Natural Resources (NatuRe)
The vision of the ERU NatuRe is to provide the scientific and technological basis for equitable and sustainable use of natural resources of water, air, soil (including underground) and renewable energy in a world whose population is expected to exceed eight billion. One of the crucial challenges in coming decades is the development and maintenance of the sustainable delivery of water/ecosystem-derived goods and services with ongoing global change. In NatuRe, consistent with legislation, planning and integrated problem solving, the catchment scale is the intrinsic management unit for water, forest and soil resources. Furthermore, with the decline of inexpensive oil, the innovative use of “renewable” energy sources – wood, solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower – calls for substantial product- and process-oriented research. Given the existing trends of global change, NatuRe focuses also on the improvement, maintenance and sustainable use of natural resources in transitional countries, as well as on:
- development of concepts and technology for the sustainable use of water and soil resources and the maintenance of ecological integrity and biodiversity;
- optimisation of non-urban land resource utilisation under ecological constraints;
- renewable energy, especially wood, hydropower and geothermal heat;
- build-up of competences for handling large environmental data sets (GIS/remote sensing);
- creation of a Centre of Competence for Water and Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, emphasising food security, drinking water, sanitation, hydropower and ecological integrity.
Goals and strategy
The goals and strategies of the ERU NatuRe are:
- to identify processes and strategies to ensure healthy use of soil, ground and surface waters and to develop technology for achieving high standards of soil and water quality targets;
- to develop and optimize restoration strategies for aquatic ecosystems;
- to identify Best Management Practices for sustainable use of forests;
- to improve the understanding of use of geothermal heat;
- to establish a Center of Competence for Water and Agriculture on the sub-Saharan region.