for sustainable development


Sustainable management of savannah ecosystems: Brochure on results obtained by the OPTIMASS project

Savannahs and their vegetation offer an important livelihood for humans and animals. But the savannah ecosystem is under pressure. Soil conditions have deteriorated in Namibia and traditional grazing is something that has become difficult for many farmers. That is why the research project OPTIMASS investigated the prerequisites for a sustainable management of savannah ecosystems. The three-year project ended in January 2018. The results of the German-Namibian research project have now been published in an English-language brochure.

Cover OPTIMASS brochure

Namibia is particularly hard hit by the consequences of climate change, with increasingly extreme events such as droughts. Shrub encroachment is also becoming more and more of a problem: the denser growth of shrubs reduces the grasslands of the savannas, which are needed for grazing. All of this places a considerable burden on ecosystems. New strategies for sustainable savannah management, as developed in the OPTIMASS project, require a fundamental understanding of the relationship between ecosystem services and the interactions between the geo-, bio- and atmosphere.

To this end, the research team worked closely with local, regional and national actors and decision-makers. In addition to the analysis and modelling of savannah ecosystems and the development of various management options, the focus was also on the training of young scientists and specialist personnel to implement management strategies on site. ISOE’s research focus was on water resources and the integration of farmers’ local knowledge of management practice.

Insights into the research routine

The brochure summarizes the most important findings of the project and shows how the pastureland of the savannah can be managed with the greatest possible foresight thus providing sustainability. Details from individual studies that were carried out by the participating research partners are also included. The authors of the brochure focus on the field of education and training for young researchers, which characterizes the project.

“OPTIMASS – Options for a sustainable management of feedback from the geosphere and biosphere in savannah systems under regional and global change” under the leadership of the University of Potsdam was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the framework programme Research for Sustainable Development (FONA).

The brochure is available for free download (PDF).

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Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart

Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
Head of Knowledge Communication & Public Relations
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-30

Melanie Neugart
Knowledge Communication Consultant,
Media Contact
Tel. 069 707 6919-51

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