SASCHA Project
Heisenbergstr. 2 D-48149 Münster


SASCHA - Sustainable land management and adaptation strategies to climate change for the Western Siberian Grain Belt

The interdisciplinary joint project SASCHA is part of the BMBF-Funding Measure “Sustainable Land Management“ Module A "Interaction between Land Management, Climate Change and Ecosystem Services". SASCHA aims to provide basic knowledge, practical management tools and adaptation strategies to cope with recent and future ecological change and landscape transformation in the Tyumen region, Western Siberia. Particularly, the interactional effects of climate and land-use change on natural resources and ecosystem functions in the Pre-Taiga and Forest-Steppe ecotone are in the focus of investigations. All research, development and implementation activities will be carried out in close cooperation with regional and local stakeholders from science, administration, and practice.

The SASCHA Information material introduces the project.


Farming the forest steppe – results of the SASCHA project summarizedBroschuere SASCHA - Bild (c) Wanja Mathar

Our interdisciplinary research project SASCHA has come to an end, and most results are now published. As scientific papers are not accessible to everyone, we have now summarized the results in a brochure for stakeholders and the general public.

SASCHA was a research collaboration between eight Russian and German institutions, and aimed to provide tools for more sustainable farming in the Western Siberian grain belt. The economic and social dimensions of food production in Russia were linked to the maintenance of ecosystem functions and biodiversity in an era of growing food demand.

The brochure is available for download in English and Russian.

Honorary Professor degree for Norbert HölzelHonorary Professor degree 2017 Photo: UT/Denis Zinoviev

The University of Tyumen has granted Prof. Dr Norbert Hölzel, Head of the SASCHA Project, a Honorary Doctor degree, to value his engagement for the german-russian cooperation in research.

press release WWU Münster [de]
press release University of Tyumen [en]
press release University of Tyumen [ru]

Results of all LAMA projects put into practiceCover Wocat 200

Practice-oriented results for a land management that considers using environment and ecosystems worldwide more sustainable and also aspects of climate change are described in the WOCAT book „Making sense of research for sustainable land management“. The book was developed in the framework of the GLUES project. It is co-published by the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, and the Helmholtz-Centre for Environment Research, UFZ. Results from Tyumen on the intensification of crop production can be found on page 24.

Liniger HP, Mekdaschi Studer R, Moll P, Zander U (2017) Making sense of research for sustainable land management. Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland and Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany [download 16,5MB, Infos at WOCAT, UFZ and LAMA]

Presenting SASCHA results in Russia2016 Final Conference Tyumen

The SASCHA project comes to an end in December 2016, so a final SASCHA conference was organized in Tyumen from 18-24 September. German and Russian participants introduced the audience to the interdisciplinary research. We also presented future land-use scenarios for the Tyumen region, integrating ecologically, economically and socially sustainable outcomes of the project. Stakeholders and research colleagues from other parts of Russia joined the conference and presented further projects. New collaborations were agreed, in Tyumen, but also elsewhere in Western Siberia.
After the main conference in Tyumen and a short field trip, the project coordinators moved on to Ishim, a city in the south of the SASCHA area. Here, an overview of SASCHA results was presented to researchers and stakeholders, at the Ishim branch of Tyumen State University. [ more pictures on Sascha-Blog]

Hot off the press: New papers to disseminate SASCHA researchAbbildung Paper Science Of Total Environment Klein

After all, SASCHA is also a research project: in 2016, we have been publishing a number of scientific papers ranging from the results of our biodiversity research, economic and trade analyses to climate and hydrological modelling studies. As most PhD students have now submitted their work or are in the last stages of thesis writing, a few more publications will follow – including also cross-sectoral synthesis papers. So keep an eye on the overview here.

Pdfs of all papers can be requested from the SASCHA coordinator.

Moving forward: Collarboration continuedSascha News De Vogel Klein

With the SASCHA project running out towards the end of the year, we have been busy setting up new collaborations and sourcing funds for further student exchange. A first follow-up project related to the biodiversity component of SASCHA has now been successful: Stepan Boldyrev, a zoology student at the Ishim branch of Tyumen State University, has received a prestigious grant of the president of the Russian Federation for a six-month research stay at the Institute of Landscape Ecology in Münster in 2017. He will look into long-term population trends of Western Siberian migratory birds and how these are driven by recent climate and land-use changes.

Transferability: How general are our results?Transferability Klein

The sustainable land management program LAMA comprises 12 projects across the globe. The results of these projects are being synthesized by 'GLUES', a 'meta-project'. A recent analysis addresses the question if the results of the regional projects are transferable to other regions of the globe - or in other words, if our research has any generality. SASCHA'S coordination project (SP100) has contributed to this analysis, recently published in a paper led by Tomás  Václavíc. The SASCHA results seem to be widely transferable to other regions of northern Eurasia.
Original publication: Václavík T, Langerwisch F, Cotter M, Fick J, Häuser I, Hotes S, Kamp J, Settele J, Spangenberg J, Seppelt R (2016) Investigating potential transferability of place-based research in land system science. Environmental Research Letters 11: 095002 [doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/095002]

International School on Sustainable Land ManagementVortrag _klein

Three intensive days full of mutual learning, interdisciplinarity and fun - this could be a summary of the International School on Sustainable Land Management and Land Use Scenarios, which took place at the Tymen State University on March, 16-18, 2016. Over 20 students and staff from a diversity of faculties and disciplines - like ecology, biology, economics and law - listened to our lectures, asked questions, shared their experiences and opinions, and learned how to use our key resource - land - in a more sustainable manner. [Sascha-Blog]

Taking stock at the end of the yearSascha Meeting2015

In November, all SASCHA partners came again together for the annual and strategic meeting at the Institute of Landscape Ecology in Muenster. Progress in 2015 was reviewed, and activities for the remaining project phase were planned. The focus was on the scenario planning process with workshops planned in Russia in 2016, the project publication strategy, and the transfer of applied knowledge generated in the project to stakeholders from agriculture. The inspiring atmosphere of the gathering also sparked new ideas for follow-up research.

Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in TyumenWeil 200

During an official visit of the Lower Saxony partner province, Prime Minister Stephan Weil visited Tyumen State University to learn more about the SASCHA project and the experiences in scientific Russian-German exchange. In his speech, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of Russian-German partnerships in politically turbulent times. More photos in the SASCHA-Blog.

The way to the North: joint Russian-German field tripTobolsk Klein

In a joint field-trip organized by Tyumen State University and the SASCHA project coordinators at Münster University, we brought 26 Russian and German students to Tyumen to explore the vast landscapes of Western Siberia. Over 14 days the group followed a 1000 km long gradient through different ecozones from the meadow steppes near the Kazakh border to the boreal forests and raised bogs of the Russian Taiga. More impressions on the SASCHA Blog and in this video, made by Russian students.

Third year of trials in Ishim Trecker 200

The third field season of SP 510 started early this year, at the beginning of May, due to the early snow melt. To study the performance and environmental impact of an innovative fertilizer, a fertilizing fiel trial was installed on the fields of Agroholding Yubileyny in cooperation with the State Agrar University Tyumen and the producer of agricultural machinery AMAZONE. These experiments are of great interest for local farmers and were featured in “Agrarnye izvestia” (Agrar News). Again, Russian and German students have teamed up to supervise the field trials. Photo: Insa Kühling [30.06.2015]
Further Pictures on the SASCHA blog

Butterfly bonanza in SiberiaButterflies 480

In the fourth year of the BMBF-funded SASCHA-project, we now focus on data analysis, paper writing, and the implementation of the project results. However, a number of data gaps are still to be filled in the field. Two motivated BSc students are currently in Tyumen, Western Siberia, to count butterflies along standardized transects. Contrary to common belief, it's not freezing cold all year round in Siberia - sunny days and temperatures around 30°C result in high butterfly activity, but also challenging mosquito densities...
The richness and abundance of butterflies is stunning in the area - many species thrive that are now on the brink of extinction in Central Europe. As the area is at the border of several zoogeographical regions, dry steppe species and Taiga endemics meet. Photos: Johanna Trappe/Fritzi Kunz [19.06.2015]

SASCHA Annual meetingHeated discussions in the aquarium

On 28 and 29 November 2014, German and Russian members of the SASCHA consortium met in Münster to discuss progress in 2014 and plans for the remaining two years of the project runtime. A special focus was put on the joint development of scenarios for future sustainable land management in Western Siberia that will be discussed in 2015 with stakeholders from policy and administration. [04.12.2014]

Further Pictures on the SASCHA blog

Field trials and Sounds of the Siberian Swamps2014 Arbeit Bei Sonnenuntergang

The first SASCHA members are back in Tyumen since beginning of May, working day and night:
On the farm Yubileyny close to Ischim SP510 installed field trials on different cultivation techniques, this year again. The preparations went well, men and machinery were in good constitution, and so the complete field trial was set up in one and a half day – with sowing into the sunset…
In SP600, however, work starts not until sunset: the biodiversity surveys concentrate mainly on the large fen and bog areas north of Tyumen, this year. Therefore, point counts are conducted in May and June to survey the bird communities of marsh and mire habitat. As the wetland birds are mostly nocturnal, counting starts at dusk and is usually done when the new day dawns – relying entirely on aural skills when identifying species. [05.06.2014]
Further information, photos and sound recordings on the SASCHA blog

Short movie about SASCHASascha Kurz Startbild 200

A short movie shot during the on-site evaluation last september gives insight into the work in Siberia: de, de barrier-free, ru barrier-free [mp4] (realised by DLR: M. Rizovski-Jansen, Dr. A. Wüstemeier)

SASCHA and KULUNDA – PhD workshop 2014SASCHA and KULUNDA – PhD workshop 2014

SASCHA and KULUNDA, two projects funded by the German BMBF under their ‘Sustainable Land Management‘ program, are both based in Siberia. However, they are not only geographically close, but there is some significant overlap in terms of research and activities. Joint activities peaked in a recent PhD workshop that was hosted at the University of Münster on 23 and 24 January 2014 and attracted considerable interest among young scholars and PostDocs of both projects. The first day was devoted to overview talks by the project leaders and speed presentation by each PhD students to introduce the audience to their research. While enjoying a pint of local beer at a pizza place in the evening, everyone was able to broaden their horizon. On 2 day, research collaboration was tightened in two working groups. [27.01.2014]
read more about the workshop on the SASCHA blog

Visit in Osnabrück and MünsterSergej in Osnabrück and Münster

After 2 years of intensive collaboration in Russia, Sergej Tupitsin, PhD Student at Tyumen State University, was welcomed for a 4-weeks visit in Osnabrück and Münster. Sergej as a palaeontologist works on the reconstruction of landscape genesis in the forest steppe in southern West-Siberia under land use and climate change. The main objective of his stay was the joint analysis of Sergej’s pollen data with the actual vegetation data from the subprojects 500 and 600 - which seems to be very rewarding. Also a visit to the palaeontology research unit at Muenster university was very informative for Sergej. But for his first stay in Central Europe, also non-scientific discoveries were made, e.g. at the north nea and in Amsterdam. [12.12.2013]
read more about the stay on the SASCHA blog
article in 'University and Region', the University Newspaper of TSU

Landscape Architecture to enjoyExchange Landscape Architecture 2013-10

Ten Russian students of landscape architecture of Tyumen State University learned about various examples of Landscape Architecture from historic garden art from the Baroque to modern German Space Planning at the Landscape Park Duisburg Nord during their stay at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück. They had been invited by TP 700 to join a one-week study internship from 5 to 12 October 2013 .
"Parks where you can just go to enjoy, have surprised and delighted me. In the future I also want to plan parks in which people feel comfortable”, was the conclusion of one of the Russian students. [04.11.2013]
read more about the stay on the SASCHA blog

Visiting KULUNDAVisiting KULUNDA

After the evaluation visit to SASCHA, representatives of the funding organisation, reviewers and SASCHA participants embarked on a journey to the south siberian Kulunda steppe, approx. 1400 km south of Tyumen. In this region, 'Kulunda', a second project funded within the Sustainable Land Management call is being implemented. After 22 hours on transsib train services, collaboration between the two projects was cemented during field trips and over Vodka tasting in the evenings. Joint publications are planned, and a joint PhD workshop will be organised in winter. [23.09.2013]

On-site evaluation of SASCHAOn-site evaluation of SASCHA - September 2013

The project funders and independent project reviewers visited the SASCHA project region in Russia from 7th to 14th September to gain insight into research progress and efficiency. Together with German and Russian project members, various research sites were visisted, e.g. field trials on soy bean and wheat cultivation, a flux station that measures greenhouse gas emissions and hydrological installations. Several meetings with stakeholders in agriculture and policy were used to enhance collaboration. Activities and results of biodiversity research were presented during field trips at all three SASCHA study sites. A workshop on agricultural development in Western Siberia and various talks on SASCHA results on the annual ecology conference of Tyumen State University [ru] completed the evaluation event.
We will report in detail on the activities and results of the evaluation week on our blog. [23.09.2013]

Visit of field trials in Ishim:
Russian film www.vishime.ru [12.09.2013] [ru] or www.youtube.com [ru]
Russian Press release ishim-agro.ru [ru]
Agricultural Workshop: Russian Press release www.vsluh.ru [12.09.2013] [ru]
TSU Conference: Press release TSU www.niiecology.ru [ru]

Students flock to first Tyumen birdwatching summer schoolBirdwatching summer school 2013

While insects are high on the agenda scientist at Tyumen State University, birds are flying rather low. This was the motivation for a first summer school on ornithology and birdwatching that was realized between 4th and 6th September by subproject 600. A group of 20 students of the biology faculty participated in the event, which was divided into lectures, a tour of the bird collection of TSU and an extensive field programme on counting and identifying birds. Soaring sea eagles, mud-bound waders and tweeting tits in the taiga forest enthused many participants during what often was their first glimpse through binoculars. A competitive birdrace closed the event, with all three teams being very close in the number of species identified.
We hope that the great success and huge media interest in the event motivates the participants to delve deeper into birdwatching, which might raise capacity and eventually lead to more local students joining the SASCHA biodiversity surveys in 2014. [18.09.2013]

Russian Press release utmn.ru 10.09.2013 [ru] (Video)
Russian Press release nashgorod.ru [ru] 10.09.2013
Russian Press release vtyuemen.ru [ru] 10.09.2013
more impressions on the SASCHA-blog

SASCHA video

Watch a short clip about SASCHA:

Field trials on various scalesSP510 Field trials May 2013

After quite some preparation time, field trials of SP510 were set-up in May - quick and effectively due to the great enthusiasm of all participants.
Near Lake Kuchak, at the experimental field station of Tyumen State University, growth and yield parameters of various wheat varieties will be compared, and the impact of different techniques of rhizobia provision on soy bean cultures evaluated. Parts of the experiments are designed as cross-trials: varieties will be grown parallel in Tyumen and on a research farm in Osnabrück (Germany) and the impact of different climatic and weather conditions compared.
Later, large-scale field trials were installed on 12 ha land of the agricultural enterprise ZAO Plemzavod Yubileyny (in close collaboration with the German producer of agricultural machinery AMAZONE) near Ishim, close to the border with Kazakhstan. The aim of these larger experiment is to learn more about the impact of different mechanical cultivation techniques on wheat yields in a situation of decreasing water availability due to climate change. Conditions were tough: spring was late and wet in 2013, and communication between Western and Russian machinery did not always run smoothly, but all challenges were tackled easily by the experienced local engineers [14.06.2013].

SASCHA Blog: Feldversuche im großen Stil - SP510 in Ischim  [de]
SASCHA Blog: SP510 in Kuchak – Versuche im kleinen Maßstab  [de]
Russian Press release utmn.ru 03.06.2013 [ru]

SASCHA at the LAMA status conference 2013

Members of several SASCHA subprojects joined the Status Conference 2013 of the BMBF-Research Programme “Sustainable Land Management“ in Berlin from 17th to 19th of April 2013. The event provided an excellent opportunity for scientific exchange with members of other collaborative projects.
The SASCHA-"market stand" was visited not only by many colleages from other projects within the programme but also by Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam and former german federal minister, who just returned from a journey to Siberia. He was very interested in the scientific work of SASCHA and emphasised the high relevance of the project for the bilateral relations. [25.04.2013]

photos of the Status Conference 2013

hydrological field campaign during spring run-offsampling

From 9th to 13th April, the first hydrological field campaign of Subproject 300 (Kiel University) in 2013 was realised across the catchments of the rivers Vagai and Loktinka. Together with two students of Tyumen State University, water level sensors were tested at two gauges. At 24 sample locations, physical water quality parameters were measured and water samples were collected. This year, we were able to match the start of the fieldwork period with the main snow melt, allowing us to sample the "hot moment" of spring run-off. [18.04.2013]

Russian press release utmn.ru 05.04.2013  [ru]
Russian press release utmn.ru 16.04.2013  [ru]

SASCHA at round table discussion on Russia's WTO-accessionround table discussion on Russia's WTO-accession (photo: Ivan Chuprov)

On 14 March 2013 Nataliya Stupak (SP 800) participated in a round table discussion on agro-industrial development in Tyumen region after Russia’s recent accession to the WTO, initiated by Tyumen province parliament and government.
Following the WTO-accession, far-reaching changes are expected in the agricultural sector, especially increasing international imports of low-priced commodities and consumables that local producers would have to compete with and a reduction in direct payments. At the meeting, adaptation strategies to these changing conditions were developed. Participants suggested a high potential for products farmed organically, which are already prevalent in many regions due to low fertilizer and pesticide inputs. The development of a organic farming label and certification system will be the next step.

photo in higher resolution (photo: Ivan Chuprov)
Russian press release www.vsluh.ru [ru]
Russian press release smo72.ru [ru]

Farming for Science

Preparations for the approaching field season are in full swing: in May, subproject 510 (University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück) will start large-scale field trials at the agricultural enterprise ZAO Plemzavod-Yubileinii near Ishim (Southern Tyumen province). In collaboration with AMAZONE, a producer of agricultural machinery, potentials of a sustainable wheat production will be evaluated. The research will focus on water-efficient tilling to maintain economically sustainable yields in a changing climate.

Russian press release [ru]


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