Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Earth Observation Lab


Post-USSR land cover change in Eastern Europe – socioeconomic forcings, effects on biodiversity, and future scenarios


Project period: 01/2005 – 12/2007

The basic scientific question underlying this study was to determine controls and forcings of land cover change. The breakdown of the USSR in 1990 offered a unique ‘natural experiment’ to test hypotheses on the relative importance of environmental versus socioeconomic factors and local decision-making versus broad-scale political and institutional change as forcings of LULCC. Due to post-USSR socioeconomic and political changes, more than half of the agricultural land was/is out of production in some regions and was/is undergoing succession to grass- and shrublands. Effectively, Eastern Europe is ‘re-wilding’ and that may offer opportunities for biodiversity conservation. This was examined with a habitat suitability analysis for umbrella species for biodiversity.

Lab and other research members involved

Principle Institution

SILVIS Lab Spatial analysis for conservation and sustainability
Dept. of Forest Ecology & Management, University of Wisconsin - Madison


NASA New Investigators Programm