Project E1
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GIS-based Atlas of Holocene Land Use Potential for Selected Research Areas


Project Leader:

Prof. Dr. Olaf Bubenzer
Department of Geography
University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 348
D-69120 Heidelberg

 +49 (0)6221-54-4595
 +49 (0)6221-54-4997


Dr. Andreas Bolten
Dr. Frank Darius


Mathias Ritter
Guido Waldhoff
Michael Weischede
Sabine Lutz
Dirk Hecker
Philipp Greif


of Cultural and Environmental Change in Arid Africa


Digital Atlas of Namibia
- Interaktiv Version (Beta-Test)




19-06-2008 Atlas of Cultural and Environmental Change in Arid Africa (update) - Flash Demo
16-04-2007 Atlas of Cultural and Environmental Change in Arid Africa
13-12-2004 Use of high resolution satellite data in SFB 389 - Introdution in QuickBird-data (PDF)
26-06-2004 Digital Atlas of Namibia - Interaktiv Version (Beta-Test)
Digital Atlas of Namibia
14-08-2003 Poster Poznan Symposium 14-17 July, 2003 (PDF-File)
Online-Artikel in ArcNews (Vol.25/No.2):
In Egypt, Sudan, and Namibia, GIS Helps Compare Human Strategies of Coping With Arid Habitats
12-03-2003 Multidisciplinary project cooperation (UPDATES: 16-03-2003 / 07-05-2003)
02-12-2002 Statusoverview Project E1 - Colloquium Africanum 26-11-2002 (MS-PowerPoint-Presentation)
04-11-2002 Climate Maps (Examples) North-/Southafrica


The aim of the Project is a systematic compilation, analysis, comparison, and presentation of climate and vegetation data, in order to reconstruct the holocene human land use potential in the arid southwestern and northeastern Africa. The steps described are similar to the functions of modern geographical information systems which are able to import, manage, analyse, and represent spatial data. The main focus is to characterize and establish the reasons for the desiccation, desertification, and/or the degradation of the holocene environment.


The project can be divided into three conceptual and operational phases (s. Figure):


Picture 1
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I. The development of a present-day area-wide small-scale overview of the natural environment using internationally available data. On one hand, the maps will serve as a foundation for an extensive comparison of the different African regions and on the other hand as base maps for the presentation of the results of all sub-projects.


Picture 2
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II. The investigation of the holocene land use potential with regard to typical landscape units and timeslices. The special maps will be drawn up in collaboration with the participating projects. For this phase it is necessary to classify the research areas according to structural and ecological features. The main idea is to explore the current and former vegetation cover as plants are the primary producer in the food chain. Botanical data still exists for southwestern Africa (projects B6, B7) but in northeastern Africa it will be necessary to carry out specific new surveys of selected areas to allow an interpretation of the anthracological data. The reconstruction of the archaeological, geomorphological, pedological, and sedimentological conditions will be carried out together with the projects A1, A2, A6, B4, B5 and B7. The problem area "degradation and pastoralist management" will be dealt with the project C1. A model of the environmental changes of the Nile-valley from about 2.600 to 1.800 B.C. will be reconstructed in conjunction with project A5.
The fundamental question arises as to whether the investigated data are representative for the selected areas. This problem will be resolved by relating the surveyed data to the environmental conditions of the surrounding regions (phase I).


Picture 3
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III. Together with the other E-projects, the regional and transcontinental comparison of the results will be used to develop hypothesis and models of the desiccation in Africa and the complex interrelation between man and changing environmental conditions.


Relevant Internetpages:

[Main] [Project E1] [Project E2] [Project E3]
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