Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE

Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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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 | Year: 2015

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.


van der Land V.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Hummel D.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Hummel D.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Ecology and Society | Year: 2013

In the West African Sahel, the majority of the population depends on subsistence farming and livestock breeding and is thus particularly vulnerable to climatic changes. One possible response to natural hazards is migration. Recent research suggests that environmentally induced mobility is closely linked to the social vulnerability and adaptive capacity of individuals and groups. However, only little attention has been paid thus far to the role of formal education in this context. Our objective was to fill this gap by examining the role of formal education in environmentally induced migration as one characteristic of social vulnerability to environmental change. Our analysis focuses on two regions in the West African Sahel, Bandiagara in Mali and Linguère in Senegal, that are presumed to be particularly affected by climate change and environmental degradation. Our results reveal that formal education plays an important role in reducing vulnerability to environmental stress because people with a higher level of education are usually less dependent on environmentally sensitive economic activities such as farming. Moreover, an agricultural economic activity can be an obstacle to a high level of formal education. We found no significant effect of people's education on the migration experience as such. However, motives for migration differ considerably depending on the amount of education received, suggesting that migration constitutes a livelihood strategy, particularly for the lower educated. © 2013 by the author(s).


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 | Year: 2011

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).


PubMed | Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE, Goethe University Frankfurt and Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Type: | Journal: Journal of environmental management | Year: 2016

Adequate sanitation, wastewater treatment and irrigation infrastructure often lacks in urban areas of developing countries. While treated, nutrient-rich reuse water is a precious resource for crop production in dry regions, excessive salinity might harm the crops. The aim of this study was to quantify, from a system perspective, the nutrient and salt flows a new infrastructure connecting water supply, sanitation, wastewater treatment and nutrient-rich water reuse for the irrigation of agriculture, from a system perspective. For this, we developed and applied a quantitative assessment method to understand the benefits and to support the management of the new water infrastructure in an urban area in semi-arid Namibia. The nutrient and salt flows, as affected by sanitation user behavior, were quantified by mathematical material flow analysis that accounts for the low availability of suitable and certain data in developing countries, by including data ranges and by assessing the effects of different assumptions in cases. Also the nutrient and leaching requirements of a crop scheme were calculated. We found that, with ideal sanitation use, 100% of nutrients and salts are reclaimed and the slightly saline reuse water is sufficient to fertigate 10m(2)/cap/yr (90% uncertainty interval 7-12m(2)/cap/yr). However, only 50% of the P contained in human excreta could be finally used for crop nutrition. During the pilot phase fewer sanitation users than expected used slightly more water per capita, used the toilets less frequently and practiced open defecation more frequently. Therefore, it was only possible to reclaim about 85% of nutrients from human excreta, the reuse water was non-saline and contained less nutrient so that the P was the limiting factor for crop fertigation. To reclaim all nutrients from human excreta and fertigate a larger agricultural area, sanitation user behavior needs to be improved. The results and the methodology of this study can be generalized and used worldwide in other semi-arid regions requiring irrigation for agriculture as well as urban areas in developing countries with inadequate sanitation infrastructure.


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 | Year: 2011

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.


Bernard B.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Bernard B.,Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Lux A.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Lux A.,Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2016

In order to combat hunger and feed a growing world population, adapt to climate change and reduce environmental impacts of unsustainable farming practices, the need for a paradigm shift in agriculture has increasingly been expressed over the past decades. Different approaches are widely discussed which often leads to controversial debates among actors from governments, science, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector. Following the approach of a discourse field analysis (Jahn and Lux in Problemorientierte Diskursfeldanalyse—neue Methoden und Anwendungsmöglichkeiten. ISOE-Studientexte 15, Frankfurt/Main, 2009), an overview over the discourse on agroecology and sustainable intensification will be presented. Three issues that are frequently raised in this discourse will be looked at more closely: whether—and if so how much—more food needs to be produced to meet the future demand, how productivity ought to be increased and how agroecology can scale up. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Woltersdorf L.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Jokisch A.,Groundwater Technology | Kluge T.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE
Water Policy | Year: 2014

Rainwater harvesting to irrigate small-scale gardens enhances food self-sufficiency to overcome rural poverty. So far rainwater harvesting is not encouraged by the Namibian National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy nor supported financially by the Namibian government. This study proposes two rainwater harvesting facilities to irrigate gardens; one collects rain from household roofs with tank storage, the second collects rain on a pond roof with pond storage. The aim of this paper is to assess the benefits of rainwater harvesting-based gardening and to propose policy and financing implications for the Namibian government. We investigate the benefits of rainwater harvesting through a literature review, a cost-benefit analysis, monitoring of project pilot plants and a comparison with the existing irrigation and drinking water infrastructure. The results indicate that rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits in technological, economic, environmental and social terms. The facilities have a positive net present value under favourable circumstances. However, material investment costs pose a financing problem. We recommend that government fund the rainwater harvesting infrastructure and finance privately garden and operation and maintenance costs. Integrating these aspects into a national rainwater harvesting policy would create the conditions to achieve the benefits of an up-scale of rainwater harvesting based gardening in Namibia. © IWA Publishing 2014.


Hummel D.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Adamo S.,Columbia University | de Sherbinin A.,Columbia University | Murphy L.,Tulane University | And 4 more authors.
Population and Environment | Year: 2013

The causes and consequences of demographic changes for the environment, and the possible ways of influencing population dynamics to achieve 'sustainability', have been the subject of many debates in science and policy in recent decades. However, the body of knowledge concerning relationships between population dynamics and sustainability is quite fragmented, dispersed over many disciplines, and encompasses diverse theories, paradigms and methodologies. This paper reviews four selected frameworks: linear, multiplicative, mediated, and system-theoretical approaches and perspectives. We represent how population-environment relationships are conceptualized, provide examples of research questions and accepted approaches, and critically assess their utility for different sorts of research for sustainable development. We note the growing recognition of the value of embracing complexity in population-environment research, and how this is consistent with normative aims of development. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Lutkemeier R.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Lutkemeier R.,Southern African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management | Liehr S.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Liehr S.,Southern African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management
Drought: Research and Science-Policy Interfacing - Proceedings of the International Conference on Drought: Research and Science-Policy Interfacing | Year: 2015

Drought is a recurring threat to the inhabitants of the Cuvelai watershed in Namibia and Angola. This is especially true for rural households whose livelihood depends on subsistence agriculture. This paper presents the results of a qualitative household survey to understand the impact of drought and identify key parameters that determine households' vulnerability. This paves the ground for a follow-up quantitative assessment. Within the survey, 26 semi-structured interviews were conducted to shed light on (i) local water use patterns, (ii) the impact of drought in rural and urban environments and (iii) coping strategies in drought situations. The results show primary impacts on households' ability to meet water and food requirements. Impacts of this kind lead to second-order effects on physical and mental health, social life and livelihood maintenance. Furthermore, several coping mechanisms could be identified on the individual-, community- and national level. Based on our results, we outline the general structure of a tool to quantify drought impact-the Household Drought Vulnerability Index. © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, London.


Woltersdorf L.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Liehr S.,Institute for Social Ecological Research ISOE | Doll P.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Water (Switzerland) | Year: 2015

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.

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