MC4 - Biosphere-mediated human impacts on the Earth system

Event Dates: 22nd–23rd October 2012
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Organisers: Guillaume Vilain, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
ECTS Point Allocation: 2
Related Publication: Coming Soon!

From October 22-23, 3 GreenCycles II and 5 external participants took part in Mini Conference 4 on “Biosphere-mediated human impacts on the Earth system” in Potsdam, Germany. The conference covered a wide range of topics, such as atmospheric chemistry, remote sensing, soil and river biogeochemistry.

The topic of the first session on Monday morning was oriented on the human impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere. Diversity of the talks ranged from remote sensing (Gerardo Lopez Saldaña) to greenhouse gases emissions with talks from Benjamin Stocker (terrestrial N2O and CH4 emissions under future climate change scenarios), Lex Bouwman (terrestrial denitrification and N2O emissions from soils and riparian zones) and Benjamin Bodirsky raising the question of the possible return into planetary boundaries.

The afternoon session was devoted to the hydrological cycle. The first talk by Anne Biewald was dealing with the trade of local blue water using an economic land and water use model coupled to global vegetation and agricultural model. The last talk of the day, by Michel Meybeck, oriented on global river budgets and illustrated with heavy metals and global nitrogen budgets showed the major progresses made since 40 years as well as the lack of understanding of societal factors which have a great influence on scenarios of future state of rivers.

During the evening, participants and invited speakers had a joint conference dinner in Potsdam, the occasion of nice informal discussions.

Tuesday was reserved for the land-used change session and organized around three talks by Susanne Rolinski about grassland management and implications on carbon fluxes, a second talk by Stefan Olin about model coupling for assessing land use change and its implications on global biogeochemistry and a last talk by Helmut Haberl discussing the indicator of human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) which is used to relate human resource demand to the biospheric cycles (carbon cycle in particular) and its relation with socioeconomic drivers as well as ecological outcomes.

Both the participants and the external speakers left Potsdam happy about the quality of the talks and the discussions and new collaborations will arise following the conference.


  1. Gerardo López Saldaña, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal – GC
  2. Matteo Willeit, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany – GC
  3. Anne Biewald, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  4. Benjamin Bodirsky, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  5. Christoph Müller, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Susanne Rolinski, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  7. Benjamin Stocker, Climate and Environmental Physics, University of Bern, Switzerland
  8. Guillaume Vilain, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany – GC