Research focus


Biological soil crusts

In many ecosystems of the world biological soil crusts play an important role for ecosystem processes. These biocrusts are assemblages of cyanobacteria, green algae, bacteria mosses, liverworts, fungi and/or lichens. BSC are highly stress tolerant under extreme environmental conditions. The understanding of pattern formations and interactions with biogeochemical and biotic processes are important for ecological theory and for applications in restoration ecology. Read more


Post-mining restoration ecology

Open-cast mining are often large scale disturbances, which affects entire landscapes and ecosystem processes.  These initial soils, consisting of excavated and dumped material, are characterized by a high vulnerability to erosion, low water holding capacity, lack of nutrients, low pH or sparse vegetation. Such harsh human impacts create the need for remediation and restoration measures for mining regions that address classical agricultural services, forestry and  nature conservation. Read more



Ecological climatology and crop water use

The dryalnds are characterized by a high evaporation and high wind speeds, which have implications on crop water demands and on water availability. Particular emphasis is put on interactions between crops and their environment and on plant performance, based on ecophysiological processes and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions. Read more



FutureLandscape - Development of integrate landscapes 

The Western Cape Province in South Africa is characterized by intensive agriculture. In particular in the last decade, the cultivation of wine and other irrigated orchards increased in the region. To develop more sustainable and resilient agricultural systems there is a need to redesign agricultural landscapes and to integrate different land-use types including natural and semi-natural areas from the farm to the landscape level. Read more




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