LUSci – Integrative Land Use Science for Sustainable Development
Land use science investigates the current state and future trends in land use, the drivers and impacts of these trends and their benefits and unintended consequences. The Cluster of Excellence Integrative Land Use Science for Sustainable Development (LUSci) will establish an internationally visible centre of excellence for land use science. The Cluster will tackle critical, globally important questions with a particular focus on low-income countries and emerging economies. LUSci will provide the knowledge base, the methodological advances and the necessary interdisciplinary perspective to answer the overarching questions about land use: Which factors determine why some land use systems are more sustainable than others and how can we measure this? How have land use systems developed under existing biophysical and social constraints and how are they likely to adapt to future demands and external stresses? How can land use systems provide critical ecosystem services at present and in the future? Which land use related interventions have the potential to safeguard human well-being?
LUSci is an integral part of the institutional strategy of the University of Göttingen, which has established sustainable land use as a core research focus. Göttingen has an outstanding record of accomplishment and expertise in modern land use science that is rooted in an interdisciplinary approach and many collaborative projects. LUSci comprises five research areas at the interfaces of traditional disciplines where we expect significant scientific innovations that will have a substantial impact on land use science: Integrated modelling of land use; Land use as provider of ecosystem functions and services; Land use and society; Scale problems in land use science; and Land use synthesis. The specific structures within LUSci will create exciting opportunities for substantial disciplinary and interdisciplinary advances. In three regional land use observatories (REGIO), we will generate experimental and observational data, in combination with participatory approaches, to evaluate ecosystem services and their interdependencies from a multidisciplinary and multi-scale perspective. The Data Integration Centre on Land Use (DICE) is a platform for synthesising land use data and deriving the general principles underlying current and future land use. DICE provides a single access point for data, analytic methods, data products and knowledge dissemination for land use scientists inside and outside LUSci. Research activities in REGIO and DICE will be organised in a modular structure. To train a new generation of scientists, we will establish an integrated graduate programme combined with early career support for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in the qualification platform TRAIN. Finally, REACH will be set up as an outreach and networking platform to provide the state of the art scientific basis for public debates on land use related issues.
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