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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Modeling the impact of agricultural management practices on global soil degradation

Tobias is a PhD student at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research and part of the MACMIT junior research group. His research focuses on management options in agricultural food production using a global biophysical model approach.

Degraded soil. Copyright: 2014 Erik van den Elsen (Alterra)

Photo: Degraded soil. Copyright: 2014 Erik van den Elsen (Alterra)

The provision of food is an important challenge of the 21st century to feed the world with an expected population of 8 to 10 billion people by 2050. Additionally, challenges occur due to changes in dietary patterns and due to the need for a sustainable production of food and material to address environmental concerns (e.g. deforestation and pollution). Mismanagement in agricultural systems have a degrading impact on land and water and thus comprise food production, while the environmental footprint of agriculture has to decrease immensely. Environmental impact assessment of agricultural management practices have been largely disregarded in past studies, yet management has an important influence on environmental properties.
The overall objective of this research is to estimate the impact of agricultural management practices on soil degradation on a global scale in order to derive mitigation strategies for a sustainable agriculture using the global biophysical Lund-Potsdam-Jena managed Land model (LPJmL).

Tobias Herzfeld studied Geography (B.Sc.) and Physical Geography of Human-Environment Systems (M.Sc.) at Humboldt-University and graduated in 2014. He also did an ERASMUS exchange for 7 months 2012, taking courses in Polar and Alpine Environments and Global Environmental Change at Stockholms Universitet, Sweden. Throughout his Master studies he has been working as a student collaborator at Humboldt-University’s Climatology Department.


Tobis Herzfeld


Tobias Herzfeld, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 (0)331-288-2585
Email: Tobias.Herzfeld(at)pik-potsdam.de