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Richard Fuchs

Dr. Richard Fuchs

group: Land Use Change
room: 266
phone: +49 8821 183 161
fax: +49 8821 735 73
richard fuchsSPAM∂kit edu

Research Interests

Richard Fuchs' main research focus is on land cover/use modelling (including land management), with emphasis on dynamics and pathways of land changes. He studies land-climate interactions, such as how socio-economic, political and environmental reasons affect land cover/use and its changes and vice versa. During his PhD in Wageningen Richard developed the historic land cover/use reconstruction model HILDA which provides a reconstruction of Europe’s land cover/use and its changes of the last century (1900-2010) on 1km spatial resolution.

Currently, Richard assesses global patterns, causes and environmental consequences of cropland management intensity.

Related to that he has the following research questions:

  • How did cropland expansion, intensification and extensification evolved globally in time and space?
  • How did crop harvest, yields, fertilizer and pesticide application developed globally in time and space?
  • What underlying socio-economic, political and environmental causes/drivers lead to the trajectories of above-mentioned variables?
  • Which underlying drivers cause current cropland management patterns, which are the results of cropland management intensity?
  • What environmental consequences do these developments have (e.g. GHG emissions, deforestation, land degradation, eutrophication of catchments, food security)?
  • Due to the increasing world population: Are there potential trade-offs and synergies of different cropland management strategies under a growing demand for agricultural production in relation to climate impacts to keep environmental impacts as low as possible?
  • What role does agricultural trade (tele-coupled networks) play for agricultural production and consumption?
  • Do industrial countries outsource unsustainable agricultural production to development countries?


Past project involvements

  • LUC4C: Land-use change: assessing the net climate forcing, and options for climate change mitigation and adaptation, EU FP7, 2012-2017, LUC4C project website




since 5/2017 Postdoctoral researcher within the Land Use Change group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Environmental Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
05/20015-04/2017 Postdoctoral researcher within the Environmental Geography group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
02/2010-10/2015 Ph.D. student within the Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science group at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Wageningen, The Netherlands


2/2013 Dr. ir. in Land use modelling, Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science group at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Wageningen, The Netherlands
  Title of Ph.D. Thesis: "A data-driven reconstruction of historic land cover/use change of Europe for the period 1900 to 2010 and its implications for climate change research"
11/2008 M.Sc. in Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science, University of Jena, Germany
11/2008 B.Sc., in Geography, University of Jena, Germany


Peer-reviewed publications

A. Eskildsen, S. Normand, L.G. Carvalheiro, W.D. Kissling, J.-C. Svenning, M.J. Steinbauer, F. Altermatt, E. Balletto, J.C. Biesmeijer, J. Buszko, M. Dufrêne, V. Fichefet, R. Fox, R. Fuchs, E. García-Barros, A. Harpke, R.K. Heikkinen, H. Höttinger, L. Kaila, M. Kuussaari, D. Maes, M.L. Munguira, J. Pennersdorfer, J. Pöyry, R. Reinhardt, K. Saarinen, O. Schweiger, J. Settele, N.Titeux, M.F. WallisDeVries, M. Wiemers, T. T. Høye (2017): Historical legacies and contemporary global change are jointly shaping European butterfly communities, Nature. (in review)

J. Pongratz, H. Dolman, A. Don, K.H. Erb, R. Fuchs, M. Herold, C. Jones, S. Luyssaert, T. Kuemmerle, P. Meyfroidt, K. Naudts (2017): Model meets data: Challenges and opportunities to implement land management in Earth System Models, Nature Climate Change. (subm.)

K.H. Erb, S. Luyssaert, P. Meyfroidt, J. Pongratz, A. Don, S. Kloster, T. Kuemmerle, T. Fetzel, R. Fuchs, M. Herold, H. Haberl, C. Jones, E. Marín-Spiotta, I. McCallum, E. Robertson, V. Seufert, S. Fritz, A. Valade, A. Wiltshire, A. Dolman, (2016): Land management: data availability and process understanding for global change studies, Global Change Biology, doi:10.1111/gcb.13443. see here

A. Bayer, M. Lindeskog, T. Pugh, R. Fuchs, A. Arneth (2017): Uncertainties in the land use flux resulting from land use change reconstructions and gross land transitions, Earth System Dynamics, doi:10.5194/esd-8-91-2017. see here

R. Fuchs, P.H. Verburg, R. Prestele (2017): A global assessment of gross/net land change dynamics for current conditions and future scenarios, Global Change Biology. (subm.).

R. Fuchs, C.J.E. Schulp, G.M. Hengeveld, P.H. Verburg, J.G.P.W. Clevers, M.-J. Schelhaas, M. Herold (2016): Assessing the influence of historic net and gross land changes on the carbon fluxes of Europe, Global Change Biology, doi:10.1111/gcb.13191. see here

R. Fuchs, M. Herold, P.H. Verburg, J.G.P.W. Clevers, J. Eberle (2015): Gross changes in reconstructions of historic land cover/use for Europe between 1900-2010, Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12714. see here

R. Fuchs, P.H. Verburg, J.G.P.W. Clevers, M. Herold, (2015): The potential of old maps and encyclopaedias for reconstructing historic continental land cover/use change, Applied Geography, 59, 43-55, doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2015.02.013. see here

R. Fuchs, M. Herold, P.H. Verburg, J.G.P.W. Clevers (2013): A high-resolution and harmonized model approach for reconstructing and analysing historic land changes in Europe, Biogeosciences, 10(3), 1543–1559, doi:10.5194/bg-10-1543-2013. see here