Project groups


The aim of this project is to analyse possible changes in savannah ecosystems in West Africa in relation to predicted land use and climate changes. Available plant diversity data from savannahs (projects BIOTA, SUN) will be completed by current plant inventories along climatic gradients. Different future climate and land-use scenarios will be used in niche-based modelling approaches to assess the possible shifts of species ranges and species composition of savannah ecosystems. By linking these results to parameters of ecosystem services (e.g. socio-economic data on the use value of species, biomass) the consequences of changes in savannah ecosystems caused by land use and climate change will be quantified. Results will be combined with those of sub-project F5.3 “Socio-economic consequences of changes in ecosystems and species ranges in Africa” and transferred into tools targeted at decision-makers and stakeholders in the African countries. The findings will be disseminated internationally.

This project is additionally funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research and by the European Science Foundation.


Bundschuh, T., Wittig, R. & K. Hahn (2010) : Effects of human impact on miombo woodland in northern Malawi.- Flora Veg. Sudano-Sambesica 13: 22-34.

Heubes, J., Heubach, K., Schmidt, M., Wittig, R., Zizka, G., Nuppenau, E.A. & K. Hahn (2012) : Impact of future climate and land use change on non-timber forest products provision in Benin, West Africa: linking niche-based modelling with ecosystem service values. - Economic Botany 66: 383-397.

Heubes, J., Kühn, I., König, K., Wittig, R., Zizka, G. & K. Hahn (2011) : Modelling biome shifts and tree cover change for 2050 in West Africa. - Journal of Biogeography, 38, 2248–2258. 

Heubes, J., Retzer, V., Schmidtlein, S. & C. Beierkuhnlein : Historical Land Use Explains Current Distribution of Calcareous Grassland Species. - Folia Geobotanica 46: 1–16.

Schmidt, M., König, K., Hahn, K., Zizka, G. & R. Wittig (2010) :

Restoration of bare incrusted soils in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.- Flora Veg. Sudano-Sambesica 13: 3-9.

Schumann, K., Wittig, R., Thiombiano, A., Becker, U. & K. Hahn (2010) : Impact of land-use type and bark- and leaf-harvesting on population structure and fruit production of the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) in a semi-arid savanna, West Africa. - Forest, Ecology and Management 260, 2035-2044.