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Scenario development for sustainable land use in the Greater Caucasus, Georgia (AMIES II)

Main Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Dr. Annette Otte Duration: 2014-2016 Funding Institution: VolkswagenStiftung

This follow‐up project to the AMIES‐project (2010‐2013, Volkswagen Foundation) aims to continue its interdisciplinary research to support the rural development of the Kazbegi district in the Greater Caucasus. The joint collaboration of the ZEU at Justus Liebig University Giessen, both Tbilisi‐based State Universities (ISU, TSU), and the Agricultural University of Georgia (as a new partner) focuses on the human‐environment interface and comprises ecological and socio‐economic research to develop sustainable, agricultural land‐use options. The project is divided in four units, with German and Georgian researchers cooperating in each unit. The research topics are linked in various ways and require interdisciplinary cooperation within and between the project units:

  • Project unit A (Landscape Ecology; Applicant: Prof. Dr. Rainer Waldhardt; Co-Applicants: Prof. Dr. Dr. Annette Otte, Prof. Dr. Otar Abdaladze, Prof. Dr. George Nakhutsrishvili) coordinates the project. The disciplinary focus is on vegetation modelling at the landscape scale, which will be extended to spatially‐explicit measures of the productivity of grassland types. This requires a close collaboration with project units B ‐ D. Further, project unit A will prepare the interdisciplinary scenario development, which is intended for the third year of the project.

 

  • Project unit B (Soil Science; Applicant: Prof. Dr. Peter Felix-Henningsen; Co-Applicants: Prof. Dr. Tengiz Urushadze, Prof. Dr. Besik Kalandadze) concentrates on the assessment of Quaternary glacial and periglacial sediment deposits and their relevance for soil formation and soil vulnerability (B1). Project B2 analyses soil productivity and the relations between soil functions and biomass potentials by means of soil chemical and physical analyses. The results will be used for the interdisciplinary analysis and the formulation of land‐use recommendations. This requires a close collaboration with project units A and C at the plot level.

 

  • Project unit C (Vegetation Ecology, Agrobiodiversity; Applicant: Prof. Dr. Dr. Annette Otte; Co-Applicants: Prof. Dr. Maia Akhalkatsi, Prof. Dr. George Nakhutsrishvili, Prof. Dr. Rainer Waldhardt) is concerned with phytodiversity, i.e. the plant‐related part of biodiversity. C1 studies the relations between biomass and hyperspectral reflectance of the grassland swards. Further, the contribution of certain species groups to the overall biomass as well as forage quality will be determined. Project C2 investigates the potential of the rich Georgian mountain agrobiodiversity, i.e., the diversity of domestic and used wild plants. The investigations will, in cooperation with project unit D, concentrate on a screening of potentially suited vegetable varieties and on field experiments to test their suitability.

 

  • Project unit D (Socio‐Economics; Applicant: Prof. Dr. Ingrid-Ute Leonhäuser; Co-Applicants: Prof. Dr. Joachim Aurbacher, Prof. Dr. Joseph Salukvadze, Prof. Dr. David Bedoshvili) explores the potential of household food production taking into account the distinguished nutrition behaviour in the region (D1) and the economic viability of market‐oriented agricultural production (D2). The aim is to develop scenarios of sustainable production schemes that both serve local population and raise food marketing potentials in the tourism sector. These studies will provide important information on the requirements for a sustainable diversified rural development. All disciplinary findings will be integrated in normative scenarios, which aim to support decision‐making in the region.


The disciplinary and interdisciplinary results of the project units A ‐ D will be translated into normative scenarios for a sustainable development. The possible consequences and outcome of these scenarios will be depicted and illustrated as alternative futures by means of high resolution maps and socio‐economic data. The scenario development will be carried out in cooperation with an Advisory Board and Georgian NGO experts. This exchange will ensure a comprehensive consideration of the (local) social and political conditions in the scenario development. Likewise, the board members and involved NGO experts will act as multipliers of the results gained in AMIES II, which will thus be made available to political and societal decision‐makers.

 

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