Research and teaching unit "Geography and Landscape Ecology"
Geography and Landscape Ecology are represented by the chair of Geography and Landscape Ecology (Prof. Dr. O. Baume) and by the professorship for Physical Geography (Prof. Dr. K. Rögner, process geomorphology). Landscape Ecology is regarded as an integrative discipline within Physical Geography. Objects of research are the interrelations inside and between natural and anthropogenic components of the environment (rocks, climate, landforms, water, soils, plants, animals, man) which interact in landscape ecosystems. Foci include analysis, evaluation and modeling of spatial structures and processes, aiming at future projections. Current projects include studies of solute transport and -budget in the sub-systems soil and water (including glaciers), sustainable resource- and risk-management as well as nature conservation and strategies of sustainable development.
Geomorphology is another field of active research. Shaping processes and the resulting landforms are investigated qualitatively and quantitatively in different parts of the globe. Applied and process oriented research is particularly important in connection with natural hazards (e.g. mass movements in high mountains or weathering in arid zones).
Regional foci of high mountain research and glaciology are the European Alps and Central Asia. Recent research on weathering and soil formation is conducted in the Northern Calcareous Alps. In this context, the deposition of eolian dust from the central Alps and the Sahara in soils on alpine limestone and its impact on vegetation patterns and species composition are of interest.
Investigation sites in arid and semi-arid zones are located in the Sahara and the Middle East, where the interaction between man and environment often plays a dominant role (e.g. desertification). Due to a long history in scientific cooperation of this research and teaching unit with universities in Latin America (e.g. Mexico, Brasil) and the Caribbean (especially Cuba), including investigations on strategies for environmental conservation, management and sustainable development, these partner universities are major destinations for academic exchange including students.
Further information is available in German: Lehrstuhl für Geographie und Landschaftsökologie