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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Themes

Land-climate-interactions

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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News

Autobahn

This year's carbon budget published

The annual update on the global carbon budget, which is led by the Global Carbon Project is published. Our team contributes to these regular updates with LPJ-GUESS simulations.

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Amboseli National Park, Kenya: Due to climate change, glaciers on the Kilimanjaro are retreating. Plants and animals in the valleys below, however, are dependent on water from the glacier.

Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change

A considerable number of existing and proposed post-2020 biodiversity targets by international organizations are at risk of being severely compromised due to climate change, even if other barriers such as habitat exploitation are removed argue the authors of a study led by Almut Arneth. According to their analysis published in PNAS, global warming accelerates the loss of biodiversity. Vice versa, measures to protect biodiversity may also mitigate the impacts of climate change. The authors suggest that flexible approaches to conservation would allow dynamic responses to the effects of climate change on habitats and species.

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Agriculturally used area

Published: A comprehensive quantification of global nitrous oxide sources and sinks

Nitrous oxide (N₂O), like carbon dioxide, is a long-lived greenhouse gas that accumulates in the atmosphere. Over the past 150 years, increasing atmospheric N₂O concentrations have contributed to stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change, with the current rate of increase estimated at 2 per cent per decade.

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