A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.
Prof. Dr. Norbert Juergens, Biocentre Klein Flottbek & Botanical Garden, University of Hamburg, Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany
Towards sustainable use of phyto-diversity: Analysis of the mechanisms which control the changes caused by human land use and climate change
The subproject focuses on the understanding of human-induced and climate-driven changes in the diversity and ecosystem functions of the natural vegetation in southern Africa in order to generate knowledge for the maintenance and sustainable use of biodiversity. The scientific understanding of the drivers and mechanisms of change is the precondition for the development and promotion of efficient and cost-effective management practices for sustainable land use under various ecologically and socio-economically distinct conditions. For this aim the research is focussed on the following aspects, which will be investigated mainly on and around the BIOTA Observatories in southern Africa:
- Standardised, long-term monitoring of phytodiversity and vegetation on the BIOTA Observatories (work package S06.1).
- The reconstruction and interpretation of historical vegetation changes and land use changes during the past 100 years (work package S06.2) will accomplish the study on recent and future changes.
- Analysis of the role of plant functional traits along environmental gradients within and between different biomes in order to understand mechanisms of change and functional aspects of the vegetation response to the climate-driven and human-induced changes (work package S06.3).
- The direct impact of global climate change on functional traits of selected taxa by applying an experimental approach (work package S06.4).
- Impact of different human land use types on phytodiversity, its ecosystem function and resilience (work package S06.5).
- Techniques and potential for rehabilitation of overexploited or otherwise degraded systems (work package S06.6).
The subproject is thus designed a) to provide important base-line data on historical and recent changes in phytodiversity, b) to give insight into consequences of the change of phytodiversity for the ecosystem functions (stability, direct goods and services for the users of biodiversity), in order c) to develop and test management tools for the maintenance and sustainable use of biodiversity under changing conditions.