Querschnittsthemen
- Nischenevolution
- Multiple Stressoren
- Biotische Interaktionen

Fokusökosysteme:
- Savannen
- Schelfökosysteme
- Wälder gemäßigter Zonen

Focus ecosystem Savannas

Savannas are the most widespread ecosystems in Africa. They house globally significant reservoirs of biodiversity and provide essential ecosystem services for their inhabitants.  
  
Savanne_1
Fig. 1: Women selling shea butter, a product derived from the fruits of the local tree species Vitellaria paradoxa, on a local market in Chabi-Couma, Benin. Photo: Katja Heubach 
 
Elaeis 
Fig. 2: The fruits of the local palm species Elaies guineensis are used to produce a red oil which is highly valued as nutritious cooking oil by West Africans.
African Savannas are severely threatened by population growth, land-use change and climate change and the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 identified African savannas as one of 9 global biodiversity tipping points. Anticipating how savannas will respond to global changes is therefore a key challenge for developing sustainable mitigation and adaptation strategies for savannas.

In the first phase of BiK-F scientists studied past and potential trajectories of change in savannas using a combination of empirical and modelling work that spanned paleo-ecological and contemporary time scales. Highlights include studies of the rise of C4 ecosystems in the Miocene, genetic analyses of grass and ungulate evolution, projections of biome and species shifts, and the valuation of ecosystem services. In the workshop we will discuss instruments for further integrating existing research and developing new and innovative research themes (e.g. joint workshops, journal special issue, savanna data portal).
Selected projects: 

A1.17 | FOCUS GRASSES/FOCUS HERBIVORES (2008-2011)
A2.14 | SAVANNA DEVELOPMENT
B1.11 | DIE BEDEUTUNG DER SAMENAUSBREITUNG DURCH WEIDEVIEH IN WESTAFRIKANISCHEN SAVANNEN IM KONTEXT VON LANDNUTZUNGSWANDEL UND KLIMABEDINGTEN AREALVERÄNDERUNGEN
E1.5 | MODELLING OF THE TERRESTRIAL BIOSPHERE
F2.3 | IMPACT OF CLIMATE AND LAND USE CHANGE ON THE SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE PROVISIONING ECOSYSTEM SERVICE USEFUL WILD PLANTS IN AFRICAN SAVANNAS

Activities:
- internal Jour Fixe (two month interval) with short presentations and other scientific inputs
- Savanna Mailinglist: Updates & discussions (if you want to join, please contact Katja Heubach via Email – see below)

Outcome (status July 2012):
• Local project in Northern Benin (Krohmer): Establishment of a local protected areas network in Northern Benin; project partners:  UNDP Cotonou, REDERC (environmental NGO)
• Fact Finding Mission to Southern Sudan (B. Kunz, E-L. Neuschulz, M. Schmidt): Establishment of a partnership between the university of Juba and Goethe-University, Senckenberg Research Foundation/BiK-F, Hessisches Institut für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung regarding capacity building and future joint research projects.
For more information about the focus ecosystem savanna, please contact Katja Heubach (katja.heubach@senckenberg.de)