Land Use and Resilience

Working Group Leader:

phone: +49 (0)331 288 2685


This working group will explore how improved agricultural management can help to make land-use systems more resilient against climate change. Management of pastureland and cropland strongly affects agricultural productivity, environmental impacts, and resource-use efficiencies. Management aspects need to be better understood and represented in simulation models and future scenarios to allow for assessing climate change impacts and for exploring a range of adaptation options, e.g. crop variety choice or multiple cropping systems. This group will also develop modelling capacities to better address future challenges in human nutrition, with a focus on food diversity. Agriculture does not only supply calories to feed the world’s population, but also various macro- and micro-nutrients. To assess the role of climate change in food and nutrition security, the existing focus on staple crops will be expanded to fruits and vegetables. The models LPJmL and MAgPIE will be extended to capture these new demands.

The working group land use and resilience is part of the cross-cutting activity land use, in which the 2 working groups land-use management (RD3) and land use and resilience (RD2) form a strong, inter-disciplinary team. Jointly, these 2 working groups address various land-use related research questions, including climate impacts, climate mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development.

For more details, please refer to the joint web page of the land-use group.

Key questions:

  1. How will a strong future increase in bioenergy demand affect land rents? What are the limits of global bioenergy production due to the availability of land and water?
  2. What is the role of technological change in competing uses of land and water for food production, energy production, forestry and biodiversity conservation?
  3. How important are changes in food demand patterns and habits for global land use patterns and land-use related emissions?
  4. What is an optimal global land use strategy for maintaining species and landscape diversity?


The working group land use and resilience and covers large-scale biogeochemical as well as socio-economic processes. This group provides long-term global scenarios with a high spatial resolution on socio-economic development, climate impact assessments and adaptation strategies, to be used as inputs by regional and sectoral modeling groups. Regional modeling groups systematically contribute their detailed results to highly aggregated global syntheses of climate impacts and costs. Global-scale assessments can guide selection of regional hot-spots for detailed impacts studies. This regional-global interaction is already being successfully pursued at PIK in current project SUSTAg. Interaction and cooperation between different modeling groups within RD2 and abroad will be further strengthened.

Team members:

  • Felicitas Beier is PhD student, studied International Economics and works now on the implementation of policy measures with regards to water resources in land-use modeling.
  • Benjamin Bodirsky does research as PostDoc on Long-term scenario elaboration of the land-use sector based on the MAgPIE model, in particular the global nitrogen cycle and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and land-use change.
  • Marie Brunel is modelling the role of grassland fire on Brasilian land use change as a PhD student funded by the DFG IRTG research group.
  • David Chen works on waste flows and intends to conduct a PhD.
  • Jens Heinke analyses global change impacts on the water cycle with an emphasis on water resources, food production and human-environment interaction and will finish his PhD soon.
  • Hermann Lotze-Campen is the Head of the Research Department 2 and developed a global land use modelling framework for assessments of the interplay between climate impacts, global food and bioenergy demand, agricultural land and water use, trade, and the environment.
  • Sara Minoli is a postdoc in the land use group with the focus on agriculture management practices and the effects on crop productivity and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Christoph Müller is the leader of the working group "Land Use and Resilience" . His research interests are process-based modeling of biogeochemical cycles, land-use dynamics and agricultural systems and he has a strong LPJmL modelling expertise.
  • Susanne Rolinski is a senior scientist and her research focuses on the identification and characterization of managed grasslands, biogeochemical cycles in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. She has strong LPJmL modelling expertise.
  • Xiaoxi Wang is a guest researcher from the Zhejiang University in China and does research in political economy and land use dynamics. He quantifies impacts of land governance on deforestation, food prices and trade patterns by modelling with MAgPIE.
  • Stephen Wirth is a PhD student modelling functional diversity in managed grasslands with LPJmL.
  • Isabelle Weindl is a PostDoc with the research focus on modelling the livestock sector in the global landuse model MAgPIE and assessing the sustainable use of biomass and environmental impacts of agricultural production.

Third party funded projects contributing to the working group Land use and Resilience

  • COACCH : CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs funded by EU, H2020; 01.12.2017-30.05.2021; contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen, Benjamin Bodirsky
  • CLIMASTEPPE: The potentials of Russian steppes to reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emissions; funded by BMBF, PT DLR ; 01.11.2018-30.06.2021; contact: Christoph Müller, Susanne Rolinski
  • DBU_Beier: Analyse und Bewertung von Politikinstrumenten zur Sicherstellung einer ökonomisch effizienten, gerechten und ökologisch nachhaltigen Allokation von globalen Süßwasservorkommen, funded by DBU, 01.01.2019-31.12.2021; contact: Felicitas Beier
  • EXIMO: Extreme climate impacts interacting across sectors; funded by BMBF, PT DLR; 01.03.2020-28.02.2023; contact: Christoph Müller, Dieter Gerten
  • Fable India: FABLE land use analysis for India; funded by SDSN; 01.06.2019-28.02.2021; contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen
  • FSEC Food System Economics Commission; funded by EAT Foundation; 01.11.2020-30.06.2023; contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen
  • FOCUS: Food security and sustained coastal livelihoods through linking land and ocean; funded by BMBF PTJ; 01.08.2019-31.07.2022; contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen
  • MAPPY: Multisectoral analysis of climate and land use change impacts on pollinators, plant diversity and crops yields; funded by BMBF PT DLR; 01.09.2019-31.08.2022; contact: Christoph Müller

    Completed projects

    Publications and Visualizations

    Master Thesis and internships:

    You want to write your master thesis in the landuse group of PIK? Or you want to stay for a longer internship? Please have a look at our potential topic list and contact us!


    Joint activities:

    photo credits: