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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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About the institute

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Contribution to Research of ZALF


The Institute of Land Use Systems cooperate internationally and nationally, as well as internal ZALF to the following topics.

1. We analyse and describe long term impacts of land use changes and other anthropogenic forces. Historic land-use patterns may have long term impact on contemporary flora and fauna composition. Such memory effects are investigated by linking spatial patterns of species abundance to land use histories. The heterogeneity in the field is also an important topic (Contribution to Core Topic I "Landscape Process").

2. We develop adaptation options of land-use systems and analyse their effects on ecosystem services and biodiversity. We analyse the interacting spatio-temporal heterogeneities of plant communities and land management patterns to identify resource efficient solutions. Results are used for cropping system modelling as well as for developing innovative management methods (Contribution to Core Topic II "Land Use and Impact").

3. We develop and test methods for sustainability assessment of land-use changes to deliver the evidence base for governance approaches. The relation between agricultural land-use and ecosystem services is analysed in case studies to identify conflicts and requirements for land use governance in support of sustainable land use (Contribution to Core Topic III "Land Use Conflicts and Governance").


Research area


Resource-efficient Land Use Systems

Contact person: Dr. agr. Johann Bachinger

Picture Beregnungsanlage (Photo: Dr. Timm Sauer, ZALF) 

This research area focus on land-use systems, how the formation and adaptation can be optimized to biotic and abiotic resource-efficiency, production-efficiency and climate change. New technologies and their integration to land-use are established. Indicators are analyzed for sustainable development. The basics and formation principles of land-use systems are analyzed on process based methods as well as participatory methods. Site specific and regional dependent input-output relations are also an important research focus. The results are used for model development and scenario analysis. The research area contribute to the research focusses of core topic II "Modern site-adapted and region-specific land-use systems" as well as "Land use in the interaction of production and the provision of ecosystem services".


Habitat Quality and Dynamics of Agricultural Landscapes

Contact person: apl. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Monika Wulf

Picture Blumen und Spinne (Photo: Dr. Michael Glemnitz, ZALF) 

The research area investigates the relation of species-community pattern and their changes to environmental factors, land-use systems and landscape-structural parameters at various temporal and spatial scales in agricultural landscapes. Basic research and methods to describe, quantify and evaluate habitat functions of typical species at various spatial scales are investigated to analyse the effect of spatial heterogeneity on species pattern. The research area contributes especially to the research focus of the core topic II "Land use in the interaction of production and the provision of ecosystem services" and the research focus of core topic I "Forensics of landscape development".


Sustainability Assessment of Land Use Systems

Contact person: Prof. Dr. sc. agr. Katharina Helming

Picture Strohballen (Photo: www.pixabay.com) 

Here we link properties and services of land use systems to societal value systems in order to conduct a sustainability assessment. We build upon findings about land use services from the other research areas and assess those in the light of societal value systems. Just as land use systems, also those value systems exhibit spatio-temporal patterns, the interactions of which are explored and assessed with the help of suitable indicators. The research area contributes to the research focus of the core topic II "Impact assessment and sustainable development" and that of core topic III "Analysis and valuation of existing governance approaches and policies".



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