Land-Use Management

Land-Use Management
Picture by Frederico Respini on Unsplash

Nowadays, production of food, energy and materials, and the related use of water, nitrogen and other inputs account for crucial components and interactions in the land as well as full earth system. The global land system will be facing new intersecting challenges in the future such as changing climate and increasing demand for ecosystem services. On the other hand it will have to undergo fundamental transformations to meet the requirements of climate protection, environmental sustainability, food and water security as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection and regeneration. Hence, there is a higher need than ever for interdisciplinary science on sustainable land-use management.

Our research responds to this need by the analysis of transformation pathways towards sustainable land-use systems to reach the sustainable development goals (SDGs) within planetary boundaries. We estimate baseline trajectories for the future, identify options for intervention, and study opportunities and risks in regard to a multitude of policy goals. Hereby, our approach bridges different disciplinary approaches by combining agricultural economics with biology and hydrology, and by establishing firm links to research areas such as energy systems, macroeconomics, climate science or public health. We investigate topics from an interdisciplinary perspective and at different geographic scales. Besides its scientific goals, policy relevance for e.g. international bodies such as CBD, OECD, SDSN, World Bank and FAO is of core importance for our research.


MAgPIE (Model of Agricultural Production and its Impacts on the Environment)



Joint Activities

The working group Land-Use Management (RD3) is part of the cross-cutting activity Land Use, in which it - together with the working group Land Use and Resilience (RD2) forms a strong, inter-disciplinary team.

The central methodological tool for this research is the global multi-regional land system modeling framework MAgPIE (Model of Agricultural Production and its Impacts on the Environment) and its underlying data structure (MADRaT). MAgPIE has evolved into one of the world’s leading land-system modeling frameworks for the analysis of climate change impacts and mitigation strategies but also for sustainable development issues taking into account the biophysical as well as the socio-economic dimension. MAgPIE is linked to the biophysical model LPJmL as well as the energy-economy-climate model REMIND and in this combination MAgPIE was also selected as one of five marker models for the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSP), which is the new integrating framework for the scientific communities on physical climate, climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation, sustainable development as well as biodiversity and ecosystem services research. Since 2018 the MAgPIE model is Open Source.

Beyond the work with the MAgPIE model, the LUM group has also played a leading role in the comparative assessment of scenario results from multiple models (e.g. AgMIP, ISI-MIP, and Stanford Energy Modelling Forum) and contributes strongly to international climate, land-use, biodiversity and ecosystem service assessments such as IPCC and IPBES.

Master Thesis and internships

You are at the beginning of your master program and want to work on our topics? You want to write your master thesis in the landuse group of PIK? Please have a look at our potential topic list and contact us!