Human beings strongly depend on the sustainable availability of resources, such as food, water and energy. The continued supply of these resources can only be assured by sustainable land uses but these are easily threatened by inappropriate human activities. Human behavior is intermingled with hydrological, biogeochemical, atmospheric and ecological processes through land use and land cover change (LULCC). LULCC is a locally pervasive and globally significant environmental trend and has become a process of paramount importance to the study of global environmental change.
This thesis investigates LULCC and its links with soil hydrology, soil degradation and climate variability through combining results from fieldwork, laboratory work and Remote Sensing. Seasonal, inter-annual and broad timescale land transitions are analyzed for a robust identification of biophysical change. The determinants of LULCC are determined using spatially explicit statistical modelling of most systematic land transitions. This thesis explores soil hydrological impacts of LULCC for a better soil water management. The thesis further explores the climatic factors leading to the observed trends in vegetated land cover for improved understanding of the link between climate and carbon fixation and water use by vegetation.
1. Introduction 2. Study Area 3. Understanding recent land use and land cover dynamics: spatially explicit statistical modelling of systematic transitions 4. Spatio-temporal analysis of changes in landscape patterns 5. Satellite-based monitoring of wetland changes and their ecohydrological characterisation 6. Effects of land use and land cover on selected soil quality indictors 7. Monitoring of soil moisture in responses to land use and land cover changes using Remote Sensing and in-situ observations 8. Predicting soil water retention characteristics in high altitude tropical soils
9. Inter-annual and seasonal trends of vegetation conditions in the Upper Blue Nile (Abay) basin: Dual scale time series Analysis 10. Climatic controls of net primary production and water-use efficiency in the Upper Blue Nile (Abay) basin 11. General Conclusions
IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.