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Richard Fuchs

Dr. Richard Fuchs

group: Land Use Change and Climate
room: 266
phone: +49 8821 183 161
fax: +49 8821 735 73
richard fuchsEgm3∂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


10/2015 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"
02/2010 M.Sc. in Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science, University of Jena, Germany
01/2007 B.Sc., in Geography, University of Jena, Germany


Fuchs, R.; Alexander, P.; Brown, C.; Cossar, F.; Henry, R. C.; Rounsevell, M.
Why the US–China trade war spells disaster for the Amazon.
2019. Nature <London>, 567 (7749), 451–454. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00896-2
Chen, C.; Park, T.; Wang, X.; Piao, S.; Xu, B.; Chaturvedi, R. K.; Fuchs, R.; Brovkin, V.; Ciais, P.; Fensholt, R.; Tømmervik, H.; Bala, G.; Zhu, Z.; Nemani, R. R.; Myneni, R. B.
China and India lead in greening of the world through land-use management.
2019. Nature Sustainability, 2 (2), 122–129. doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0220-7
Bayer, A.; Mey, R.; Fuchs, R.; Krause, A.; Verburg, P.; Arneth, A.
Future human demands in land use models and their effect on ecosystem functionality.
2018. ESP Europe Regional Conference (2018), San Sebastian, Spain, October 15–19, 2018 
Pongratz, J.; Dolman, H.; Don, A.; Erb, K.-H.; Fuchs, R.; Herold, M.; Jones, C.; Kuemmerle, T.; Luyssaert, S.; Meyfroidt, P.; Naudts, K.
Models meet data: Challenges and opportunities in implementing land management in Earth system models.
2018. Global change biology, 24 (4), 1470–1487. doi:10.1111/gcb.13988
Erb, K.-H.; Luyssaert, S.; Meyfroidt, P.; Pongratz, J.; Don, A.; Kloster, S.; Kuemmerle, T.; Fetzel, T.; Fuchs, R.; Herold, M.; Haberl, H.; Jones, C. D.; Marín-Spiotta, E.; McCallum, I.; Robertson, E.; Seufert, V.; Fritz, S.; Valade, A.; Wiltshire, A.; Dolman, A. J.
Land management: data availability and process understanding for global change studies.
2017. Global change biology, 23 (2), 512–533. doi:10.1111/gcb.13443
Fuchs, R.; Schulp, C. J. E.; Hengeveld, G. M.; Verburg, P. H.; Clevers, J. G. P. W.; Schelhaas, M.-J.; Herold, M.
Assessing the influence of historic net and gross land changes on the carbon fluxes of Europe.
2016. Global change biology, 22 (7), 2526–2539. doi:10.1111/gcb.13191
Fuchs, R.; Herold, M.; Verburg, P. H.; Clevers, J. G. P. W.; Eberle, J.
Gross changes in reconstructions of historic land cover/use for Europe between 1900 and 2010.
2015. Global change biology, 21 (1), 299–313. doi:10.1111/gcb.12714