More intensive land use and increasingly fierce competition for land arising from its use for biomass production to generate raw materials and energy, along with the predicted climate change, are causing our ecosystems to change.
The increased use of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as the long-term change in precipitation and temperature patterns, has a sustained impact on the biogeochemical matter fluxes in the terrestrial systems. Research on the effects of this development and the ability of terrestrial systems to adapt to changes is a prerequisite for the sustainable protection of soils and drinking water.
Jülich scientists are studying the hydrological and biogeochemical processes in terrestrial systems. Their studies focus on the fate and behaviour of anthropogenic materials and the elucidation of conversion processes with regard to the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and on the cycles of important materials. A combination of experiments, modelling, and innovative observation technologies is used to study processes on both the small and large scale, in order to put management recommendations for sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water on a scientific basis. Experimental studies with state-of-the-art methods on laboratory, lysimeter, and field scales and the operation of experimental platforms serve as the basis for developing terrestrial models that permit predictions about the impact of changes in land use and the climate on ecosystems.