ARS AfricaE Annual Meeting 6 – 8 October 2016

The Annual Meeting of the project took place in Wits Rural Facility (Limpopo) in South Africa. 18 registered participants from Germany and the African partner institutions presented their research results, discussed engagement of new partners and involvement in existing and currently developed research infrastructures in South Africa (e.g., SARIR- ETFEON), as well as utilization and synthesis of readily available data. Other main issues were extension of capacity building measures, consensus on knowledge gaps, and strategies for the upcoming SPACES II call.

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A visit to the Agincourt tower site (operated by the partner CSIR) was part of the Annual Meetings program. Before the meeting Thünen personnel put the final touches to the new eddy covariance site in a rural communal setting in Vuwani (Limpopo province) on the grounds of the Vuwani Science Resource Center. At both sites the effect of differences in landuse on carbon and energy fluxes will be investigated.

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Site Vuwani

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Site Agincourt

SPACES Midterm Workshop

SPACES Midterm Workshop held in Cape Town on Nov 2 – 4. Delegates of each SPACES project from German and southern African partners came together to present their most recent results and latest research activities from a variety of disciplines.

The meeting was organized by project funding agencies PT-DLR and PT-J. Participants also got the chance to discuss future research perspectives with representatives from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Image courtesy of Dirk Schories

The Annual Meeting


The Annual Meeting is history!

We enjoyed the beauty of the Karoo and the hospitality of its inhabitants. Many thanks to Justin and his wonderful family. The team used the opportunity to discuss a good variety of interdisciplinary research topics. We can certainly expect to see incredible results from that project very soon.

Upcoming Event: ARS AfricaE Annual Meeting 16 – 18 October 2015

The Annual Meeting of the project will take place in Middelburg (Eastern Cape) in South Africa. 19 registered participants from Germany and the African partner institutions will present first research results, but also discuss the reorientation of the projects from a comparison of Sambian and South African to entirely South African study sites.

Before the meeting Thünen personnel will set up the two eddy covariance sites at pastures of the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute. There the effect of differences in grazing intensity on carbon and energy fluxes will be investigated.

Dr. Christian Brümmer (TI-AK) and Azwitamisi Mudau (CSIR) selecting locations for the Eddy Covariance Sites

13th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting

ARS AfricaE participates in the 13th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting taking place from 8 – 12 March 2015 in Skukuza, South Africa.

This meeting is the most important annual event related to a wide range of scientific projects in the South African national parks. ARS AfricaE is represented by three posters. These can be found on pages 110 – 112 in the official abstracts (pages 121 – 123 in the ‘program’ PDF) available on the website mentioned above.

ARS AfricaE’s displayed topics are a spatio-temporal earth observation approach, the model derivation for adaptive resilience simulations and the massive multi-agent framework MARS to power these simulations.

SPACES Project ARS AfricaE – Adaptive Resilience of Southern African Ecosystems

Nowadays, many semi-arid ecosystems are affected by at least two different kinds of disturbances: land use (change) and climate change. Based on this, it can be hypothesized that even very resilient ecosystems may not return to their initial state after disturbance, but will rather adapt to a new steady-state. We name this phenomenon “Adaptive Resilience of Ecosystems” and use it as base for the research concept of ARS AfricaE.

This project wants to go beyond older approaches that only describe structural changes in savannas and their drivers. It employs functional aspects, such as the investigation of biogeochemical cycles, but also targets a deeper understanding of the functional consequences of ecosystem changes caused by multiple disturbances, and defines “degradation” as a sustained loss in the broad set of ecosystem services, i.e. a decrease in natural capital.

To achieve this goal, the project combines five work packages with three countries involved under a central coordination.