University of Bonn

Analysis of Long-Term Environmental Change

The theme "Analysis of Long-Term Environmental Change" focuses on environmental changes endogenous to the Volta Basin that evolve over decadal time scales. These changes, such as alterations in land cover, soil degradation and loss of wetlands on which many ecosystem services depend, reflect complex interactions and feedbacks between climate, population density and economic activities. They affect the water balance directly through the partitioning of surface water fluxes, and likely indirectly as well through contributions to regional and global climate change.

Land cover change from 1990 to 2000/20001 for the GLOWA Volta basin (click to enlarge, 261KB)

Land cover and land use have a major influence on the water cycle in the Volta Basin. The observed progression of land surface characteristics within the basin reveal the underlying physical and anthropogenic factors driving land use change. Research done in this theme aims

(a) to quantify and predict the evolution and future state(s) of the land surface within the Volta Basin

(b) to provide spatially- and temporally scaled land surface data as input for models of land use change, regional climate and hydrology, respectively

(c) to develop and implement operational models of land use change within the basin.

The primary objective is to provide credible scenarios regarding the future state of the Basin’s land cover, to be used as input to the climate and hydrology models, and to assess the impact of such changes on livelihood and economic activity. Beyond providing support for linked climate and hydrological models, land conversion models can be used as decision support tools for proactive land management on the local and basin scales.

Main outcomes are:

GV-LUDAS (Land Use Dynamic Simulator)

CA (Cellular Automata): Land-use model on regional level to estimate the land cover change in the basin

MAS (Multi-agent System): Interactions between human actors and local environment on the community level. The MAS addresses the need of local communities to optimize limited water resources.

Automated Classification of Remotely Sensed Imagery (University of Würzburg, Germany)
The Basin Wide Cellular Automata LUCC Model (University of Würzburg, Germany)
GV-LUDAS, a High Resolution Agent-Based Model
Land-Use Change Predictions and Impact on Land- and Water Use Policies