Dr. Diana Sietz

Senior scientist

Sustainable land management and food security across scales

Rooted in land system science, I assess interactions between natural resources, food security and livelihoods in the context of climate and land use change. Insights support decisions to improve land management and food security at local, regional and global scales. Archetypical patterns of vulnerability and adaptation, critical thresholds and catastrophic shifts in socio-ecological systems receive particular attention. Learning from regional diversity provides knowledge for scaling sustainable land management fostering the achievement of Land Degradation Neutrality and other Sustainable Development Goals. I have worked in Europe, Latin America and Africa, often in drylands and high-mountain regions, in close collaboration with local communities, ministries, development agencies, international agricultural research centres and UN organisations.

My research delivers new insights for the Ecosystem Stability and Transitions Research Group at the Earth System Analysis Research Department and Hydroclimatic Risks Working Group at the Climate Resilience Research Department.

I coordinate Future Earth’s Global Land Programme (GLP) Working Group on “Archetype Analysis in Sustainability and Land Governance Research”.

I am an Editor at Regional Environmental Change Journal.


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2454
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Reviewer for: Global Environmental Change, Environmental Research Letters, Ecological Economics, Conservation Biology, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Land Use Policy, Climate and Development and other journals.

Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Diana_Sietz


1) Peer-reviewed publications:


Van den Elsen, E., Lindsay Stringer, Cecilia de Ita, Rudi Hessel, Sonia Kefi, Florian Schneider, Susana Bautista, Angeles Garcia Mayor, Mara Baudena, Max Rietkerk, Alejandro Valdecantos, Victoriano Ramon Vallejo, Nichola Geeson, Jane Brandt, Luuk Fleskens, Lia Hemerik, Panos Panagos, Sandra Valente, Jan Jacob Keizer, Gudrun Schwilch, Matteo Jucker Riva, Sietz, D. et al. (2020) Advances in understanding and managing catastrophic shifts in Mediterranean ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Section Conservation, Accepted 7 September 2020.

Liersch, S.; Drews, M.; Pilz, T.; Salack, S.; Sietz, D.; Aich, V.; Larsen, M.; Gädeke, A.; Halsnæs, K.; Thiery, W.; Huang, S.; Lobanova, A.; Koch, H.; Hattermann, F. (2020) One simulation, different conclusions - the baseline period makes the difference! Environmental Research Letters. Accepted 8 July 2020.

Vidal Merino M., Sietz D., Jost F., Berger U. (2020) The Andean Farmers of Peru: Farm-Household System Vulnerability to Climate-Related Hazards. Climate Change, Hazards and Adaptation Options: 1029-1044. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-37425-9_53

Sterzel, T., Lüdeke, MKB., Walther, C., Kok, M., Sietz, D. and Lucas, P. (2020) Typology of coastal urban vulnerability under rapid urbanization. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0220936. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220936


Sietz, D., Frey, U., Roggero, M., Gong, Y., Magliocca, N., Tan, R., Janssen, P. and Vaclavik, T. (2019) Archetype analysis in sustainability research: Methodological portfolio and analytical frontiers. Special Feature: Archetype Analysis in Sustainability Research. Ecology and Society 24(3):34.

Cholo, T., Fleskens, L, Sietz, D. and Peerlings, J. (2019) Land fragmentation, climate adaptation and food security in the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia. Agricultural Economics 50 (1): 39-49.

Oberlack, C., Sietz, D., Bonanomi, EB., De Bremond, A., Dell'Angelo, J., Eisenack, K., Ellis, E., Epstein, G., Giger, M., Heinimann, A., Kimmich, C., Kok, M., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Messerli, P., Meyfroidt, P., Vaclavik, T. and Villamayor-Tomas, S. (2019) Archetype analysis in sustainability research: Meanings, motivations, and evidence-based policy making. Special Feature: Archetype Analysis in Sustainability Research. Ecology and Society 24 (2):26.

Eisenack, K., Villamayor-Tomas, S., Epstein, G., Kimmich, C., Magliocca, N., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Oberlack, C., Roggero, M. and Sietz, D. (2019) Design and quality criteria for archetype analysis. Ecology and Society 24(3):6.

Vidal Merino, M., Sietz, D., Jost, F. and Berger, U. (2019) Archetypes of climate vulnerability: A mixed-method approach applied in the Peruvian Andes. Climate and Development 11(5): 418-434.

Nazari Nooghabi, S., Fleskens, L., Sietz, D. and Azadi, H. (2019) Typology of climate and non-climate vulnerability: The case of wheat farmers in Northeast Iran. Climate and Development. Online first:  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17565529.2019.1679072

Cholo, T., Fleskens, L, Sietz, D. and Peerlings, J. (2018) Is land fragmentation an opportunity or challenge for farmers’ climate adaptation in Ethiopia? Sustainability 10(7): 2120. doi:10.3390/su10072120.


Sietz, D., Ordoñez, JC., Kok, MTJ., Janssen, P., Hilderink, HBM., Tittonell, P. and Van Dijk, H. (2017) Nested archetypes of vulnerability in African drylands: Where lies potential for sustainable agricultural intensification? Environmental Research Letters 12 (2017) 095006.

Sietz, D., Fleskens, L. and Stringer, LC. (2017) Learning from non-linear ecosystem dynamics is vital for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality. Land Degradation and Development 28: 2308-2314.

Sietz, D. and Feola, G. (2016) Resilience in the rural Andes: Critical dynamics, constraints and emerging opportunities. Regional Environmental Change 16(8): 2163-2169.

Amjath-Babu, TS., Krupnik, T., Kaechele, H., Aravindakshan, S. and Sietz, D. (2016) Transitioning to groundwater irrigated intensified agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: An indicator-based assessment. Agricultural Water Management 168: 125-135.

Kok, M., Lüdeke, MKB., Lucas, P., Sterzel, T., Walther, C., Janssen, P., Sietz, D. and de Soysa, I. (2016) A new method for analysing socio-ecological patterns of vulnerability. Regional Environmental Change 16(1): 229-243.


Sietz, D. and Van Dijk, H. (2015) Land-based adaptation to global change: What drives soil and water conservation in western Africa? Global Environmental Change 33: 131-141.

Neumann, K., Sietz, D., Hilderink, H., Janssen, P., Kok, M. and Van Dijk, H. (2015) Environmental drivers of human migration in drylands - A spatial picture. Applied Geography 56: 116-126.

Sietz, D. (2014) Regionalisation of global insights into dryland vulnerability: Better reflecting smallholders’ vulnerability in Northeast Brazil. Global Environmental Change 25(1): 173-185.

Sterzel, T., Lüdeke, MKB., Kok, M., Walther, C., Sietz, D., de Soysa, I., Lucas, P. and Janssen, P. (2014) Armed conflict distribution in global drylands through the lens of a typology of socio-ecological vulnerability. Regional Environmental Change 14: 1419-1435.


Sietz, D., Mamani Choque, SE. and Lüdeke, MKB. (2012) Typical patterns of smallholder vulnerability to weather extremes with regard to food security in the Peruvian Altiplano. Regional Environmental Change 12(3): 489-505.

Sietz, D., Lüdeke, MKB. and Walther, C. (2011) Categorisation of typical vulnerability patterns in global drylands. Global Environmental Change 21(2): 431-440.

Sietz, D., Boschütz, M. and Klein, RJT. (2011) Mainstreaming climate adaptation into development assistance: Rationale, institutional barriers and opportunities in Mozambique. Environmental Science and Policy 14(4): 493-502.

Sietz, D., Untied, B., Walkenhorst, O., Lüdeke, MKB., Mertins, G., Petschel-Held, G. and Schellnhuber, HJ. (2006) Smallholder agriculture in Northeast Brazil: Assessing heterogeneous human-environmental dynamics. Regional Environmental Change 6(3): 132-146.


2) Commissioned expert studies, policy papers and reports (Selection)

Cradock-Henry, N., Sietz, D., Thomalla, F., Rahman, A. and van der Geest, K. (2015) Build robust methods and big datasets for research in support of resilient livelihoods. In: Ayeb-Karlsson, S., Tanner, T., van der Geest, K. and Warner, K. (Eds.) Livelihood resilience in a changing world: 6 global policy recommendations for a more sustainable future. UNU-EHS Working Paper Series 22, United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn, Germany.

Kok, M., Jäger, J., Karlsson, SI., Lüdeke, MKB., Mohamed-Katerere, JC., Thomalla, F., Dalbelko, GD., Soysa, I. de, Chenje, M., Filcak, R., Koshy, L., Martello, ML., Mathur, V., Moreno, AR., Narain, V., Sietz, D., Naser Al-Ajmi, D., Callister, K., De Oliveira, T., Fernandez, N., Gasper, D., Giada, S., Gorobets, A., Hilderink, H., Krishnan, R., Lopez, A., Nakyeyune, A., Ponce, A., Strasser, S. and Wonink, S. (2009) Vulnerability of people and the environment – Challenges and opportunities. Commissioned Background Report on Chapter 7 of the Fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Bilthoven.

Sietz, D., Boschütz, M., Klein, RJT. and Lotsch, A. (2008) Mainstreaming climate adaptation into development assistance in Mozambique: Institutional barriers and opportunities. The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper 4711.

Jäger, J., Kok, M., Mohamed-Katerere, JC., Karlsson, SI., Lüdeke, MKB., Dabelko, GD., Thomalla, F., de Soysa, I., Chenje, M., Filcak, R., Koshy, L., Long Martello, M., Mathur, V., Moreno, AR., Narain, V. and Sietz, D. (2007) Vulnerability of people and the environment: Challenges and opportunities. In: Global Environment Outlook 4: Environment for Development. UNEP, Progress Press, pp. 301-360.

Sietz, D., Boschütz, M. and Klein, RJT. (2007) Opportunities for and barriers to mainstreaming climate adaptation into development assistance in Mozambique. Technical Report, World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.

Petschel-Held, G., Sietz, D., Walkenhorst, O., Walther, C. and Brooks, N. (2004) Poverty and environment in Burkina Faso and Northeast Brazil: Development and application of a matrix concept to describe differential vulnerability to global change. Berlin, Germany, 61pp., Commissioned Expert Study to Graßl, H., Schubert, R., Epiney, A., Kulessa, M., Luther, J., Nuscheler, F., Sauerborn, R., Schellnhuber, HJ. and Schulze, E.-D. (2005) (Eds.) World in transition – Fighting poverty through environmental policy. Flagship Report, German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Earthscan, London, UK.

Cassel-Gintz, M., Gallati, J. and Sietz, D. (2004) Group model building – A transdisciplinary method of knowledge integration for the NCCR North-South. Part 2: Report, outcomes and conclusions of the JACS Workshop East Africa 2004. Working Paper 4, NCCR North-South Dialogue, Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research North-South, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.

Horizon H2020 Insurance: Oasis Innovation Hub for Catastrophe and Climate Extremes Risk Assessment (2020). European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme https://h2020insurance.oasishub.co/

SIM4NEXUS: Sustainable integrated management for the nexus of water-land-food-energy-climate for a resource-efficient Europe (2019-2020, European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme) https://www.sim4nexus.eu

SustainCBW: Towards a future sustainable world where climate, biodiversity, natural resources and human well-being are safeguarded (2017-2019, Leibniz-Gemeinschaft) https://www.pik-potsdam.de/research/earth-system-analysis/projects/externally-funded-project-details/571

CASCADE: Catastrophic shifts in drylands (2015-2017, EU FP7) https://www.cascadis-project.eu/

Connecting micro and macro: Bringing case-studies and model-based approaches together in analysing patterns of vulnerability to global environmental change (2011-2014, NWO Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/research-projects/i/04/5904.html


2018/2019        Global Ecology (BSc), University of Potsdam, Germany

2018                 Summer School “Archetype analysis in sustainability research”, Humboldt University, PIK, University of Olomouc

2016 – 2017     Fundamentals of land management (MSc), Soil Physics and Land Management, Wageningen University (WUR)

2015 – 2016     Adaptation to climate change in developing countries (BSc, MSc), Soil Physics and Land Management, WUR

2015                 Land degradation and development (MSc), Soil Physics and Land Management, WUR

2012 – 2014     Natural hazards and disasters (MSc), Disaster Studies, WUR

2012                 Disaster and resilience: Analysis of a problem situation (BSc), Disaster Studies, WUR