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About Topic 5


The mission of Topic 5 is to develop pathways towards multifunctional landscapes which maintain functioning ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss, and provide fresh water, food, and habitable living spaces as essential resources for humans.

Our focus:

Future landscapes must sustainably deliver the many and diverse services demanded by society, even under intensifying pressures, while retaining their natural capacities to fulfill their vital role in the Earth system. T5 is focused on terrestrial landscapes as spaces where human impacts, ecological alterations, and social costs of land use changes and effects of climate change directly shape human life. Topic 5 focuses on the interplay of human impacts and natural dynamics of landscapes. We aim to provide actionable knowledge and develop societal responses (e.g., governance mechanisms and policy options) for adaptation to climate change, halting biodiversity loss, sustainable agricultural policies, achieving freshwater security, and transforming cities as resilient human-natural systems.

T5 provides a unique platform for synthesizing pathways towards multifunctional landscapes of the future.

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Recent Highlights

Siberian tundra could virtually disappear by mid-millennium

Due to global warming, temperatures in the Arctic are climbing rapidly. As a result, the treeline for Siberian larch forests is steadily advancing to the north, gradually supplanting the broad expanses of tundra which are home to a unique mix of flora and fauna. Experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute have now prepared a computer simulation of how these woods could spread in the future, at the tundra’s expense. Their conclusion: only consistent climate protection measures will allow roughly 30 percent of the Siberian tundra to survive to mid-millennium. In all other, less favourable scenarios, the unique habitat is projected to disappear entirely.


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Subtopics in detail

Participating Centers