Research Group

SALASSimulation and Analysis of Land Systems

Projects & Study Regions Methods, Products & Tools Contact Publications & Partners

Short description

The research group SALAS (Simulation and Analysis of LAnd Systems) focuses on the analysis of land use and land-use change and its impacts on different environmental factors. The analyses are mostly conducted at regional scale and have varying thematic and spatial foci (e.g. land and water use intensity in Northern Mongolia; production of bioenergy in Southern India; land use change in Central Germany). The scientific approach is mostly based on coupled models to investigate land-use change as well as its environmental impacts on soil functioning or crop production – or vice versa, the impact of e.g. fires on vegetation and land use. Therefore, different empirical or process-based models are used (e.g DayCent, SITE, …). We partly, apply or adapt 3rd party models, but also internally develop models such as the SITE framework.

In addition, we develop scenarios, mostly related to land-use simulations, to quantify scenario assumptions and assess potential impacts of future land-use change trajectories.

SALAS Banner

Current Projects 

Operationalisation of Natural Capital and EcoSystem Services (OPENESS - Project)
         Case Study Central Germany

Production of Solid Sustainable Energy Carriers from Biomass by Means of
   Torrefaction (SECTOR- Project)
         SECTOR case-studies

Completed Projects



Methods, Products & Tools

  • Development of simulation models such as SITE for a computer-based analysis of research questions
  • Implementation and further development of spatial statistics (map comparison methods) – especially for gridded or raster maps in (currently > 10 methods implemented in SITE)
  • Development of methods for model and model parameter calibration and validation such as sensitivity analysis and optimisation techniques to calibrate coupled models
  • Development of modules for the SITE framework, e.g. for a more differentiated representation of decision-making, forest use or settlement dynamics and for the simulation of forest fires
  • Development of scenarios and methods for scenario development, partly in participatory approaches including stakeholder consultation
  • Development of sustainability indicators and indicator systems, especially in the context of bioenergy production
  • Development of a non-commercial ecosystem service mapping application ( MapNat ) for ANDROID based smartphones


Dr. Jörg Priess

Phone: ++49 341 235 1879
Fax: ++49 341 235 1939

Publications (selection)

2017 (14)

  • Barton, D.N., Kelemen, E., Dick, J., Martin-Lopez, B., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Jacobs, S., Hendriks, C.M.A., Termansen, M., García-Llorente, M., Primmer, E., Dunford, R., Harrison, P.A., Turkelboom, F., Saarikoski, H., van Dijk, J., Rusch, G.M., Palomo, I., Yli-Pelkonen, V.J., Carvalho, L., Baró, F., Langemeyer, J., Tjalling van der Wal, J., Mederly, P., Priess, J.A., Luque, S., Berry, P., Santos, R., Odee, D., Martines Pastur, G., García Blanco, G., Saarela, S.-R., Silaghi, D., Pataki, G., Masi, F., Vadineanu, A., Mukhopadhyay, R., Lapola, D.M., (2017):
    (Dis) integrated valuation – Assessing the information gaps in ecosystem service appraisals for governance support
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Cord, A.F., Bartkowski, B., Beckmann, M., Dittrich, A., Hermans-Neumann, K., Kaim, A., Lienhoop, N., Locher-Krause, K.E., Priess, J., Schröter-Schlaack, C., Schwarz, N., Seppelt, R., Strauch, M., Václavík, T., Volk, M., (2017):
    Towards systematic analyses of ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies: Main concepts, methods and the road ahead
    Ecosystem Services 28 , 264 - 272
    full text (url)
  • Dick, J., Turkelboom, F., Woods, H., Iniesta-Arandia, I., Primmer, E., Saarela, S.-R., Bezák, P., Mederly, P., Leone, M., Verheyden, W., Kelemen, E., Hauck, J., Andrews, S., Antunes, P., Aszalós, R., Baró, F., Barton, D.N., Berry, P., Bugter, R., Carvalho, L., Czúcz, B., Dunford, R., Garcia Blanco, G., Geamana, N., Giuca, R., Grizzetti, B., Izakovicova, Z., Kertész, M., Kopperoinen, L., Langemeyer, J., Lapola, D.M., Liquete, C., Luque, S., Pastur, G.M., Martin-Lopez, B., Mukhopadhyay, R., Niemela, J., Odee, D., Peri, P.L., Pinho, P., Patrício-Roberto, G.B., Preda, E., Priess, J., Röckmann, C., Santos, R., Silaghi, D., Smith, R., Vadineanu, A., van der Wal, J.T., Arany, I., Badea, O., Bela, G., Boros, E., Bucur, M., Blumentrath, S., Calvache, M., Carmen, E., Clemente, P., Fernandes, J., Ferraz, D., Fongar, C., García-Llorente, M., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Gundersen, V., Haavardsholm, O., Kalóczkai, A., Khalalwe, T., Kiss, G., Köhler, B., Lazányi, O., Lellei-Kovács, E., Lichungu, R., Lindhjem, H., Magare, C., Mustajoki, J., Ndege, C., Nowell, M., Nuss Girona, S., Ochieng, J., Often, A., Palomo, I., Pataki, G., Reinvang, R., Rusch, G., Saarikoski, H., Smith, A., Soy Massoni, E., Stange, E., Vågnes Traaholt, N., Vári, A., Verweij, P., Vikström, S., Yli-Pelkonen, V., Zulian, G., (2017):
    Stakeholders’ perspectives on the operationalisation of the ecosystem service concept: results from 27 case studies
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Dittrich, A., von Wehrden, H., Abson, D.J., Bartkowski, B., Cord, A.F., Fust, P., Hoyer, C., Kambach, S., Meyer, M.A., Radzevičiūtė, R., Nieto-Romero, M., Seppelt, R., Beckmann, M., (2017):
    Mapping and analysing historical indicators of ecosystem services in Germany
    Ecol. Indic. 75 , 101 - 110
    full text (url)
  • Dunford, R., Harrison, P., Smith, A., Dick, J., Barton, D.N., Martin-Lopez, B., Kelemen, E., Jacobs, S., Saarikoski, H., Turkelboom, F., Verheyden, W., Hauck, J., Antunes, P., Aszalós, R., Badea, O., Baró, F., Berry, P., Carvalho, L., Conte, G., Czúcz, B., Garcia Blanco, G., Howard, D., Giuca, R., Gomez-Baggethun, E., Grizetti, B., Izakovicova, Z., Kopperoinen, L., Langemeyer, J., Luque, S., Lapola, D.M., Martinez-Pastur, G., Mukhopadhyay, R., Roy, S.B., Niemelä, J., Norton, L., Ochieng, J., Odee, D., Palomo, I., Pinho, P., Priess, J., Rusch, G., Saarela, S.-R., Santos, R., van der Wal, J.T., Vadineanu, A., Vári, A., Woods, H., Yli-Pelkonen, V., (2017):
    Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: experiences from real world situations
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Hermans-Neumann, K., Priess, J., Herold, M., (2017):
    Human migration, climate variability, and land degradation: hotspots of socio-ecological pressure in Ethiopia
    Reg. Envir. Chang. 17 (5), 1479 - 1492
    full text (url)
  • Jacobs, S., Martín-López, B., Barton, D.N., Dunford, R., Harrison, P.A., Kelemen, E., Saarikoski, H., Termansen, M., García-Llorente, M., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Kopperoinen, L., Luque, S., Palomo, I., Priess, J.A., Rusch, G.M., Tenerelli, P., Turkelboom, F., Demeyer, R., Hauck, J., Keune, H., Smith, R., (2017):
    The means determine the end – pursuing integrated valuation in practice
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Pe'er, G., Zinngrebe, Y., Hauck, J., Schindler, S., Dittrich, A., Zingg, S., Tscharntke, T., Oppermann, R., Sutcliffe, L., Sirami, C., Schmidt, J., Hoyer, C., Schleyer, C., Lakner, S., (2017):
    Adding some green to the greening: improving the EU's Ecological Focus Areas for biodiversity and farmers
    Conserv. Lett. 10 (5), 517 - 530
    full text (url)
  • Priess, J.A., Hauck, J., Haines-Young, R., Alkemade, R., Mandryk, M., Veerkamp, C., Gyorgyi, B., Dunford, R., Berry, P., Harrison, P., Dick, J., Keune, H., Kok, K., Kopperoinen, L., Lazarova, T., Maes, J., Pataki, G., Preda, E., Schleyer, C., Görg, C., Vadineanu, A., Zulian, G., (2017):
    New EU-scale environmental scenarios until 2050 – Scenario process and initial scenario applications
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Priess, J.A., Kopperoinen, L., (2017):
    5.6.3. Citizen science. What is citizen science?
    In: Burkhardt, B, Maes, J., (eds.)
    Mapping ecosystem services
    Pensoft, Sofia, p. 223 - 226
    full text (url)
  • Ripple, W.J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T.M., Galetti, M., Alamgir, M., Crist, E., Mahmoud, M.I., Laurance, W.F., Auliya, M., Droste, N., Egli, L., Everaars, J., Ferreira, C., Friese, K., Henle, K., Kühn, I., Loyau, A., Pe'er, G., Priess, J.A., Schiller, J., Schmeller, D.S., Schröter, M., Spangenberg, J.H., Wiemers, M., and more, , (2017):
    World scientists’ warning to humanity: a second notice
    Bioscience 67 (12), 1026 - 1028
    full text (url)
  • Saarikoski, H., Primmer, E., Saarela, S.-R., Antunes, P., Aszalós, R., Baró, F., Berry, P., Blanko, G.G., Goméz-Baggethun, E., Carvalho, L., Dick, J., Dunford, R., Hanzu, M., Harrison, P.A., Izakovicova, Z., Kertész, M., Kopperoinen, L., Köhler, B., Langemeyer, J., Lapola, D., Liquete, C., Luque, S., Mederly, P., Niemelä, J., Palomo, I., Pastur, G.M., Peri, P.L., Preda, E., Priess, J.A., Santos, R., Schleyer, C., Turkelboom, F., Vadineanu, A., Verheyden, W., Vikström, S., Young, J., (2017):
    Institutional challenges in putting ecosystem service knowledge in practice
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Turkelboom, F., Leone, M., Jacobs, S., Kelemen, E., García-Llorente, M., Baró, F., Termansen, M., Barton, D.N., Berry, P., Stange, E., Thoonen, M., Kalóczkai, A., Vadineanu, A., Castro, A.J., Czúcz, B., Röckmann, C., Wurbs, D., Odee, D., Preda, E., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Rusch, G.M., Martinez-Pastur, G., Palomo, I., Dick, J., Casaer, J., van Dijk, J., Priess, J.A., Langemeyer, J., Mustajoki, J., Kopperoinen, L., Baptist, M.J., Peri, P.L., Mukhopadhyay, R., Aszalós, R., Roy, S.B., Luque, S., Rusch, V., (2017):
    When we cannot have it all: ecosystem services trade-offs in the context of spatial planning
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)
  • Zulian, G., Stange, E., Woods, H., Carvalho, L., Dick, J., Andrews, C., Baró, F., Vizcaino, P., Barton, D.N., Nowell, M., Rusch, G.M., Autunes, P., Fernandes, J., Ferraz, D., dos Santos, R.F., Aszalós, R., Arany, I., Czúcz, B., Priess, J.A., Hoyer, C., Bürger-Patricio, G., Lapola, D., Mederly, P., Halabuk, A., Bezak, P., Kopperoinen, L., Viinikka, A., (2017):
    Practical application of spatial ecosystem service models to aid decision support
    Ecosystem Services
    full text (url)

2016 (4)

  • Meyer, M.A., Seppelt, R., Witing, F., Priess, J.A., (2016):
    Making environmental assessments of biomass production systems comparable worldwide
    Environ. Res. Lett. 11 (3), art. 034005
    full text (url)
  • Schulze, J., Frank, K., Priess, J., Meyer, M.A., (2016):
    Assessing regional-scale impacts of short rotation coppices on ecosystem services by modeling land-use decisions
    PLOS One 11 (4), e0153862
    full text (url)
  • Silva, R.A., Lapola, D.M., Patricio, G.B., Teixeira, M.C., Pinho, P., Priess, J.A., (2016):
    Operationalizing payments for ecosystem services in Brazil's sugarcane belt: How do stakeholder opinions match with successful cases in Latin America?
    Ecosystem Services 22 (Part A), 128 - 138
    full text (url)
  • Yalew, S.G., Mul, M.L., van Griensven, A., Teferi, E., Priess, J.A., Schweitzer, C., van der Zaag, P., (2016):
    Land-use change modelling in the Upper Blue Nile basin
    Environments 3 (3), art. 21
    full text (url)

2015 (4)

  • Hauck, J., Winkler, K.J., Priess, J.A., (2015):
    Reviewing drivers of ecosystem change as input for environmental and ecosystem services modelling
    Sustainability of Water Quality and Ecology 5 , 9 - 30
    full text (url)
  • Hülsmann, L., Geyer, T., Schweitzer, C., Priess, J., Karthe, D., (2015):
    The effect of subarctic conditions on water resources: initial results and limitations of the SWAT model applied to the Kharaa River Basin in Northern Mongolia
    Environ. Earth Sci. 73 (2), 581 - 592
    full text (url)
  • Meyer, M.A., Chand, T., Priess, J.A., (2015):
    Comparing bioenergy production sites in the southeastern US regarding ecosystem service supply and demand
    PLOS One 10 (3), e0116336
    full text (url)
  • Priess, J.A., Schweitzer, C., Batkhishig, O., Koschitzki, T., Wurbs, D., (2015):
    Impacts of agricultural land-use dynamics on erosion risks and options for land and water management in Northern Mongolia
    Environ. Earth Sci. 73 (2), 697 - 708
    full text (url)

2014 (5)

  • Karthe, D., Kasimov, N.S., Chalov, S.R., Shinkareva, G.L., Malsy, M., Menzel, L., Theuring, P., Hartwig, M., Schweitzer, C., Hofmann, J., Priess, J., Lychagin, M., (2014):
    Integrating multi-scale data for the assessment of water availability and quality in the Kharaa - Orkhon - Selenga River system
    Geography, Environment, Sustainability 3 (7), 65 - 86
  • Meyer, M.A., Priess, J.A., (2014):
    Indicators of bioenergy-related certification schemes - An analysis of the quality and comprehensiveness for assessing local/regional environmental impacts
    Biomass Bioenerg. 65 , 169 - 151
    final draft (pdf)
  • Meyer, M.A., Weiss, A., (2014):
    Life cycle costs for the optimized production of hydrogen and biogas from microalgae
    Energy 78 , 84 - 93
    full text (url)
  • Priess, J.A., Hauck, J., (2014):
    Integrative scenario development
    Ecol. Soc. 19 (1), Art. 12
    full text (url)
  • Wochele, S., Priess, J., Thrän, D., O’Keeffe, S., (2014):
    Crop allocation model “CRAM” - an approach for dealing with biomass supply from arable land as part of a life cycle inventory
    In: Hoffmann, C., Baxter, D., Maniatis, K., Grassi, A., Helm, P., (eds.)
    Online Proceedings of the 22nd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition EU BC&E 2014, 24./25.06.2014 CCH - Congress Center Hamburg
    EU BC&E Proceedings 2014
    ETA-Florence Renewable Energies, Florence, p. 36 - 40
    full text (url)

2013 (3)

  • Hauck, J., Priess, J.A., (2013):
    „The most likely future isn't“: Landnutzungsszenarien für Mitteldeutschland
    Raumforschung und Raumordnung 71 (5), 397 - 411
    full text (url)
  • Hauck, J., Schweppe-Kraft, B., Albert, C., Görg, C., Jax, K., Jensen, R., Fürst, C., Maes, J., Ring, I., Hönigová, I., Burkhard, B., Mehring, M., Tiefenbach, M., Grunewald, K., Schwarzer, M., Meurer, M., Sommerhäuser, M., Priess, J.A., Schmidt, J., Grêt-Regamey, A., (2013):
    The promise of the ecosystem services concept for planning and decision-making
    GAIA 22 (4), 232 - 236
  • Meyer, M.A., Priess, J.A., (2013):
    Local/regional environmental impacts of (solid) biofuels - evaluation of certification scheme indicators
    In: Eldrup, A., Baxter, D., Grassi, A., Helm, P., (eds.)
    21st European Biomass Conference: Setting the course for a biobased economy. Proceedings of the International Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 3-7 June 2013
    EU BC&E Proceedings 2013
    ETA-Florence Renewable Energies, Florence, p. 1708 - 1716
    full text (url)

2012 (3)

  • Das, S., Priess, J.A., Schweitzer, C., (2012):
    Modelling regional scale biofuel scenarios – a case study for India
    GCB Bioenergy 4 (2), 176 - 192
    full text (url)
  • Fensholt, R., Langanke, T., Rasmussen, K., Reenberg, A., Prince, S.D., Tucker, C., Scholes, R.J., Le, Q.B., Bondeau, A., Eastman, R., Epstein, H., Gaughan, A.E., Hellden, U., Mbow, C., Olsson, L., Paruelo, J., Schweitzer, C., Seaquist, J., Wessels, K., (2012):
    Greenness in semi-arid areas across the globe 1981–2007 — an Earth Observing Satellite based analysis of trends and drivers
    Remote Sens. Environ. 121 (June 2012), 144 - 158
    full text (url)
  • Houdret, A., Schweitzer, C., Priess, J., (2012):
    IWRM in Mongolia: cought between national aspirations and local realities
    In: Steusloff, H., (ed.)
    Integrated water resources management Karlsruhe 2012 : International conference 21 - 22 November 2012; conference proceedings
    Fraunhofer Verlag, Stuttgart, p. 72 - 79


David Barton (Ecosystem service mapping)
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research - NINA, Oslo, Norway

Ines Dombrowsky & Anabell Houdret (Governance of land & water use)
Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management / Umweltpolitik und Ressourcenmanagement
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik - DIE, Bonn, Germany

Roy Haines-Young & Marion Potschin (Ecosystem service assessment, participatory research, scenario development)
Centre for Environmental Management - CEM
Universitiy of Nottingham - Nottingham, UK

David M. Lapola (Land use, ecosystem services & mapping, bioenergy systems)
Earth System Science Lab / Laboratória de Ciência do Sistema Terrestre - LabTerra
Universidade Estadual Pauliste - UNESP, Rio Claro, Brazil

Patricia Pinho (Land use, participatory research, environmental justice)
Interdisciplinary Climate Investigation Center - INCLINE
Universidade de Sao Paulo - USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Ann van Griensven (Hydrological modelling, SITE - SWAT model coupling)
Dept. of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Brussels, Belgium