Current Research Projects


Effects of Climate Change on Aquatic Ecosystems and Water Supply in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve: Participatory Risk Assessment and Development of Adaptation Measures

Funding:       Hessian Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology
Duration:   2019 - 2022
Supervision:   Prof. Dr. Birgit Blättel-Mink, Prof. Dr. Petra Döll (Faculty of Geosciences/ Geography)
Researchers:   Max Czymai

Facing difficulties in quantifying climate change and an increasing pressure in using water resources, how can these resources be managed sustainably for society and the ecosystem by different actors?

The aim of the project is (1) to develop suitable management strategies in a participatory manner in order to be able to use the water resources in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, especially its Hessian part, in a sustainable way for society and the ecosystem in view of climate change. To this end, (2) methods for interdisciplinary (social and natural sciences) and transdisciplinary (with scientists and practice partners) knowledge integration must be developed. Practice partners (i.e. institutional stakeholders) are selected, relevant Hessian actors in the problem area, such as the administrative office of the Hessian Biosphere Reserve Rhön, (water) authorities, civil society organisations, companies and other stakeholders.

The perception of the problem and the willingness of citizens to adapt is empirically surveyed by the project partners and brought into the participatory process in a way that not directly involves citizens in the process. The exact focus within the problem area (e.g. drinking water supply, preservation of the raised bog, water transfer to Fulda) will be developed by the project partners in a participatory manner with the stakeholders during the participatory process. This exact focus will depend, for example, on the composition of the stakeholders, their problem perspectives, and their specific areas of interest.