Research
Main research areas

Main Research Areas

Aerial drone view of a moorland in Lapland Aerial drone view of a moorland in Lapland Aerial drone view of a moorland in Lapland

Research at the Institute for Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology in Hanover deals with a wide range of application-related spatial issues in national and international projects and collaborations.

The main focus is on landscape ecology, soil erosion research, human-environmental relationships, ecosystem services and the analysis of land use change using modern methods such as GIS, remote sensing, modeling and visualization.

Research at the Institute for Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology in Hanover deals with a wide range of application-related spatial issues in national and international projects and collaborations.

The main focus is on landscape ecology, soil erosion research, human-environmental relationships, ecosystem services and the analysis of land use change using modern methods such as GIS, remote sensing, modeling and visualization.

Landscape structures and processes

Agricultural landscape with open fields in the foreground Agricultural landscape with open fields in the foreground Agricultural landscape with open fields in the foreground

Research of landscape structures and processes is a classic field of activity in physical geography and landscape ecology. The aim is to understand which abiotic and biotic elements and structures are present in landscapes, how they interact and how landscapes ultimately “work”. An important area of work at the institute is the recording of earth surface processes with a special focus on soil erosion by water in agro-ecosystems under various management methods. In addition to the classic recording methods, digital three-dimensional spatial recording and evaluation methods are used. This also includes script and machine learning-based computing algorithms for evaluating large amounts of data - big data - such as radar weather data.

Ecosystem services

Agricultural landscape in the tropics Agricultural landscape in the tropics Agricultural landscape in the tropics

Ecosystem services (ES) describe and evaluate the diverse benefits that society derives from nature and functional landscapes. These include directly consumable goods such as food, water or energy sources (supply services), landscape aesthetics and recreation (cultural services) as well as regulatory services such as climate or flood regulation, pollination by insects and erosion regulation. Currently, some of our projects focus on the spatial modeling of insect populations and erosion processes, especially in agricultural and urban ecosystems. However, other ecosystem services are also recorded, modeled, analyzed and evaluated using integrative assessment methods such as the ES matrix method, simulation models or natural capital accounting.

Digital remote sensing methods

Surveying equipment in a treeless moorland in Lapland Surveying equipment in a treeless moorland in Lapland Surveying equipment in a treeless moorland in Lapland

Digital measurement and remote sensing methods are the basis for the acquisition of landscape structures and processes and for the creation of digital elevation models and surface models (DEM / DSM). In addition to the possibilities of photogrammetric evaluation of existing satellite and aerial image data, the institute has its own unmanned aerial systems (UAS / flight drone systems), some with near-infrared cameras for vegetation detection, and also a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) for exact data acquisition in different research and study projects. The data are collected with high precision using the institute's global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and then further processed in geographic information systems (GIS) or simulation models. The institute thus offers the complete workflow, from high-precision data acquisition in the field to the creation of exact digital landscape models in GIS.

GIS and spatial modelling

Two-part image - a GIS map on the left and a field with erosion in the lane on the right Two-part image - a GIS map on the left and a field with erosion in the lane on the right Two-part image - a GIS map on the left and a field with erosion in the lane on the right

Spatial data are the basis of physical-geographical and landscape ecological research. Geographic information systems (GIS) offer the possibility to digitally collect, manage and analyse spatial data and to display them as two-dimensional maps or three-dimensional terrain models. Due to the enormous importance that GIS have in modern digital physical geography, GIS and Python scripting are a focus in the training and research at our institute. GIS data also form the basis for many other applications, for example in soil erosion research and spatial modeling of various ecosystem services with the model systems Erosion3D ©, ESTIMAP © and InVEST ©. We also use methods of artificial intelligence such as machine learning, especially for the analysis of big data or for predicting landscape ecological phenomena such as digital soil mapping.

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Prof. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard
Address
Schneiderberg 50
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
324
Prof. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard
Address
Schneiderberg 50
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
324