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Land Use and Resilience 
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Land Use and Resilience


This working group will explore how improved agricultural management can help to make land use systems more resilient against climate change. Management of pasture land 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. 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.

Global-scale scenarios for sector-specific climate impacts are being developed for water, agriculture, forestry, biodiversity and ecosystems as well as cities. Systematic assessments of climate risks and uncertainties in various sectors are conducted with global coverage. Global modeling approaches interact with regional case studies as much as possible. Moreover, a global synthesis of climate impacts across sectors and regions will be conducted, with a focus on economic damages, costs, and risks as well as human livelihoods. These socio-economic metrics will be used to aggregate impacts across very different domains. A consistent aggregation of multi-sector impacts will be followed by an assessment of strategies for risk management and adaptation at different scales, including technological development, international trade as well as institutional change.

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 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.
  • Niall Farrell is a Marie-Sk.-Curie Research Fellow and integrates climate impact and spatial microsimulation modelling for improved climate change adaptation decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Tobias Herzfeld is a PhD student within the junior research group MACMIT and modells the impact of agricultural management practices on global soil degradation.
  • Yvonne Jans is modelling biodiversity, bio-energy, biomass plantations and climate change mitigation with LPJmL and will finish her 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.
  • Femke Lutz evaluates the impact of agricultural management strategies on soil nutrient dynamics at a global scale with the junior research group MACMIT.
  • Sara Minoli is a PhD student within the junior research group MACMIT 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" and the junior research group MACMIT. His research interests are process-based modeling of biogeochemical cycles, land-use dynamics and agricultural systems and he has a strong LPJmL modelling expertise.
  • Vera Porwollik works on global crop management systems for assessment of global change and is a PhD student within the junior research group MACMIT.
  • 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 PostDoc 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 modells functional diversity in managed grasslands with LPJmL and intends to conduct a PhD.
  • 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:

  • ASCI_unilever: Adding Simulations of new Crops to the Isimip archive, funded by Unilever, 01.05.2018-31.12.2018, contact person: Christoph Müller
  • CLIMOD: Integrating climate impact and spatial microsimulation modelling for improved climate change adaptation decision-making, funded by EU H2020 Marie Curie, 02.04.2018-31.03.2020, contact: Herman Lotze-Campen
  • COACCH: CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs , funded by H2020, 01.12.2017-31.05.2021, contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen / Benjamin Bodirsky
  • IIASA 2018: Unterstützung der deutschen IIASA Geschäftsstelle, funded by BMBF, 01.01.2018-31.12.2018, contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen
  • IKI-Impact: Unterstützung von SIDS und LDC zur wissenschaftsbasierten Anpassungs- und Minderungsplanung, Zugang zu internationaler Klimafinanzierung und zur Umsetzung und weiteren Ausgestaltung des Paris Abkommens, funded by BMUB, International Climate Initiative (IKI), 01.10.2016-30.09.2019, contact: Louise Jeffery / Christoph Müller
  • MACMIT: Climate mitigation in agricultural production systems through sustainable resource management,  funded by BMBF Junior research group "global change 4+1", 01.08.2014-31.07.2018, contact: Christoph Müller
  • SUSTAg: Assessing options for the SUSTainable intensification of Agriculture for integrated production of food and non-food products at different scales, funded by BMBF, 01.04.2016-31.03.2019, contact: Christopf Müller
  • YSSP 2018: Young Scientist Summer Program 2018 IIASA, funded by BMBF, 01.01.2018-31.12.2018, contact: Hermann Lotze-Campen

    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:

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