Integrated Assessment of Land Use Adaptation

Problem statement

Land requirements in regional planning are calculated from land cover maps based on criteria such as the expected production of natural resources and the expected need for settlement areas and infrastructure. Difficulties arise in assessing the impact of the land use because data on the concrete management of a piece of land are often not available.

Furthermore, WP 4.5 addresses the energy efficiency of biomass production by considering the full energy used in agricultural production. Agriculture in developing countries is characterized by a large portion of energy supplied through human and animal traction, and a large part of household energy consumption provided from adjacent woodlands. Including these areas and the energies generated therein in the analysis provides not only a more realistic energy efficiency analysis for biomass production, it also allows factoring these needed “supportive areas” in land use planning.


  1. Simulate the impact of alternative land use pattern scenarios on regional biomass production potentials.
  2. Assessing the impact of the scenarios on the provision of other ecosystem services (trade-off analyses).
  3. Develop a holistic assessment framework that assesses energy efficiency in agronomic land use as a whole (not only confined to livestock production).
  4. Supply the value web system analysis (cluster 3) with additional information on possible trade-offs regarding the challenge of world-wide increasing energy scarcity.

Research questions

  1. Which is the potential contribution of different land use pattern alternatives to satisfy future demands?
  2. How can be modeled the impact of real land uses on the provision of ecosystem services, thereby surpassing the traditional evaluation based only on land cover information.
  3. What are meaningful system boundaries to assess the energy efficiency and sustainability of the land systems.
  4. Which types of energy and energy fluxes should be involved into the analysis to account also for energy sources and fluxes specific for land systems in development countries.
  5. Which energy reference unit (renewable / non-renewable) should be defined to make comparable different land systems from traditional management (e.g. extensively used grazing and fuelwood areas) up to highly intensified industrial systems and to support comparison for alternative land use scenarios.


As a basis for spatial scenario simulation, future land requirements for different land use types are calculated. A set of models, complemented by statistical data, will be established to provide information on nutrient / energy / biomass output.
Analyses and simulation will be done with the software platform GISCAME, which supports connecting the land use types with their modeled productivity data to get spatially explicit production potential maps. The identification of priority areas for specific land use types will serve to provide options of choice for the decision makers.
Furthermore, we are working on a classification of “typical” land systems (agricultural / agroforestry / importance of gracing / pasture).and in-depth analysis and systematization of the energy sources and fluxes and area (actively managed / extensively used). We develop an energy efficiency assessment framework incl. relevant renewable and non-renewable energy sources (Vigne et al. 2012; 2013) and include xpert consultation to define future alternative land use concepts (change of cropping systems / management techniques / labor and draft energy input, intensification, spatial extension, etc.) for application of the assessment framework. Finally, we derive recommendations on eligible land use (change) scenarios.

Countries of field research


Involved partners

  • University of Cape Coast
  • West African Science Service on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL)
  • West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF)
  • Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  • UCC-PG
  • ECFF


  • Prof. Dr. Christine Fürst
    Team leader
    Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg
    Institute for Geosciences and Geography
    Dept. Sustainable Landscape Development
  • Marcos Jiménez Martínez and Francis Mwambo
    Junior Researchers
    Center for Development Research (ZEFc)
  • Francis Mwambo
    Junior Researchers
    Center for Development Research (ZEFc)
  • PiSolution GmbH
  • University of Hohenheim, Institute for Biological Chemistry and Food Science
  • University of Hohenheim, Institute for Crop Sciences
  • University of Bonn, Institute for Crop Science and Resource Protection (INRES)