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Institute of Soil Landscape Research

Institute of Land Use Systems

Institute of Landscape Biogeochemistry

Institute of Landscape Systems Analysis

Institute of Landscape Hydrology

Institute of Socio-Economics

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Core Topic I: Landscape Functioning

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Prof. Dr. J. Augustin
T +49 (0)33432 82-376

The immense knowledge deficits regarding the functioning of landscapes were outlined in a strategy paper of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on long-term perspectives and infrastructure of terrestrial research, dating from 2013. This paper also emphasizes the necessity for long-term research planning, especially in order to identify trends and interactions. The DFG demands long-term observations and research infrastructures “which enable the coordinated observation of coupled processes (land use, element in- and outputs, etc.)” and the identification of overlapping trends. The paper also stresses the necessity of linking research infrastructures with observation and experimental plat-forms. Moreover, research gaps related to the transition of scales are to be closed, and integrated research approaches developed for new disciplines. This requires common simulation models as well as the creation of a collective knowledge base to support close cooperation between the disciplines.​

It is the central objective of Core Topic I “Landscape Functioning” to make a consid-erable contribution to solve these problems. The focus therefore lies on studying the natural-science basis of the “functioning” of spatio-temporally differentiated landscape processes, in order to improve the understanding of the relevant processes as well as their interdependencies and interactions in the landscape. Exemplarily, this approach is applied to the biogeochemistry of agricultural landscapes, with special attention being paid to the carbon cycle, its interactions with the water and nitrogen cycles as well as plant growth, and their modification by natural and anthropogenic factors. Comprehensive knowledge of these processes is an important prerequisite for solving Grand Societal Challenges such as increasing the production of food and feed or raw materials and reducing land-use related environmental impacts.

Accordingly, based on fundamental research results, Core Topic I provides application-oriented data and information for Core Topics II and III; for example, statements on the environmental impact of land-use systems, or recommendations regarding the optimization of water and nutrient utilization and the reduction of land-use related environmental impacts.


More Core Topics

Core Topic II: Land Use and Impacts

Core Topic III: Land Use Conflicts and Governance

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