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Institute of

AK Climate-Smart Agriculture

Current Projects

Agricultural Soil Inventory (BZE-LW)

The organic matter content in soil is a key prerequisit for high productive soils. The amount and quality of soil organic carbon in soil is driven by climate, site and land-use.

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Agricultural Soil Inventory (BZE-LW)

Biomass from fen paludiculture

How can we optimize greenhouse gas mitigation, nutrient retention and biomass yield in fen paludicultures?

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Biomass from fen paludiculture

CarboCheck

Agricultural soils have a huge potential to contribute to climate protection by acting as CO2-sinks. We are developing a software-tool, which allows specific agricultural soil management to accumulate soil organic matter.

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CarboCheck

CarboHedge - Hedgerows and field copses in the emission inventories – Potential for carbon sequestration

Hedgerows for climate mitigation? - In the CarboHedge project we investigate how much organic carbon is stored in the soil and biomass of hedgerows and how hedgerows can contribute to climate mitigation by sequestering carbon in soil organic matter.

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CarboHedge - Hedgerows and field copses in the emission inventories – Potential for carbon sequestration

Climate change mitigation through catch crops

Central climate protection measures in agriculture are the improvement of nitrogen efficiency in agriculture and the reduction of climate and environmentally harmful nitrogen emissions. The cultivation of catch crops can make important contributions here.

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Climate change mitigation through catch crops

Control of fungal denitrification in soils

So far, the contribution of fungal denitrification to nitrous oxide production in soil has not been fully clarified. The aim of the project is to improving method and thus receiving a substantiated estimation.

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Control of fungal denitrification in soils

DASIM - Denitrification control in agricultural soils II

To better predict gaseous nitrogen emissions from agricultural soils via microbial processes, robust data on N2 emissions and oxygen depletion in soil are needed. Our task is to conduct field and laboratory studies in order to address this knowledge gap.

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DASIM - Denitrification control in agricultural soils II

Effects of data requirements and uncertainty on prediction accuracy for model based evaluation and mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from raw material cropping systems (THG-EMOBA)

Biogeochemical models are promising tools to assess management options to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from raw material production in agriculture. We analyse the effects of model complexity and data quality on the accuracy of model results.

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Effects of data requirements and uncertainty on prediction accuracy for model based evaluation and mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from raw material cropping systems (THG-EMOBA)

EMSAfrica

EMSAfrica is an interdisciplinary research project focusing on the dual impacts of land use and climate change. We develop scientific information to support decision-making in Southern Africa concerning climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the sustainable management of ecosystems.

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EMSAfrica

Eternal C

The turnover of organic matter is decreased in subsoils compared to topsoils. The underlying processes and controlling factors are unclear and require long-term experiments such as the one conducted in the Eternal-C project.

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Eternal C

GülleBest - Innovative slurry and digestate application techniques

How can slurry and digestate be used in such a way that greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions are kept to a minimum? The researchers in the "GülleBest" joint project are investigating this question.

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GülleBest - Innovative slurry and digestate application techniques

ICOS-D

Greenhouse gases have no respect for frontiers. To monitor the atmosphere European researchers are setting up an "Integrated Carbon Observation System". It will consist of europe-wide, continuous measurements of greenhouse gases.

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ICOS-D

Impact assessment of vascular plant encroachment on water and carbon cycling in a Sphagnum dominated bog

In recent decades, changes in the species composition of Sphagnum-dominated raised bogs towards multi-layered tree and grass communities have been observed. How do the changes impact throughfall, evapotranspiration (ET), gross primary production (GPP), respiration (R), net carbon balance (NEE) and soil C-sink function?

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Impact assessment of vascular plant encroachment on water and carbon cycling in a Sphagnum dominated bog

Measuring and Modelling Greenhouse- Gas Emissions and nitrate leaching of raw material crop rotations (MASTER)

Within the project MASTER we examine strategies to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and carbon dioxide emissions from raw material crop rotations. We analyse long term field experiments and use biogeochemical process models to estimate mitigation efficiencies.

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Measuring and Modelling Greenhouse- Gas Emissions and nitrate leaching of raw material crop rotations (MASTER)

Modeling N2O and N2 fluxes from organic fertilization

Prediction of N2O and N2 fluxes from liquid organic fertilization will be improved by further development of models taking into account spatial dynamics of relevant processes.

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Modeling N2O and N2 fluxes from organic fertilization

Optimization of Sphagnum paludicultures

How can we successfully establish and optimize Sphagnum paludicultures even under challenging conditions?

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Optimization of Sphagnum paludicultures

Peatland monitoring program for climate protection

Peatlands store large amounts of soil organic carbon and are thus important for climate protection. A consistent monitoring program across Germany will be the basis for investigating changes in carbon stocks, important drivers and mitigation measures.

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Peatland monitoring program for climate protection

Quantification and reduction of ammonia emissions after mineral fertilizer application (NH3-min)

Emissions of ammonia from agriculture are harmful to the environment and climate, and must be reduced. Within the research project NH3-Min we quantify ammonia losses from application of synthetic N fertilizers and we evaluate measures to reduce these emissions.

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Quantification and reduction of ammonia emissions after mineral fertilizer application (NH3-min)

SOC-Sand - Stability of organic matter in sand mixing cultures

How does deep ploughing of peatlands influence carbon stocks and carbon cycling?

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SOC-Sand - Stability of organic matter in sand mixing cultures

Soil data regionalisation

With the German Agricultural Soil Inventory a unique, national consistent dataset has been generated that allows to derived new and better spatial soil information. Such spatial soil data, e.g. on soil texture or soil carbon are fundamental drivers for soil process models at regional to national scale.

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Soil data regionalisation

Soil hydraulic properties and release of CO2 from peat soils

The main objective of the project is the investigation of hydrological processes and their interaction to biogeochemical processes in organic soils.

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Soil hydraulic properties and release of CO2 from peat soils

SOIL3

Hidden under the organic matter rich surface soil the subsoil is widely ignored as ressource for nutrients and water for plant production. The SOIL3 project aims at investigating the ressources of subsoils on a national scale. Options for an enhanced sustainable use and management of subsoil ressources will be evaluated.

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SOIL3

Submerged drains in the model project "Gnarrenburger Moor"

How do raised groundwater levels by submerged drains influence greenhouse gas emissions and water quality in intensively managed grassland on bog peat?

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Submerged drains in the model project "Gnarrenburger Moor"

Temporal trends of carbon stocks in agricultural soils

Soils under consistent land use for a long time (e.g. long-term cropland, permanent grassland) are under steady state - or maybe not?

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Temporal trends of carbon stocks in agricultural soils

Thünen Institutes Africa Concept

Thünen Institute has set itself the goal of strengthening and expanding science-based partnerships with Africa in a coherent and long-term manner. As in Germany, Thünen Institute also focuses in Africa on approaches for the sustainable use of natural resources that are economically, ecologically and socially sound.

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Thünen Institutes Africa Concept

Completed Projects

Application of the EO-LDAS Prototype

The application of the EO-LDAS-prototype, a data assimilation scheme of Sentinel-2 satellite data, aims at improving the monitoring of the vegetated land surface with satellite observations. EO-LDAS is an acronym for Earth Observation - Land Data Assimilation System.

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Application of the EO-LDAS Prototype

Application-oriented carbon budget modeling of organic soils

Organic soils store a major share of the world's organic soil carbon and have been extensively drained for agricultural cultivation, turning them into a strong source of greenhouse gases (GHG). How can GHG emissions from German organic soils be estimated and used for emission reporting and evaluation of mitigation measures?

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Application-oriented carbon budget modeling of organic soils

ARS AfricaE

The ARS AfricaE project investigates the coupled carbon and water cycles of natural and disturbed savanna ecosystems by setting up a network of research clusters.

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ARS AfricaE

BEST - Strengthening bioenergy regions

The production of bioenergy stands between the poles of different interests because agriculural area is limited and there are many competing land uses. In addition, there is a contoversial discussion on the contribution of bioenergy to greenhouse gas mitigation.

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BEST - Strengthening bioenergy regions

BESTLAND - GHG reduction and soil biodiversity in poorly drained soils under perennial crops

Cultivation of perennial crops can prevent soil compaction from frequent wheeling of agricultural machinery, in particular on poorly drained soils. In addition to soil protection, this creates potentials for improving the greenhouse gas balance and soil biodiversity of bioenergy production.

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BESTLAND - GHG reduction and soil biodiversity in poorly drained soils under perennial crops

Biochar in agriculture

Application of biochar in agricultural soils and assessment of their potential to reduce leaching of nutrients and pesticides as well as greenhouse gas emissions from soils is investigated in a broad-based project at the Thünen-Institute of Climate-smart Agriculture since 2010.

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Biochar in agriculture

CAOS - Climate Smart Agriculture on Organic Soils

Organic soils store a major share of the world's soil organic carbon and have widely been drained for agricultural cultivation, turning them into a strong source of greenhouse gases (GHG). How can Europe's drained organic soils be managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance adapted agricultural use at the same time?

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CAOS - Climate Smart Agriculture on Organic Soils

Climate-smart adaptation strategies for agriculture II - gas emission work package

How can we improve cropping systems, tillage and fertilization in order to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions? We tackle these questions in two field studies in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

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Climate-smart adaptation strategies for agriculture II - gas emission work package

DASIM - Denitrification control in agricultural soils

To better predict gaseous nitrogen emissions from agricultural soils via microbial processes robust data on N2 emissions and oxygen depletion in soil are needed. Our task is to conduct laboratory studies in order supply these missing data.

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DASIM - Denitrification control in agricultural soils

Development, examination and evaluation of measures for mitigation of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions from agriculture

Ambitious goals for reduction of emissions have been stipulated on the international, European, and national level to limit climate change and air pollution. They require implementation of efficient mitigation measures. In particular for the emission of nitrous oxide and ammonia from soils it is challenging to develop suitable methods.

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Effect of summer drought and fertilizer application techniques on emission of greenhouse gases from arable soils

What is the impact of increasing summer drought on greenhouse gas emissions from arable soils? Can N2O fluxes from arable soils be lowered by fertilizer injection? We tackle these questions in two field studies in Lower Saxony.

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Effect of summer drought and fertilizer application techniques on emission of greenhouse gases from arable soils

FORESTFLUX

Agriculture in Germany generates more than 90 % of national ammonia emissions. Data for determining emissions, transport and deposition are scarce and highly uncertain.

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FORESTFLUX

GHG-Europe

Almost the entire European land cover is used to produce crops, meat and wood. In view of the changing climate it is especially important to know how much of the greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere or fixed in biomass and soil by forest and agriculture. One of the largest European research efforts for elucidating these mechanisms is the FP7 project “GHG-Europe” coordinated by the Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart agriculture. The collaborative project involves 41 institutes from all over Europe.

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GHG-Europe

Grassland conversion to arable land and greenhouse gas emissions

Conversion of grassland to arable land induces enhanced emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. What is the magnitude of these enhanced emissions and can they be counteracted by avoiding soil tillage during conversion? These questions are tackled in two field studies in North-Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein.

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Grassland conversion to arable land and greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas effects of nature conservation measures

Nature conservation measures are obligatory to compensate for construction and urbanisation effects on environement and biodiversity. The effect of these measures on the ecosystems greenhouse gas balance has not been invenstigated.

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Greenhouse gas emissions following grassland renovation

What is the impact of grassland renewal by reseeding on N2O emissions and nitrate leaching? Are procedures to renew grassland without killing off the sward suitable to lower emissions? We tackle these questions in two field studies in Lower Saxony.

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Greenhouse gas emissions following grassland renovation

How much greenhouse gases do grass-clover crop sequences emit?

Organic farming integrates clover and grass mixtures into crop sequences to increase soil fertility. The symbiotic N fixation provides N fertilisation to subsequent crops.

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How much greenhouse gases do grass-clover crop sequences emit?

Improved quantification of nitrogen flows using new methods

Knowledge on the fate of the massive loading with reactive N from agriculture in the Yangtze River Delta Region in China is poor but needed to develop strategies for effective solutions. In this project we target this gap by developing and applying improved methods to study emissions of dinitrogen and other N gases.

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Improved quantification of nitrogen flows using new methods

Joint research project "Organic soils"

Accounting for 2-5% of the German greenhouse gas emissions, drained peatlands are the largest single source besides the energy sector. Thus, the compilation of the national greenhouse gas inventory according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change requires the application of country-specific emission factors depending on climate region, soil type and land use as well as a complete set of activity data.

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Joint research project "Organic soils"

Land use change on thawing permafrost soils

What happens when permafrost soils under boreal forest are changed into arable land or grassland? Will cultivation accelerate thawing and thereby microbial activity? How will agricultural practices, such as ploughing, fertilization, crop rotation change microbial communities and their sensitivity to global warming? These questions shall be answered in this project.

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Land use change on thawing permafrost soils

Landfills of mechanical-biologically treated waste - a source of greenhouse gases

Landfills of mechanical-biologically treated waste (MBT) are a source of greenhouse gas emissions. There can be a conflict of goals regarding mitigation activities: reduced methane emissions are offset by increased nitrous oxide emissions.

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Landfills of mechanical-biologically treated waste - a source of greenhouse gases

Laughing gas from fungi?

A variety of soil fungi has been proven to produce N2O via denitrification. However, the importance of soil fungi for denitrification and N2O emission from soils is not clear.

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Laughing gas from fungi?

LULUCF implementation guidelines and policy options

Land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) is still outside reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Decision No 529/2013/EU aims to harmonise and improve monitoring and reporting of the LULUCF sector in the EU.

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Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from rapeseed cultivation

The European Union and Germany aim for significant fractions of fuel supply to be produced from biomass. Rapeseed oil is currently the most important renewable resource for biodiesel.

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Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from rapeseed cultivation

Modelling of greenhouse gas emissions from land use in Germany

Germany claimed to reduce its green house gas emission by 40% until 2020. Agriculture has to contribute to this ambiguous goal. Mitigation strategies for greenhouse gases from agriculture have to be developed and evaluated on the national and regional level.

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Modelling of greenhouse gas emissions from land use in Germany

Monitoring groundwater levels in peatlands with radar data

Greenhouse gas emissions from organic soils are strongly influenced by the groundwater level. Deriving groundwater levels from remote sensing data could strongly improve the spatial and temporal resolution of greenhouse gas emission estimates.

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Monitoring groundwater levels in peatlands with radar data

N2O isotope fractionation method

Denitrification often causes high losses of reactive nitrogen from agricultural soils, but is hardly predictable and up to now difficult to measure in the field. Is it possible to use stable isotopic signatures of N2O from soil to estimate N2 fluxes from denitrification? We tackle this question using controlled process studies in the laboratory and in the field

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N2O isotope fractionation method

Nitrogen management of rapeseed cultivation

The nitrogen management of rapeseed cultivation is crucial for the ecological footprint of biodiesel. Methods of precision farming provide an approach to improving it.

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Nitrogen management of rapeseed cultivation

NITROSPHERE

The project NITROSPHERE investigates the relationship between atmospheric nitrogen deposition and greenhouse gas exchange of different ecosystems using novel measurement techniques (TRANC).

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NITROSPHERE

Pathways of N2O production and associated isotope effects in arable and grassland soils with special emphasis on the distinction between fungal and bacterial denitrification

The aim of this research is a better understanding of the pathways of N2O emissions from soil. Isotope analysis and inhibition experiments are used to discriminate between N2O produced during denitrification from bacteria or fungi.

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Peatland Protection in Germany

The project aims at the development of guidelines to evaluate and optimise the ecosystem services of peatland protection projects.

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Peatland Protection in Germany

Quality management system for emission inventories

Emission inventories adhere to mandatory international rules for quality control and quality assurance. The project developed the quality management system for the sectors agriculture, forestry and land use in the German emission inventory.

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Quality management system for emission inventories

Quantification of denitrification using stable isotopes

The nitrogen losses due to microbial denitrification, namely the conversion of nitrate and nitrite to molecular nitrogen (N2), are important component of soil N cycling. But these cannot be directly quantified in the field studies. Can the isotopic analyses of the intermediate denitrification product, N2O, be helpful to estimate soil N2-fluxes?

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Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Effectiveness through the GRA Croplands Greenhouse Gas Network (MAGGnet)

Agricultural soils are relevant sources of greenhouse gases. The international research network MAGGnet aims at improving models to predict greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soils and to assess mitigation measures.

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Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Effectiveness through the GRA Croplands Greenhouse Gas Network (MAGGnet)

Risk assessment for soil organic carbon stocks

Within the scope of the FACCE JPI MACSUR we examine the effects of land use and climate change on the humus contents of agricultural soils in Europe and integrate advanced approaches into crop models.

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Risk assessment for soil organic carbon stocks

SEACRIFOG

The project SEACRIFOG designs an adaptive concept for a pan-African observational system on radiative forcing, building at the same time a network of African and European research infrastructures.

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SEACRIFOG

Soil carbon burial

Soils contain the largest terrestiral pool of carbon and are thus of main importance for greenhouse gas emissions. In the project "Soil carbon burial" we analyze the potential of deep incorporation of soil organic matter for climate change mitigation.

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Soil carbon burial

Soil carbon modeling

The German Agricultural Soil Inventory provides data on the current status of soil organic carbon stocks. With process oriented modelling the dynamic development of soil carbon stocks under agricultural land-use shall be estimated is order to determine which soils sequester or loose soil organic carbon.

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Soil carbon modeling

Sphagnum Farming: Effects on biodiversity and climate protection

What are the effects of Sphagnum farming on biodiversity and climate protection?

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Sphagnum Farming: Effects on biodiversity and climate protection

SUBSOM

Soils contain the largest carbon (C) pool of the global terrestrial C cycle. More than 50% of the C stocks are stored in deeper soil horizons. The processes of C stabilization in soils and how they are affected by anthropogenic activities are current research topics.

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SUBSOM

Validation of denitrification models

Denitrification is of great importance for reducing agricultural nitrogen in aquatic systems. For the first time, we apply direct quantification of denitrification in groundwater to validate regional denitrification models.

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Validation of denitrification models

Water management for the reduction of GHG emissions from grasslands on peat soils (SWAMPS)

Is it possible to reduce the high greenhouse gas emissions of intensively used grasslands on peat soils by adapted active water management?

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Water management for the reduction of GHG emissions from grasslands on peat soils (SWAMPS)

Water quality in bog peatlands in Lower Saxony (Germany)

Agriculture, peat extraction and rewetting all impact the biogeochemical cycling in peatlands. In this project we studied factors controlling the concentrations of nitrogen and dissolved organic carbon.

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Water quality in bog peatlands in Lower Saxony (Germany)

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