Limits...
Exploring the effects of drastic institutional and socio-economic changes on land system dynamics in Germany between 1883 and 2007.

Niedertscheider M, Kuemmerle T, Müller D, Erb KH - Glob Environ Change (2014)

Bottom Line: Here, we analyze land system change in Germany for the period 1883-2007 to trace the effect of drastic socio-economic and institutional changes on land system dynamics.Our results show that biomass harvest steadily increased while productivity losses declined from 1883 to 2007, leading to a decline in HANPP from around 75%-65% of the potential productivity.Conversely, the German reunification sparked a fundamental and rapid shift in former East Germany's land system, leading to altered levels of production, land use intensity and land use efficiency.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna, Alpen-Adria Universität, Schottenfeldgasse 29, 1070 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT

Long-term studies of land system change can help providing insights into the relative importance of underlying drivers of change. Here, we analyze land system change in Germany for the period 1883-2007 to trace the effect of drastic socio-economic and institutional changes on land system dynamics. Germany is an especially interesting case study due to fundamentally changing economic and institutional conditions: the two World Wars, the separation into East and West Germany, the accession to the European Union, and Germany's reunification. We employed the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) framework to comprehensively study long-term land system dynamics in the context of these events. HANPP quantifies biomass harvests and land-use-related changes in ecosystem productivity. By comparing these flows to the potential productivity of ecosystems, HANPP allows to consistently assess land cover changes as well as changes in land use intensity. Our results show that biomass harvest steadily increased while productivity losses declined from 1883 to 2007, leading to a decline in HANPP from around 75%-65% of the potential productivity. At the same time, decreasing agricultural areas allowed for forest regrowth. Overall, land system change in Germany was surprisingly gradual, indicating high resilience to the drastic socio-economic and institutional shifts that occurred during the last 125 years. We found strikingly similar land system trajectories in East and West Germany during the time of separation (1945-1989), despite the contrasting institutional settings and economic paradigms. Conversely, the German reunification sparked a fundamental and rapid shift in former East Germany's land system, leading to altered levels of production, land use intensity and land use efficiency. Gradual and continuous land use intensification, a result of industrialization and economic optimization of land use, was the dominant trend throughout the observed period, apparently overruling socio-economic framework conditions and land use policies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Land use change as percentage of total territory (a) Germany in its 2007 borders, (b) West Germany in 1950-borders and (c) East Germany in 1950 borders.
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fig0010: Land use change as percentage of total territory (a) Germany in its 2007 borders, (b) West Germany in 1950-borders and (c) East Germany in 1950 borders.

Mentions: Land use and land cover in Germany changed substantially, albeit gradually, over the last 125 years (Fig. 2a). Agricultural areas (the sum of cropland and grassland) decreased from 69% of the total territory of Germany in its current boundaries (245,000 km2) in 1883 to 47% (168,000 km2) in 2007. The extent of cropland and grassland dropped by 27% and 39%, respectively. A considerable share of former agricultural areas were converted to settlement areas, which grew more than fourfold during the study period from 3% or 11,000 km2 in 1883 to 14% or 49,000 km2 in 2007. Forest cover expanded from 27 to 30% and occupied 107,000 km2 in 2007. “Other land” also increased markedly, from 7% to 12%, mainly due to agricultural abandonment (Fig. 2a).


Exploring the effects of drastic institutional and socio-economic changes on land system dynamics in Germany between 1883 and 2007.

Niedertscheider M, Kuemmerle T, Müller D, Erb KH - Glob Environ Change (2014)

Land use change as percentage of total territory (a) Germany in its 2007 borders, (b) West Germany in 1950-borders and (c) East Germany in 1950 borders.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY-NC-ND
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4375829&req=5

fig0010: Land use change as percentage of total territory (a) Germany in its 2007 borders, (b) West Germany in 1950-borders and (c) East Germany in 1950 borders.
Mentions: Land use and land cover in Germany changed substantially, albeit gradually, over the last 125 years (Fig. 2a). Agricultural areas (the sum of cropland and grassland) decreased from 69% of the total territory of Germany in its current boundaries (245,000 km2) in 1883 to 47% (168,000 km2) in 2007. The extent of cropland and grassland dropped by 27% and 39%, respectively. A considerable share of former agricultural areas were converted to settlement areas, which grew more than fourfold during the study period from 3% or 11,000 km2 in 1883 to 14% or 49,000 km2 in 2007. Forest cover expanded from 27 to 30% and occupied 107,000 km2 in 2007. “Other land” also increased markedly, from 7% to 12%, mainly due to agricultural abandonment (Fig. 2a).

Bottom Line: Here, we analyze land system change in Germany for the period 1883-2007 to trace the effect of drastic socio-economic and institutional changes on land system dynamics.Our results show that biomass harvest steadily increased while productivity losses declined from 1883 to 2007, leading to a decline in HANPP from around 75%-65% of the potential productivity.Conversely, the German reunification sparked a fundamental and rapid shift in former East Germany's land system, leading to altered levels of production, land use intensity and land use efficiency.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna, Alpen-Adria Universität, Schottenfeldgasse 29, 1070 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT

Long-term studies of land system change can help providing insights into the relative importance of underlying drivers of change. Here, we analyze land system change in Germany for the period 1883-2007 to trace the effect of drastic socio-economic and institutional changes on land system dynamics. Germany is an especially interesting case study due to fundamentally changing economic and institutional conditions: the two World Wars, the separation into East and West Germany, the accession to the European Union, and Germany's reunification. We employed the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) framework to comprehensively study long-term land system dynamics in the context of these events. HANPP quantifies biomass harvests and land-use-related changes in ecosystem productivity. By comparing these flows to the potential productivity of ecosystems, HANPP allows to consistently assess land cover changes as well as changes in land use intensity. Our results show that biomass harvest steadily increased while productivity losses declined from 1883 to 2007, leading to a decline in HANPP from around 75%-65% of the potential productivity. At the same time, decreasing agricultural areas allowed for forest regrowth. Overall, land system change in Germany was surprisingly gradual, indicating high resilience to the drastic socio-economic and institutional shifts that occurred during the last 125 years. We found strikingly similar land system trajectories in East and West Germany during the time of separation (1945-1989), despite the contrasting institutional settings and economic paradigms. Conversely, the German reunification sparked a fundamental and rapid shift in former East Germany's land system, leading to altered levels of production, land use intensity and land use efficiency. Gradual and continuous land use intensification, a result of industrialization and economic optimization of land use, was the dominant trend throughout the observed period, apparently overruling socio-economic framework conditions and land use policies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus