Three quarters of the ice-free land surface are managed by humans. This has severe consequences on climate: local climate can be altered by several degrees Celsius just by the way the land is managed, and about 6 billion tons of CO2 are emitted each year from land use change, in particular from tropical deforestation. Pressure on land will rise, as growing population and affluence increases demand for food and fibre, but also because many scenarios compatible with the Paris Agreement's goals require massive deployment of land-based carbon dioxide removal through, e.g., afforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
The goal of our research is to deepen our understanding of how land use activities have contributed to climate change and what their potential is to help communities adapt to climate change and to mitigate global warming. We particularly focus on providing a comprehensive view of local, regional, and global scales, where ideally win-win situations for local and global climate effects can be found. We also focus on providing a comprehensive view in terms of processes, by considering greenhouse gas consequences of land use activities together with their biogeophysical effects (changes in momentum, water and energy fluxes); typically, so far, only the greenhouse has budget is considered by policy. We investigate various types of land use and land management, often in comparative form, in particular deforestation, re/afforestation, degradation, forest management, BECCS, and irrigation. Our main tools are various types of vegetation and climate models, integrated with Earth observations.