Cross Continental Network for sustainable adaptation of grassland systems vulnerable to climate change


Project Description DAAD

The “Grassnet” project combines common research activities about vulnerable grassland ecosystems of partners from South America, East Africa, North China, and the German Institute of tropical and subtropical agriculture (DITSL) at the University of Kassel in Witzenhausen on a cross continental scale. Natural grasslands are considered as the world’s largest multifunctional agro-ecosystems. Since million of people are depending on structure, land-use and ecosystem services, natural grasslands are in particular threatened by climate change. Sustainable land-use and protection of the grassland resources for future generations in the context of adaptation to climate change pose a challenge for research and education.

GrassNet applies different DAAD funding instruments linking young people in education with pressing research questions in a regional context. Extrapolating regional approaches to a global level enables the assessment of local expertise for global, system wide application and implementation. To support a change of paradigms in system analysis for research and education, GrassNet will educate in total 12 Master and three PhD students in a cross continental network of three research centres.

Intensive regional research activities will be stimulated by the network through regular exchange of knowledge and research approaches on post-doc level. Post docs from the international partners will be invited to German Universities for research and supervision of the GrassNet MSc students.  The results of this cooperation will be included in the regular organized Summer Schools enabling cross system and cross continental analysis of the impact of climate change on natural grasslands and their use.