Department für Geographie





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GLUES: Global Assessment of Land Use Dynamics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Ecosystem Services

Fachgebiet: Allgemeine Geographie, Bodengeographie, Datenassimilation, Fernerkundung, Geographische Entwicklungsforschung, Geographische Gesellschaft-Umwelt-Forschung, Hydrologie, Hydrologische Modellierung, Klimatologie, Modellierung, Pflanzenphysiologie, Vegetationsgeographie

Projektleitung: Dr. Christoph Heinzeller, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Mauser, PD Dr. Florian Zabel

Laufzeit: 03/2010 - 12/2016


GLUES Global Assessment of Land Use Dynamics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Ecosystem Services

Scientific work - Water availability for crops and biomass production

Global demand for biomass-based products will increase over the next decades. In addition to ensuring food security for a growing and richer world population, bio-fuels and bio-based materials will increasingly drive future demand. Adjustments to an increasing demand for biomass inevitably result in trade-offs between expansion of cropland, conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Sustainable intensification and a more efficient use of water in the agricultural sector are necessarily important to increase global productivity in the agricultural sector. Therefore, within GLUES, a global model approach is developed that allows for an integrative and inter-disciplinary assessment of global biomass supply and demand considering climate change and different socio-economic scenarios.

Agricultural Suitability

The area suitable for agriculture is globally investigated at high spatial resolution of 30 arc seconds and under climate change conditions for four time periods (1961-1990, 1981-2010, 2011-2040, 2071-2100). Thereby, the natural conditions at a specific location and the crop requirements determine the suitability for cultivation. We include various variables of climate, soil, and topography in order to simulate crop suitability for 18 different crops. Irrigation is another considered factor that improves natural suitability.

Figure: Inputs for the simulation of crop suitability.

Modelling of global potential biomass production

PROMET simulates crop growth and maximum attainable yield under given natural conditions (climate, soil, terrain) on a global scale at high spatial resolution of 30 arc seconds for 18 economically most important crops assuming optimal crop management. The complex processes on the global scale run in an hourly time-step, considering for each pixel the crop suitability, optimum seeding and harvest dates, growth periods, cropping intensities and irrigation. Crop-parameterizations were created, based on remote sensing data and literature and simulation results were validated on the field scale. The climate data provided by the ECHAM5 climate model is temporally interpolated, spatially downscaled to 30 arc seconds and bias corrected before it serves as input-data for the PROMET simulation. A sampling approach was developed and applied, using app. 250.000 randomly chosen samples for the PROMET simulation that are statistically representative for the suitable agricultural area on the globe.

Figure: Global potential biomass production increase [%].

Model coupling

The agro-ecological results of PROMET are coupled with the general equilibrium model DART-BIO, representing the global economy. Therefore, LMU Munich closely collaborates with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Kiel Earth Institute.

By combining economic and agro-ecological models, price and demand of agricultural productions determine agricultural profitability and thus, land use decisions of farmers. The coupled models suggest that global biomass potentials are significantly higher than before. This sheds new light on the role that many regions may be able to play for meeting the increased demand on agricultural markets.

The coupled modelling approach allows investigating the consequences of different scenarios of future climate change as well as the impact of technological change on regional biomass production. It shows that a more complex view on regional production systems and current land allocation is necessary to estimate real potentials by combining natural and economic conditions.

Figure: Conceptual model framework of coupling the biophysical crop model PROMET with the general equilibrium model DART-Bio.


Based on the coupled model results a set of scenarios are developed and quantified that explore contrasting trajectories within GLUES. In order to construct these scenarios, explorative scenarios with associated deviations based on different drivers are adapted, elaborating the underlying qualitative storylines.

Figure: GLUES Scenarios

Sponsored by

Project Homepage

Grant number 01LL0901A


Zabel, F., Putzenlechner, B., Mauser, W. (2014): Global Agricultural Land Resources A High Resolution Suitability Evaluation and Its Perspectives until 2100 under Climate Change Conditions , PLOS ONE, 9(9), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107522 , 12.

Avellan, T., Zabel, F. and Mauser, W. (2012): The influence of input data on the determination of potentially crop suitable areas – a comparative analysis of two soil and climate datasets , Soil Use and Management, 28, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.2012.00400.x, 249-265.

Avellan, T., Zabel, F., Putzenlechner, B. and Mauser, W. (2012): The relevance of component soils for crop growth suitability analyses , International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

Calcadilla, A., Delzeit, R. & Klepper, G. (2014) DART-BIO: Modelling the interplay of food, feed and fuels in a global CGE model, 49 pp, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiel, Germany.



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