SuWaRest: An interdisciplinary project on the sustainable use of water resource - bridging between biology, environmental physics, and the health of local societies.

      Due to climate change, over-utilization of land, and subsequent decreasing water resources in Central Asia, land-use adaptation, sustainable use of water, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems have to be put forward in the next decades. Focusing on settlements in Inner Mongolia and Gansu, North China, this project investigates water quality and microbial structure as well as vegetation structure of the reed (Phragmites australis) communities and develops potential land-use scenarios for wetland plants, e.g. for local energy production. Changing nutrient dynamics within the reed plants is also considered to predict trade-offs of reeds in a changing climate and under different water pollution and salinization conditions. Finally, recommendations for a sustainable water management and restoration of wetlands will be worked out combining the results with regard to vegetation and landscape ecology, environmental physics, environmental microbiology, and environmental ethics.

      This project is funded by Kurt Eberhard Bode-Stiftung, Germany and University Foundation of Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.