Ongoing research projects


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Payments for hydrological Ecosystem Services

Extensive investigations in recent years and decades not only demonstrate very clearly the dependence of human well-being on intact ecosystems, but also their immense economic importance. Especially in the context of international development it could be shown, that even short term resource over use has not lead to long lasting well-being, but possibly to irrevocable loss of valuable ecosystems.

Furthermore avoiding overexploitation is more favorable and simpler than recuperation of functioning ecosystems. Complementary to this insight efficient and practicable financing mechanisms for a sustainable natural resource use as a basis for a socio-economic development are still lacking.

Very promising seem in this context concepts of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). These are experiencing increasing popularity, because they address a still unsolved problem: the integration of externalities in resource use.

This research refers directly to the above mentioned Payments for Ecosystem Services and their potential to reach the following goals:

  • sustainable environmental conservation and protection i.e. reestablishment of the natural capital and its ecological function,
  • poverty reduction, and
  • promotion of a participatory Integrated Land and Water Resource Management as well as a sustainable spatial planning progress.

Hereby shall be investigated in particular the influence of different land uses on the provision of hydrological ecosystem services (physical relationship). Especially the possibility of combining environmental protection with poverty reduction in developing countries through sustainable forestry and agriculture in relation to PES will be investigated concerning synergies, complementarity and competition of the respective objectives. Finally the development of decision support systems for an integrated assessment of these natural services shall be promoted.