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KULUNDA – How to prevent the next "Global Dust Bowl"? – Ecological and Economic Strategies for Sustainable Land Management in the Russian Steppes: A Potential Solution to Climate Change

Research domain:
Natural resource use

Project duration:
30.09.2011 - 29.09.2016

The Kulunda Steppe is a typical example of a conversion region in temperate grasslands. From 1954 to 1963, approximately 420,000 km² of the steppe area was converted into large-scale intensive agriculture.
The large-scale intensive farming of the Kulunda steppe in recent decades proved to be inadequate regarding its regional environmental heterogeneities. The consequence is widespread soil degradation caused by erosion, decreased top soils and humus content, and thus a decreased concentration of sequestered carbon. Moreover, the groundwater and nutrient regime is unfavorably affected, fertility is declining, and a decreased yield of crops is the result.

KULUNDA aims at guiding the ongoing transformation process towards more sustainable land management practices. We expect KULUNDA to serve as a model for other converted areas of the Eurasian steppe region.


  • Consortium Leader: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Frühauf (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Faculty of Natural Sciences III, Department of Geosciences and Geography) Website
  • Altai State University, Russian Federation Website
  • Altai State Agricultural University (ASAU), Russian Federation Website
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany Website
  • Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Germany Website
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany Website
  • Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany Website
  • Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany Website
  • Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN), Germany Website
  • AMAZONEN-Werke H. Dreyer GmbH & Co. KG, Germany Website
  • Georg August University Goettingen, Germany Website