Climatic conditions and land use have a significant impact on habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The transformation of semi-natural habitats into agricultural or settlement areas changes the species inventory, the provision of ecosystem services and the adaptation potential of ecosystems to changing climatic conditions. At the local level, there is often a positive correlation between biodiversity and ecosystem functions. However, until now, studies on the following aspects are still missing: (1) how climatic gradients and the landscape composition and configuration influence the biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services, (2) which interactions exist between climatic conditions and land use, (3) whether biodiversity at population, species community and landscape level improves the resilience against climate change and extreme climatic events. The LandKlif Network investigates the biodiversity and multi-functionality of semi-natural, agricultural and urban landscape areas in different climate zones of Bavaria, in order to answer these questions and to develop options for the mitigation of climate change as well as the adaptation to changing climatic conditions. The three landscape types differ fundamentally in level of anthropogenic impact, biodiversity, and ecosystem services which they provide to the society. A better understanding of the interactions between landscape structure, regional climate change and ecosystem responses is an important basis for developing strategies to climate change mitigation and regional adaptation to its consequences.
In the LandKlif network, a total of 60 representative near-natural, agricultural and urban landscape areas are selected, which cover the temperature, precipitation and elevation gradients in Bavaria from dry-warm regions in lower Franconia to the highlands of the Bavarian Forest and Berchtesgaden National Park. In each of five climatic zones, four landscape areas are selected, which represent a gradient in habitat diversity, so that a total of 20 study sites per landscape type are investigated. For each landscape area, existing datasets are used and new observational and experimental data will be collected.
The ten subprojects (SPs) address complementary tasks for the study of land use, climate, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. The derivation of regional, landscape-based management strategies for climate protection, nature conservation and preservation of ecosystem services will improve the ecological, economic and social resilience of Bavaria to climate change.
Two years have passed since the launch of the LandKlif project and much has happened since then.
Right at the beginning of the first project year in 2019, a large-scale field trial was set up, stretching from south to north and east to west across Bavaria, with 60 regions (Fig 1) and 179 study plots. Our design was to independently investigate the influence of climate and land use on biodiversity and ecological functions. At the study sites (Fig 2 + 3) in forests, grasslands, fields, and settlements, a team of 12 junior scientists and many helpers collected a wide range of data on biodiversity and ecological services. This included surveying plants, flying and crawling insects, and wildlife, soil microbial surveys, drone flyovers, experiments to measure pollination performance, natural pest control and decomposition processes, and more. The field work was sweaty and hard, but it was worth it. Together with a series of laboratory and climate chamber experiments, a unique dataset has emerged that provides us with new insights into the effects of climate and land use on our Bavarian ecosystems.
The interrelationships are coming to light through the statistical analyses that began with the second year of the project, 2020. And although the year presented us with many challenges, it was extremely successful. In addition to further experiments and Bavaria-wide surveys of various stakeholders on the topic of “Impacts of Climate Change in Bavaria”, a digital LandKlif statistics workshop gave the young scientists the opportunity to evaluate their collected data with professional support. For this purpose, Dr. Bob Douma from Wageningen University (Netherlands) provided advice and support. You can read the first results of the research and the joint statistics workshop in the LandKlif Christmas Letter 2020. Knowledge communication was also pushed forward. The LandKlif project has already been presented at various conferences and in public lectures.
Study regions and study sites in settlements and canola fields.
More exciting research and new findings are expected in the third project year 2021. In the spring, we will take an in-depth look at “publishing” in a second workshop, a topic that will become increasingly important in the future as more scientific manuscripts are prepared and submitted for publication. Workshops for the general public are also planned.
We thank the Bayklif Climate Research Network for their great support. A big “Thank you!” also to all the landowners and government agencies that made our research possible in the first place, and of course to the fantastic, international LandKlif team for their tireless work and thirst for knowledge that drives the project forward.
The LandKlif Team
Climate change and the increased occurrence of extreme climatic events, together with land use changes, are considered as the main causes for the decline of insects. As pollinators and antagonist of herbivorous insects, they ensure essential ecological services. In nature conservation, insects are an important target group due to their high biodiversity and diverse life history traits. However, there is currently a lack of basic knowledge about the effects of climate change in Bavaria on the distribution, biodiversity and biotic interactions of insects and how intensive land use may reinforce them.
Subproject 1 covers the biodiversity of bees, wasps, hoverflies and beetles as well as the ecosystem services of pollination and biological pest control in the joined experimental design of the LandKlif network in near-natural, agricultural and urban habitats. In addition, dislocation experiments and simulations of extreme climatic events are carried out in order to better understand the adaption potential or the resilience of functionally important insect groups. The results deliver the basis for a more sustainable management of Bavaria ecosystems and thus make an important contribution to the preservation of insect diversity and its ecological services in the context of climate change.
Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
University of Würzburg
Biocenter – Am Hubland
Tel: +49 931 31-84352
This subprojet focuses on biomass, taxonomic and functional diversity of arthropods across Bavaria based on the Library Barcoding Fauna Bavarica. This will be complemented by detailed investigations on decomposer communities of wood, dung and carcasses. These data will first time open the avenue for modelling functional arthropod diversity, as well as invasive and threatened species in a spatially explicit model with predictors from land-use and climate. Disentangling land use and climate allows further to forecast changes in climate and land use strategies in Bavaria. In specific, the subproject will focus in details on the decomposer and their ecosystem functions under different climate and land use conditions. Adding field and lab experiments will help to quantify the contribution of this guild under future climate conditions. The results will provide the baseline for improved strategies not only in land use management but also in conservation strategies in urban, agricultural and forest dominated landscapes.
Prof. Dr. Jörg Müller
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
University of Würzburg
Tel: +49 931 31 83378
Despite undeniable success in preserving and managing high nature value habitats in relatively small protected areas sectoral nature conservation has been unable to halt biodiversity loss in Bavaria’s landscapes. Not least under climate change normal forests, forest edges, hedges, grasslands, field margins and green spaces in cities are required as corridors and buffer zones for ecosystem services. In the framework of the Landklif design our project examines the vegetation of these less studied ecosystems with respect to their susceptibility against warming, land-use and urbanization as well as to their potential as spaces of refuge, exchange and connectivity for wild plants and their dependent communities. Based on these findings we derive recommendations for optimizing the green infrastructure by managing forest, landscape and green space as well as agro-environmental schemes.
Prof. Dr. Jörg Ewald
Botany, vegetation science
University of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf
Tel: +49 8161 715909
Urban green infrastructure is significant for mitigation of climate change in cities as vegetation reduces temperatures and increases humidity. Further ecosystem services include stormwater retention, reduced erosion, carbon sequestration, maintenance of nutrient cycles and increased biodiversity. Moreover, urban vegetation is crucial for human recreation. Green infrastructure is challenged by extreme weather, invasive alien species and economic constraints of management.
Natural and designed plant communities are being investigated regarding their influence on ecosystem functions under different climatic scenarios.
Ecological aspects are not suffiently covered by current planning of green infrastructure. Therefore, the aim of subproject 4 is to study the effects of natural and designed plant communities on ecosystem functions under different climatic scenarios and in interaction with invasive alien plants. The experimental plant communities are recruited from the native species pool. The response variables will be investigated along a climatic gradient in 20 urban landscapes in Bavaria, as well as in common garden and climate chamber experiments under different temperature and soil moisture regimes with and without invasive alien species.
The results of the project contribute to an improved knowledge and more effective application of ecological theory on grassland resilience and invasion resistance in urban green infrastructure. The economic benefits are reduced costs for maintenance of urban vegetation and improved adaptation of Bavarian cities to climate change
Prof. Dr. Johannes Kollmann
Chair of Restoration Ecology
Technical University of Munich
School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan
Tel: +49 8161 714144
Climate change affects our ecosystems, indicated for example by temporal shifts in phenological events in flora and fauna. Such changes can severely affect fitness, species dispersal and productivity of ecosystems, especially if the previous timing of life-history patterns is lost. The onset of phenological events and their rates of change, however, will vary within individuals, populations, between provenances and species, and in the landscape. We therefore hypothesize that this inherent diversity in timing can buffer negative impacts of climate change, such as extreme events or phenological mismatch (mis-synchronization). This buffer can be purposefully promoted through targeted management and landscape planning.
While changes on the individual tree level have been described relatively well, there is a lack of integration at the landscape level to assess the resulting climate impact on wildlife, such as changes in the timing of mutualistic relationships or changes in seasonal food supply. Accordingly, our study aims to 1) track phenological changes across landscapes and scales using a variety of image capturing methods, 2) assess the variability of onset dates, and 3) examine the effects of change on synchrony-driven ecosystem processes and services, such as late spring frost hazards. Furthermore, the population dynamics and status of roe deer and wild boar are recorded and driving factors, such as weather or climate change, warming-related phenological change and land use, are identified in order to derive concrete measures for practical wildlife management.
For the first time, research on the adaptation to climate change is systematically mapping phenological changes to derive consequences on flora and fauna from small (individual) to large (landscape) scales.
Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel
Professorship for Ecoclimatology
Technical University of Munich
Tel: +49 8161 714740
Dr. Wibke Peters
Department of biodiversity, nature conservation, hunting
Bayerische Landesanstalt für Wald und Forstwirtschaft
+49 8161 714899
Adjustment (adaptation) of species and communities to new climatic conditions and thus maintenance of ecosystem services will depend on three critical components: (i) the ability of species viz. individuals to tolerate changing climatic conditions and extreme events, (ii) genetic diversity within (meta)populations allowing _adaptation_ to new conditions, and (iii) establishment of new species better adapted to the new conditions. From a scientific as well as a applied perspective it is important to foresee how well adjustment will work at different locations and which management options might help to mitigate negative effects of climate change for certain ecosystem services like pollination, or production of biomass.
By use of spatially explicit computer simulations we want (i) to investigate the particular role of the landscape context for local and regional adjustment, (ii) characterize landscape elements that may either be critical for promoting community adjustment (e.g. warm urban environments) or that are particularly vulnerable to climate change (e.g. large-scale homogeneous landscapes), and (iii) identify management options that may help to promote adaptation to new climatic conditions and thus mitigate negative effects on ecosystem services.
PD Dr. Thomas Hovestadt
Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology Group
University of Würzburg
Tel: +49 931 3183083
Remote Sensing is a technology for observing of our landscapes from airplanes and from space. This tool allows us to monitor different land cover and land use classes such as forests, grassland, cropland or settlements in space and over time. The data also comprise information about vegetation and phenology, e.g. the green-up dates, and hence about the status of ecosystems in the landscape.
Staffelsee and Murnauer Moos in the Bavarian Alpine foothills. A) RapidEye satellite scene with 5 m resolution. B) Land cover derived from remote sensing data (DLM-DE). C) Vegetation index NDVI and D) green-up date in 2011.
This subproject in the LandKlif project network aims to generate highly accurate series of measurements from various satellite data in order to receive information about the vegetation development of the last two decades in natural, agricultural and urban landscapes of Bavaria. Comparisons of extreme situations with the climatic normal state are intended to detect which parts of the landscape are vulnerable or resistant to the expected climatic changes.
Vegetation development in 2011 (in green) compared to mean vegetation development in 2001-2012 (in black),
represented by the vegetation index NDVI. Due to a cold winter, the NDVI scores of February remained below the long-term average. A mild, sunny and warm spring led to an accelerated greening of the vegetation. The summer of 2011 was comparatively cool and wet, so the vegetation did not reach its medium green level. The sunny October led to a slightly later beginning of autumn.
Another focus of the subproject is agricultural landscapes, in particular the determination of cropping patterns, yield levels, and landscape diversity. In cooperation with the LandKlif project partners the results will serve for the detection of harmful influences on the ecosystem services, such as the provision of fertile soils or the securing of pollination and thus agricultural production and to develop countermeasures on a site level.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Dech
Institute of Geography and Geology
University of Würzburg
Tel: +49 8153 281474
Dr. Thorsten Dahms
Lehrstuhl für Fernerkundung
Institut für Geographie und Geologie
The regional water cycle is mainly determined by vegetation, soil, terrain and the driving atmospheric circulation. Both its short-term and climate-related long-term changes can only be understood with the aid of complex numerical simulations, which take into account in particular small-scale structures. Such a spatially extremely high-resolution simulation is in the focus of subproject 8. Three carefully interconnected computer models for the atmosphere, the land surface and the soil are being developed, combined into a single regional earth system model and operated in very high spatial resolution. This allows us to dynamically regionalise global climate scenarios by simulating all hydrologically relevant processes on a time- and space scale adapted to the target region of Bavaria.
Regional Earth System Modeling in LandKlif: Fully coupled simulation of the atmospheric and terrestrial water balance.
Through the high-resolution regionalization 1) of a long-term global simulation of the past (serving for validation), and 2) a global climate scenario simulation (describing the expected climate change in the future), for the region of Bavaria a unique data set is developed for climate- and hydrological research and the delineation of adaption measures. This forms a central basis for ecosystem-related climate change impact research in the collaborative project.
Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann
Professorship for Regional Climate and Hydrology
Institute of Geography
University of Augsburg
Alter Postweg 118
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Campus Alpine
Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research
Tel: +49 (0)8821 183208
Climate change has significant impact on the functionality of ecosystems and thus also on their services, which benefit both the economy and the society of Bavaria. The objective of TP9 is to model the effects of climate change under given land use changes on relevant ecosystem services (plant production, erosion regulation, flood protection, carbon storage) for the whole of Bavaria and for the landscape sections selected in the project. Since we use the integrated Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), it is possible to assess the effects of climate change on multiple ecosystem services in scenarios. Considering also ecosystem services (pollination, pest control, regional climate regulation, habitat provisioning, recreational function, etc.) examined by other TPs, we will also assess how citizens and selected occupational groups evaluate ecosystem impacts of climate change. The results of the project will be presented geographically in a Bavarian atlas of ecosystem services in terms of hotspots and coldspots of individual ecosystem services, synergies and conflicts of multiple ecosystem services, as well as their evaluation.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Koellner
Professorship of Ecological Services
University of Bayreuth
Tel: +49 921 55 2373
Climate change has a significant impact on functions of landscape as a whole, especially on state and management of valuable species and habitats as well as ecosystem services. This subproject examines how planning instruments can contribute to the adaptation of biotope networks and green infrastructure to climate change regarding different levels of land use intensity.
This subproject examines how different levels of biodiversity are affected by land use distribution, climate change, and hemeroby. Furthermore it will be proven which conclusions can be drawn on planning instruments with focus on the “normal landscape” like the outskirts of Munich.
Hemeroby has ambivalent effects on biodiversity. Valuable habitats can develop in the surroundings of metropolitan areas.
The results compiled in subprojects 2-10 will be checked for feasibility in the field of landscape planning. In this process, existing instruments of landscape and spatial planning, rural development, agro-environmental measures, ecological compensation, and conservation management will be investigated with respect to their possible contributions to climate change adaptation.
Considering different climate conditions, intensities of land use as well as urbanization levels, guiding recommendations will be developed for the improvement, and extension of the planning instruments.
In the “normal landscape”, the access to habitats for conservation is limited. The subproject investigates which strategies can be established to enhance higher resilience amidst climate change for widespread habitats and land uses.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Moning
Chair of Zoology, Animal Ecology
Weihenstephaner Berg 5
Tel: +49 8161 712220