecosystem change. Participants will learn about a wide range of issues related to land use change, socio-ecological systems, ecosystem functioning, and modelling techniques.

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Aerial view of ah ighway with trucks and a service station - land-use in Germany

This year's Carbon Budget published

The annual update on the global carbon budget, which is led by the Global Carbon Project is published.


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Eine optimierte Landnutzung könnte unter Berücksichtigung klimatischer Bedingungen trotzdem die Erträge maßgeblich erhöhen und dabei den Flächenverbrauch in Grenzen halten.

Optimizing global land use - benefits and trade-offs

Doubling food production, saving water and increasing carbon storage at the same time - this sounds paradoxical, but would be theoretically possible, at least according to the Earth's biophysical potential.
Former team member Anita Bayer, Sven Lauterbach and Almut have published ‘how’ in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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