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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Prof. Dr. Helmut Haberl



  • Long-term socio-ecological research
  • Integrated land-change science
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation related to land use


My engagement for IRI THESys and the KOSMOS Summer University is motivated by my strong research interest in land-use competition as a key process underlying a plethora of sustainability problems related to global land-system change. Examples include food security, mitigation of climate change and the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services.” Helmut Haberl

Helmut Haberl is director of the Institute of Social Ecology Vienna, Alpen-Adria Universität, Austria. MSc biology and mathematics, University of Vienna (1991), doctorate in ecology, University of Vienna (1995), habilitation in human ecology, University of Vienna (2001). He served as head of the department of energy and the environment of the Austrian Institute of Applied Ecology, Vienna (1991-1995). He joined the Institute of Social Ecology in 1992 as researcher, later serving as associate professor and deputy head of the institute. His research is focused on the determinants and implications of the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP), e.g. in terms of biodiversity or bioenergy potentials. Other research interests include long-term changes in society-nature interaction, e.g. in terms of changes in the energetic metabolism of society or in land-use intensity, and their relations to sustainable development. He is IPCC lead author for chapter 11 of the 5th assessment report (Working Group III ‘Mitigation’), lead author for two chapters in the Global Energy Assessment as well as Coordinating Lead Author for a chapter on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change related to agriculture, forestry, water and biodiversity. He is a former member of the GLP Scientific Steering Committee and of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency.

Currently, Helmut Haberl is KOSMOS Fellow 2014. He has been invited to spend parts of the summer semester (March – June 2014) at Humboldt-Universität to contribute interdisciplinary perspectives in preparing the next KOSMOS Summer University, hosted by IRI THESys.

Selected publications

Haberl, H., 2013. Net land-atmosphere flows of biogenic carbon related to bioenergy: towards an understanding of systemic feedbacks. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 5, 351-357

Haberl, H., K.-H. Erb, F. Krausmann, A. Bondeau, C. Lauk, C. Müller, C. Plutzar, J.K. Steinberger, 2011. Global bioenergy potentials from agricultural land in 2050: Sensitivity to climate change, diets and yields. Biomass and Bioenergy, 35, 4753-4769.

Haberl, H., K.-H. Erb, F. Krausmann, V. Gaube, A. Bondeau, C. Plutzar, S. Gingrich, W. Lucht, M. Fischer-Kowalski, 2007. Quantifying and mapping the human appropriation of net primary production in earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104, 12942-12947.

Haberl, H., V. Winiwarter, K. Andersson, R. Ayres, C. Boone, A. Castillo, G. Cunfer, M. Fischer-Kowalski, W.R. Freudenburg, E. Furman, R. Kaufmann, F. Krausmann, E. Langthaler, H. Lotze-Campen, M. Mirtl, A. Reenberg, C.L. Redman, A. Wardell, B. Warr, H. Zechmeister, 2006. From LTER to LTSER: Conceptualizing the socio-economic dimension of long-term socio-ecological research. Ecology and Society, 11(2), 13 [online], http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss2/art13/

Haberl, H., C., Plutzar, K.-H., Erb, V. Gaube, M. Pollheimer, N.B. Schulz, 2005. Human appropriation of net primary production as determinant of avifauna diversity in Austria. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 110, 119-131.

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