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Different components of the Earth system (land, atmosphere, ocean) are connected in various ways, thus changes in one ecosystem have impacts in another. My research interests are to investigate the effects of climate change and land-use change on ecosystems, mainly with respect to terrestrial systems. I work intensively on the relationship of global change on the provision of ecosystem services. I have a strong background in biology and geoecology and in my research I am primarily using dynamic global vegetation modelling and data analysis.

(A) Biodiversity tipping points in South America

In 2018 I was involved in a project which aimed at understanding the effects of global change on biodiversity tipping points and ecosystem service provision in South America - mainly focusing on the Grand Chaco and the Cerrado [Biodiv4Future].

Past projects of mine dealt with land-use intensity and ecological engineering in South-East Asia (B) and the impact of climate and land use on riverine carbon dynamics and terrestrial CO2 emissions in Amazonia (C).

(B) Land-use intensity and Ecological Engineering – Assessment Tools for risks and Opportunities in irrigated rice based production systems

Picture: Rice terraces in Banaue, Phillipines (F.Langerwisch) Combined effects of climate and land-use change shown as relative change in the provision of four ESS (compared to the baseline period 2001–2010, indicated by the colors) under the SRES scenario A2. Boxplots compiled for 2080–2099 in (a) highland sites and (b) lowland sites. Different land-use scenarios indicated by different gray filling of the boxes. Langerwisch et al. 2017 ERL.

The project LEGATO aimed to quantify the dependence of ecosystem functions and the services they generate in agricultural systems. The spatial foci are two areas in Southeast Asia: Vietnam (Tien Giang province in Mekong Delta and the Red River Valley from the Northwest mountain region to the delta) and The Philippines (Central Luzon from Banaue to Cabanatuan). LEGATO analysed the potential of ecological engineering to achieve an optimising of ecosystem functions and services and their stabilisation under future climate and land use change. See also here.

(C) Impact of climate variability on Carbon dynamics and terrestrial CO2 emissions

The Amazon basin is of prime importance for Earth System research. Strong climatic variations (e.g. El Nino) cause large interannual changes in fluxes of carbon and the destruction of tropical rain forest increases emissions of gases like CO2. Additionally, the remaining forest and its carbon storage are endangered by climate change.

Process based models of carbon and water budgets are able to estimate terrestrial carbon and water balance of large catchments. The process-based model RivCM (Riverine Carbon Model), which is coupled to the DGVM LPJmL, calculates the extend of flooded area, the amount of terrestrial fixed carbon, that is removed by the river, and the conversion of the carbon. The results indicate that climate change will shift inundation patterns, which will change the amount of removed carbon and therewith the organic carbon within the river. Land use change alters riverine carbon as well, since it reduces available terrestrial matter. Both future changes will not only largely impact regional carbon balance but also the Amazonian biotops and species.

Picture: Igapo floodplain forest near Manaus (F. Langerwisch)

Averaged annual amounts and change in the basin carbon budget due to climate change and deforestation.  Amount is given for future period with relative change compared to reference. Arrows indicate the direction of carbon transfer. (Langerwisch et al. 2016a, 2016b ESD)

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