Research for the Environment

Investigation Sites


The Parthe watershed (366 km²), a subbasin of Weiße Elster river basin, is situated southeast of Leipzig (Saxony) in the Leipzig lowlands. The Parthe river flows into the Weiße Elster river at Leipzig.

Weisse Elster

Weisse Elster
The Weisse Elster river basin covers an area of about 5,300 km². The basin shares parts of the Elstergebirge mountains (Southern Vogtland, 724 m a.s.l.), the Saxonian Mountains, the Saxonian-Thuringian hills as well as the Leipzig lowlands when reaching its outlet.


The River Ems flows through the North German Lowlands to the North Sea. The entire basin (area: 3,740 km²) has low relief terrain. The River Ems has its sources at the foothills of the Teutoburger Wald mountains on the Eastern border of the basin (altitudes reach only about 360 m a.s.l.).


The Saale River is one of the main tributaries of the Elbe River. The length of the Saale River is about 320 km and the drainage basin area is about 24,000 km². Topography of the basin is heterogeneous with elevation varying between 50 m a.s.l. and about 1100 m a.s.l.


The catchment area of the middle River Mulde (2,700km²) is situated in the western part of the German state of Saxony, in the loess region. The Mulde river basin has been affected several times by floods, with a catastrophic event in 2002.


Leipzig-Halle region
The Leipzig-Halle region has been experiencing both population growth and decline side-by-side, with new development continuing despite pre-existing brownfields and high vacancy rates.


Kharaa, Northern Mongolia
In northern Mongolia, we are studying land- and water-use dynamics. The project is a contribution to the MoMo project, which is focusing on integrated water resource management (IWRM). Our study region, the Kharaa river basin ( 14,000 km²) is home to approximately 120,000 people, including Darkhan the second largest Mongolian city.


Karnataka (~ 198.000 km²) is located in the south-western part of India and home to 53 Mio. People. Although Karnataka with its capital Bangalore is one of the wealthiest Indian states, still the majority of its population depends on agriculture. In this region we are studying the potential for bioenergy production based on crops such as sugarcane and Jatropha.


Mexico (with a size of 1.9 million km² about 5.5 times as large as Germany) features a very complex geological setting and has a strong climatic north-south gradient. Due to its great environmental heterogeneity and its location on the boundary between two biogeographic regions the country belongs to the global biodiversity hotspots.


Press & Media

Recent Publications

Beckmann, M., Bruelheide, H., Erfmeier, A., (2014):
Local performance of six clonal alien species differs between native and invasive regions in Germany and New Zealand
Austral Ecol. 39 (4), 378 - 387

Beckmann, M., Václavík, T., Manceur, A.M., Šprtová, L., von Wehrden, H., Welk, E., Cord, A.F., (2014):
glUV: a global UV-B radiation data set for macroecological studies
Methods Ecol. Evol. 5 (4), 372 - 383

Bonumá, N.B., Rossi, C.G., Arnold, J.G., Reichert, J.M., Minella, J.P., Allen, P.M., Volk, M., (2014):
Simulating landscape sediment transport capacity by using a modified SWAT model
J. Environ. Qual. 43 (1), 55 - 66

Brosinsky, A., Lausch, A., Doktor, D., Salbach, C., Merbach, I., Gwillym-Margianto, S., Pause, M., (2014):
Analysis of spectral vegetation signal characteristics as a function of soil moisture conditions using hyperspectral remote sensing
J. Indian Soc. Remote Sens. 42 (2), 311 - 324

Cerro, I., Antigüedad, I., Srinavasan, R., Sauvage, S., Volk, M., Sanchez-Perez, J.M., (2014):
Simulating land management options to reduce nitrate pollution in an agricultural watershed dominated by an alluvial aquifer
J. Environ. Qual. 43 (1), 67 - 74