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Purpose and Goals of TERRECO

Complex terrain refers to irregular surface properties of the earth that influence gradients in climate, transfer of materials, soils properties, selection of organisms, and via human preferences, the patterning of land use. Complex terrain of mountainous areas represents ca. 20% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface; and such regions provide fresh water to at least half of humankind. Most major river systems originate here, and their resources are often associated with socio-economic competition and political disputes.


Mountainous regions play an important role in the natural resource support of economies in Germany and Korea. There is a need to quantitatively understand the ecosystem services derived in regions of complex terrain, the process regulation occurring to maintain those services, and the sensitivities of ecosystem services to changes in climate and land use.


The goals of the TERRECO-IRTG, thus, focus on building a bridge between spatial patterns of ecosystem performance in complex terrain and derived ecosystem services critical for human well being. A coordinated assessment framework will be developed for landscape to regional scale applications to quantify trade-offs, and determine how shifts in climate, land use and social response to global change pressures influence ecosystem services.


Within TERRECO, the abiotic and biotic studies of hydrology and water yield, agricultural and forest production, production-related biodiversity, soil processes and water quality in complex terrain are merged. In addition, the socioeconomic background of current land use is analysed within the framework of changing social-ecological systems.


On this basis, a number of scenarios shall be identified that describe potential future change. The trade-offs related to more intensive land use with respect to agriculture versus quantity and quality of water obtained from these regions are evaluated and new tools for understanding and managing such areas will be provided.

last modified 2008-11-14