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Current projects

Transport of microplastics in soil and on soil surfaces (CRC 1357 Microplastics)

The contamination of ecosystems by microplastics (MP) has become a prominent topic in the media recently. Until now, the focus of both research and reporting has been primarily on the world's oceans. However, we now know that soils are also strongly affected.

As part of our research, we investigate the deposition, transport, and erosion of microplastics in sediments and soils surfaces. Our goal is to gain a fundamental mechanistic understanding of the behaviour and transport of MP particles in soils as a function of the physical and chemical properties of the particles. Furthermore, we investigate the influence of microplastics on hydraulic soil properties. Our subproject B06 is jointly led by Prof. Bogner, Prof. Stephan Gekle (Biofluid Simulation and Modelling, University of Bayreuth) and Dr. Löder (Animal Ecology I, University of Bayreuth).

Furthermore, we are investigating microplastic pollution at the interfaces between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, e.g. in the floodplains along the Rhine and the Elbe. This is because MP particles can accumulate, especially in riverine floodplains, where they can be vertically transported in the soils.

Road-related trade-offs between conservation and development (SFB/TR 228 Future Rural Africa)

Permanent infrastructure such as the road network is often promoted as the core strategy for rural development. However, the generality of this strategy is increasingly contested by various scholars. Indeed, studies sometimes find only very limited positive or even undesirable effects of road construction. These include, for example, changes in land use, loss of biodiversity, and reduced ecosystem services. Since roads are typically planned in top-down processes, visions and wishes of the local population are frequently ignored.

In this research project, we examine how road network development affects land use, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and livelihoods of people in rural Kenya and Namibia. In doing so, we look at political and economic drivers behind investments in road construction. Our interdisciplinary team in subproject A05 is led by Prof. Biber-Freudenberger (Junior Research Group LANUSYNCON, ZEF, Uni Bonn), Prof. Bogner, Prof. Bareth (GIS and Remote Sensing) and Prof. Börner (Economics of Sustainable Land Use and Bioeconomy, Uni Bonn).

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