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Sommer S.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Zucca C.,University of Sassari | Grainger A.,University of Leeds | Cherlet M.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | And 6 more authors.
Land Degradation and Development

This paper suggests how the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) community can progressively make use of a flexible framework of analytical approaches that have been recently developed by scientific research. This allows a standardized but flexible use of indicator sets adapted to specific objectives or desertification issues relevant for implementing the Convention. Science has made progress in understanding major issues and proximate causes of dryland degradation such that indicator sets can be accordingly selected from the wealth of existing and documented indicator systems. The selection and combination should be guided according to transparent criteria given by existing indicator frameworks adapted to desertification conceptual frameworks such as the Dryland Development Paradigm and can act as a pragmatic entry point for selecting area- and theme-specific sets of indicators from existing databases. Working on different dryland sub-types through a meaningful stratification is proposed to delimit and characterize affected areas beyond the national level. Such stratification could be achieved by combining existing land use information with additional biophysical and socio-economic data sets, allowing indicator-based monitoring and assessment to be embedded in a framework of specific dryland degradation issues and their impacts on key ecosystem services. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Hassler S.K.,University of Potsdam | Kreyling J.,University of Bayreuth | Beierkuhnlein C.,University of Bayreuth | Eisold J.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Arid Environments

African savannas are primarily used as pastures and are subject to changes in climate and management strategies. For sustainable management of these landscapes ecological knowledge on seasonal and long-term variability in plant community composition and the availability of green biomass is essential. In this study, we assessed the effects of dry and wet season on species richness and beta diversity for three sites along a gradient of increasing vegetation cover and precipitation in northwest Namibia. A hexagonal systematic sampling design was used to record floristic data. The Simple Matching, Soerensen, and multi-plot similarity coefficient and distance decay analyses were applied for examining beta diversity. Analyses were repeated while separating the plots according to the presence of woody vegetation. Species richness nearly doubled from dry to wet season; compositional similarity increased from dry to wet season and with increasing aridity of the study sites; distance decay was more pronounced in the dry season without any link to the precipitation gradient. Woody elements in the landscape, which occur along drainage lines or as tree islands, govern spatial and seasonal plant diversity fluctuations. Monitoring them is important for conservation strategies and for establishing grazing rules that ensure a sustainable use of savanna ecosystems. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Mehring M.,University of Greifswald | Mehring M.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Mehring M.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Stoll-Kleemann S.,University of Greifswald
Ecology and Society

Biosphere reserves seek to reconcile nature conservation with local development goals, for example by delineating buffer zones of sustainable resource use around core areas with primary conservation objectives. Here we evaluate buffer zone effectiveness in reducing deforestation within the Lore Lindu Biosphere Reserve in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Socio-economic and remote-sensing data were combined in an integrated approach. We applied a systematic qualitative social research design and carried out in-depth interviews with local, sub-national, and national authorities. Data collected through the interviews were used to interpret satellite images: (1) spatially, that is, forest cover change in the buffer zone versus the core area and, (2) over time, that is, forest cover change as a response to changing management regimes and socio-economic processes in the region. For this purpose a time series of LANDSAT scenes from 1972 to 2007 was used to classify homogeneous areas of forest cover to detect deforestation. According to the satellite image analysis, the buffer zone in Lore Lindu was ineffective at reducing forest cover clearing in the core area between 1972 and 2007. Since management establishment in 1998, the deforestation rate within the core area even increased fourfold. The gathered data suggest that there are three main institutional drivers to account for this ineffectiveness: (1) Low awareness of boundary demarcation among the villagers due to the lack of participation during management and boundary establishment, (2) The fall of the national president Suharto in 1998, which subsequently triggered deforestation activities in the core area, as the park was perceived to be the local branch of the national, suppressive regime, and (3) The lack of implementation of the biosphere reserve concept at the national level, which leads to unclear responsibilities in the buffer zone as the legal backing for any cooperation in the buffer zone is lacking. Although it appears that the forest status in Lore Lindu is still good compared to other regions in Indonesia, attention must be given to the protection of the core area. We thus conclude that the biosphere reserve concept needs to be strengthened in Indonesia. Its implementation at the national level, including adoption of clearly defined regulations, would substantially contribute to reducing negative impacts on biosphere reserve management through, for example, carefully designed awareness raising programs. © 2011 by the author(s). Source

Woltersdorf L.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Liehr S.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Scheidegger R.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Doll P.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Urban Water Journal

Treating and reusing municipal wastewater for urban agriculture raises water productivity. This paper developed a methodology to quantify water flows and productivity of a proposed infrastructure including water supply, sanitation, wastewater treatment and water reuse for agriculture. The methodology consists in calculating the pathogen reduction achieved with wastewater treatment, designing a crop scheme for the irrigation with treated water, modeling irrigation requirements and quantifying water flows with mathematical material flow analysis. This methodology was applied for the current state and with the planned facility in semi-arid Namibia. This infrastructure has the potential to raise water productivity by +10% as household water use increases with improved sanitation. Compared to not reusing the water for agriculture, water productivity can be raised by +39%. This methodology allowed the consideration of the impact of facility user behavior on water flows and found that water productivity increases less than computed with a fixed wastewater inflow. © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

Woltersdorf L.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Liehr S.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Doll P.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Water (Switzerland)

The design of rainwater harvesting based gardens requires considering current climate but also climate change during the lifespan of the facility. The goal of this study is to present an approach for designing garden variants that can be safely supplied with harvested rainwater, taking into account climate change and adaptation measures. In addition, the study presents a methodology to quantify the effects of climate change on rainwater harvesting based gardening. Results of the study may not be accurate due to the assumptions made for climate projections and may need to be further refined. We used a tank flow model and an irrigation water model. Then we established three simple climate scenarios and analyzed the impact of climate change on harvested rain and horticulture production for a semi-arid region in northern Namibia. In the two climate scenarios with decreased precipitation and medium/high temperature increase; adaptation measures are required to avoid substantial decreases in horticulture production. The study found that the most promising adaptation measures to sustain yields and revenues are a more water efficient garden variant and an enlargement of the roof size. The proposed measures can partly or completely compensate the negative impacts of climate change. © 2015 by the authors. Source

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