Dr. Christian Levers

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Global Fellow
UBC Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department Computational Landscape Ecology
Permoserstrasse 15
04318 Leipzig - Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)341 235 482256

Christian Levers

Research interests

My research aims at better understanding spatial patterns of land systems and changes therein, as well as their impacts on the environment and societies. Regionally, my focus is on South America (esp. the Gran Chaco) and Europe. In my research, I:

  • assess drivers and determinants of land-system patterns and changes,
  • simulate future land-system patterns using scenarios and storylines,
  • map archetypical land-system patterns and changes, and
  • explore potential impacts of land-system changes on the environment.

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2018 Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig
Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability & School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
2016-2018 Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin:
Postdoctoral researcher
2011-2016 Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin:
Doctoral Researcher (Thesis: Understanding spatial patterns of land-system change in Europe)
2009-2010 Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin:
Research Assistant
2007-2009 Master of Science in Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Thesis: Modeling of groundwater flows and heat transport in a peri-urban river valley flood plain)
2003-2006 Bachelor of Science in Geography, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Thesis: The influence of lighting systems on show cave microclimate shown at the examples of Punkva Cave (Czech Republic) and Jewel Cave (USA))


  • Applied Conservation Biology using R (Berlin, 2015)
  • Spatial analysis and geostatistics (Berlin, 2012)
  • Statistics (Berlin, 2011-2018)
  • Introduction to Geoinformation processing (Berlin, 2011)
  • Applied Geomatics (Berlin, 2010)
  • Advanced methods of Geoinformation processing (Berlin, 2009)
  • plus many contributions to other courses (e.g., Project Seminar Carpathians, Quantitative Methods, Mathematics for Geographers, Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity, or Land System Science)

Selected Publications

in peer-reviewed journals

Full CV with complete publication list

  • Levers C., Schneider M., Prishchepov A.V., Estel S. & Kuemmerle T. (2018). Spatial variation in determinants of agricultural land abandonment in Europe. Science of the Total Environment, 644, pp 95-111. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.326
  • Levers C., Müller D., Erb K-H., Haberl H., Jepsen M.R., Metzger M.J., Meyfroidt P., Plieninger T., Plutzar C., Stürck J., Verburg P.H., Verkerk P.J. & Kuemmerle T. (2018). Archetypical patterns and trajectories of land systems in Europe. Regional Environmental Change, 18(3), pp 715-732. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/ s10113-015-0907-x
  • Estel S., Mader S., Levers C., Verburg P.H., Baumann M. & Kuemmerle T. (2018). Combining satellite data and agricultural statistics to map grassland management intensity in Europe. Environmental Research Letters, 13(7), 074020. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aacc7a
  • Rufin P., Levers C., Baumann M., Jägermeyr J., Krueger T., Kuemmerle T. & Hostert P. (2018). Global-scale patterns and determinants of cropping frequency in irrigation dam command areas. Global Environmental Change, 50, pp 110-122. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.02.011
  • Gerstner K., Levers C., Kuemmerle T., Václavík T., Pereira H.M. & Seppelt R. (2017). Assessing land-use effects on European plant diversity using a biome-specific countryside species-area model. Diversity and Distributions, 23(10), pp 1193-1203. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12608
  • Levers C., Butsic V., Verburg P.H., Müller D. & Kuemmerle T. (2016). Drivers of changes in agricultural land-use intensity in Europe. Land Use Policy, 58, pp 380-393. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.08.013
  • Kuemmerle T., Levers C., Erb K-H., Estel S., Jepsen M.R., Müller D., Plutzar C., Stürck J., Verkerk P.J., Verburg P.H. & Reenberg A. (2016). Hotspots of land-use change in Europe. Environmental Research Letters, 11(6), 064020. https://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/6/064020
  • van der Zanden E.H., Levers C., Verburg P.H. & Kuemmerle T. (2016). Representing composition, spatial structure and management intensity of European agricultural landscapes: A new typology. Landscape and Urban Planning, 150, pp 36-49. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.02.005
  • Kehoe L., Kuemmerle T., Meyer C., Levers C., Václavík T. & Kreft H. (2015). Global patterns of agricultural land-use intensity and vertebrate diversity. Diversity and Distributions, 21(11), pp 1308-1318. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12359
  • Levers C., Verkerk P.J., Müller D., Verburg P.H., Butsic V., Leitão P.J., Lindner M. & Kuemmerle T. (2014). Drivers of forest harvesting intensity patterns in Europe. Forest Ecology and Management, 315, pp 160-172. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2013.12.030

as book chapters
  • Levers C.& Müller D. (forthcoming). Mapping the land-use footprint of exported crop production. In: Nielsen J.Ø. & Friis C. (Eds.), Global Land-Use Change: The relevance of telecoupling research. Palgrave Macmillan Publishers Ltd, London, UK.
  • Müller D., Haberl H., Bartels L.E., Baumann M., Beckert M., Levers C., Schierhorn F., Zscheischler J., Havlík P., Hostert P., Mertz O. & Smith P. (2016). Competition for land-based ecosystem services: Trade-offs and synergies. In: Niewöhner J., Bruns A., Hostert P., Krüger T., Nielsen J.Ø., Haberl H., Lauk C., Lutz J., & Müller D. (Eds.), Land Use Competition: Ecological, Economic and Social Perspectives. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. pp. 127-147. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-33628-2_8