Grassnet DAAD - Scope

GrassNet will address general knowledge gaps in a transdisciplinary research and educational approach with focus on the effects of increasing rainfall variability, climate change feedbacks on land-use management and ecosystem functions, effects on the system’s water balance as well as degradation and matter fluxes and finally ecosystem conservation and diversity.

In addition to these abiotic factors, GrassNet will also focus on comprehensive analyzing tools available to pastoralists making use of spatial heterogeneity to cope with temporal heterogeneity, determining their ability to buffer climatic variation via the diversity in the production system.

Pastoral decision making is influenced by the type of information they take into account and the way they process this information to create knowledge. Assessing pastoralists' attitudes and knowledge will, therefore, help identifying their production and coping strategies. Increasing the adaptive capacity of land-users to the new challenges requires approaches to enhance their learning processes, hence to increase their analytical, technical, managerial and organizational skills.

It is a challenge to integrate the different scientific methodologies into an approach to address the aforementioned problems both at the ecosystem and the human capital level and different solutions are likely to be found appropriate for the different continents. Addressing the complexity of grassland functions requires multi- and trans-disciplinary
approaches. Modern education focusing on systems approaches is one of the possibilities to foster a change in paradigms related to land use system management.

GrassNet brings together regional research organizations and Universities to collaborate in PhD- and post doctoral research activities and guide and supervise the studies of Master students graduating from study programs addressing, among others, grassland related problems. The creation of international cross-linked knowledge capacity manifested in the education and research network GrassNet will be a sustainable contribution to provide not only coping strategies but strategies to exploit systems variability for food security, land-use and improved water resources management as well as nature conservation in one of the most affected ecosystems by climate change.