Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources (MuLu)

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    Project Manager :
    Kai Schwärzel

    A cooperation agreement was signed with the Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection of the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), the Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as well as the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation of the CAS and the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) on a joint book project. The parties agree to cooperate in research, the promotion of multifunctional land use, as well as the transfer of knowledge and identification of knowledge gaps with a focus on transdisciplinary understanding, cross-sectoral coordination, and technical and political support at different scales under environmental change in policy making through development of appropriate frameworks and methods. Research on the case of China will be carried out as agreed with the partners.The outcomes of this project will include a joint book with the partners as well as a joint project proposal for phase II.

    This project is financed by UNU-FLORES in cash with in-kind support from the partners.


    Environmental decline and deteriorating condition of environmental resources are endangering water and food security globally. Deforestation can cause soil erosion while agricultural intensification could lead to water pollution and shortage. While nations across the globe are affected by these problems, the extent of the problem faced by decision-makers in China is particularly severe. China has implemented the world’s largest afforestation and land restoration programme in decades. Yet, the consequences of these programmes have raised greater doubts about the sustainability of the environmental restoration projects. This has sparked an intense debate among scholars of environmental management about the apparent contradiction between investing in environmental restoration and the outcomes in terms of water and food security.

    We explore this fundamental question in this book based on the outcomes of a Sino-German funded project. Additionally, we make efforts to seek out options to overcome this problem. By bringing the current research and knowledge on managing forests, grasslands and agricultural ecosystems, this book suggests an alternative approach to harmonise sustainable nature and social development. With this contribution, the editors hope to encourage a dialogue on knowledge gaps and the way forward involving harmonised decision making based on cooperation between officials, scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.

    The editors are grateful to all authors and reviewers for their remarkable contributions to this book and for sharing their knowledge and experiences with us. Special thanks go to the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the copy editors of this book, without whose support, this book would not have come to fruition. Thus, this book is dedicated to everyone who has contributed to it in one way or another.

    Lulu Zhang

    Kai Schwärzel

    • Lulu Zhang Lulu Zhang Associate Programme Officer | Focal Point for Agri-food and Forest Systems & Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation