Team: Land Surface Dynamics

Global socio-economic change, as well as climate change, have serious impacts on the natural ecosystems and cultural landscapes of our planet. Forests are cleared, rivers are harnessed, and wetlands and grasslands are turned into agricultural land. Particularly in densely populated areas, natural ecosystems are being increasingly converted to settlements and other forms of use in the course of ongoing urbanization. The global demand for energy continues to increase at an unprecedented rate resulting in drastic regulations of large rivers around the world. Structural changes in nutrition, the intensification of cultivation and irrigation, and the transition from the production of staple crops to export-oriented cash crops and agro-industrial monocultures all are common features in an increasingly globalized agricultural economy that have already left fundamental marks on the prevailing land use systems. As a result, the biodiversity of flora and fauna have decreased rapidly over the past decades. Additionally, climate change induced sea-level rise threatens natural and cultural landscapes in coastal regions, glaciers are on the retreat, and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, such as serious floods and draughts impact the livelihoods of millions of people.

Group image of the Land Surface Dynamics Team

It is these processes that we monitor, quantify, and evaluate in the team “Land Surface Dynamics “. In this context, we place most pressing questions and environmental issues of current public discourse into our focus. The analyses of earth observation data of different resolution and different sensors (optical/multi-spectral, thermal, SAR) form the basis for the development of novel methods, algorithms, and information products that allow for the spatial continuous and explicit characterization of our environment and its related bio-geophysical parameters. Analyses of satellite data time-series allow for statements on notable long-term environmental trends. Data with varying temporal and spatial resolution allow for the generation of convincing information products on local, national, regional, and up to global scale. The team is carried by long-term and large-scale projects with development lines clearly emphasizing on „land- and water resource management“. Aiming at applied science for “real world” users, a strong emphasis is put on a close collaboration with decision makers from politics, industry, and science, ensuring that user requirements are adequately identified and decision making processes are optimally supported.

Areas of application within the team “Land Surface Dynamics” focus on:

  1. Socio-economic Change: Impacts on natural- and cultural environment and livelihoods
    • Land use change and change in productivity
    • Structural changes of ecosystems
    • Loss of resources
  2. Climate Change: Impacts on natural- and cultural environment and livelihoods
    • Dynamics of physical, hydrological and ecological parameters
    • Vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and livelihoods
    • Strategies for adaptation and mitigation
  3. Sustainable Use of Resources
    • Sustainable land management
    • Integrated water resource management
    • Trans-boundary resource protection

With respect to method development the team “Land Surface Dynamics” focuses on:

  1. Automated derivation of bio- and geophysical parameters
  2. Moderate- and high-resolution time series analyses
  3. Change detection and derivation of long-term trends
  4. Sustainable operationalization of developed processing chains
  5. Development of value added information products for decision support
  6. Development of user-friendly information systems

Dr. Claudia Künzer
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

German Remote Sensing Data Center
, Land Surface
Tel: +49 8153 28-3280

Fax: +49 8153 28-1458

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