Dr. Renuka Suddapuli Hewage, Project Scientist

Dr. Suddapuli studied Agricultural Sciences and Soil Science in Sri Lanka and the Phillipines and worked as project officer, researcher and lecturer, before she obtained a PhD degree in Germany at the Institute of Soil Science, University of Hamburg. She joined University of Kassel as a member of Research Unit FOR2432 in April 2018,and analyses the influence of urbanization on the crop production in and around Bengaluru, India, with a focus on horizontal and vertical nutrient flows. She uses an array of methods such as microlysimeters, resin cartridges, and photoacoustic gas measurements in on-station reference trials and on serval on-farm fields to detect intensity and efficiency gradients in agricultural management along the rural-urban transects.

FOR2432-Project A01
Ökologischer Pflanzenbau und Agrar-Ökosystemforschung in den Tropen und Subtropen
Universität Kassel (

Suman Sourav, Doctoral Researcher

Suman Sourav is a social science researcher who holds a joint Masters Degree in Rural Development from Ghent University in Belgium, Humbolt University in Germany and the University of Pisa in Italy. He had started his education in agricultural sciences at Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth Agrigultural University in Maharashtra, India. Prior to joining FOR2432-Project A01 as a doctoral researcher, he worked in a variety of Indian and international research organizations, including ICRIER, ISEC , IWMI, UNESCAP and PAD. Suman’s PhD study deals with plant growth, water quality, carbon and nutrient flows in rural-urban cropping systems at different spatial scales in Bengaluru. His area of interest mainly lies in sustainable development of agricultural ecosystem in developing countries.

FOR2432-Project A01
Ökologischer Pflanzenbau und Agrar-Ökosystemforschung in den Tropen und Subtropen
Universität Kassel (

Albara Almawazreh, Doctoral Researcher

Albara Almawazreh obtained his master's degree in Environmental and Eesources Management (ERM) at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. With a focus on water management and hydrology, in his master thesis in the area of subsurface hydrology he studied the influence of wet and dry cycles on solute dissipation in soil with hydrus.
Albara wants to develop his modeling abilities from field scale to catchment scale and expects to learn new techniques and methods such as infrared thermography.

FOR2432-Project A02
Hydrologie und Stoffhaushalt
Universität Kassel (

Tejas Kulkarni, Doctoral Researcher

Tejas started working with BangaDyn in June 2019 and will move to FOR2432 in November 2019. He is originally from Bangalore and worked previously as a research associate at ATREE (project partner).Tejas completed a Masters in Water Environment Management in Leibniz Uni, Hannover. So far, he quantified water balances using latest Remote sensing products. He will work on quantifying water balances and influence of Anthropogenic influences with an aim to understand trade-offs in sustainable management as well as an isotope hydro-geological study to understand the seepage dyamics in a small scale watershed.

FOR2432-Project A02
Hydrologie und Stoffhaushalt
Universität Kassel (

Marion Reichenbach, Doctoral Researcher

Marion Reichenbach is an Animal Scientist interested in livestock production systems in the Tropics and Subtropics with emphasis on nutrition and physiology. Trained at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, where she specialized in pig and cattle production systems, her Master thesis addressed the problems associated with promoting a traditional cattle ranching system based on a local breed with a specific foraging strategy as a key element for achieving sustainable development of beef production in the Bolivian Dry Chaco. Her current research focus as doctoral researcher within the interdisciplinary framework of the DGF Research Unit FOR 2432 is the relevance of nutrient management for dairy production in an urbanizing environment. Embedded in the analysis of the social-ecological system of Bangalore, she will quantify resource use efficiency on dairy farms and thus, the impact of urbanization on intensity of production.

FOR2432-Project A03
Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, Universität Kassel & Universität Göttingen (

Md Shahin Alam

Shahin Alam is a dairy animal scientist mostly focus on sustainable dairy farming system. He will find the spatial patterns of milk contamination with heavy metals and (agro-)chemical residues follow the polycentric pattern of lake distribution but are less distinct in urban as compared to rural neighborhoods.
In his working carrier, he had an academic position (preserved -Teaching and Research) in Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University, Dinajpur, Bangladesh.
From his academic carrier, he completed his 2nd masters in the department of Animal Science (Global and Sustainable Production) at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), The Netherlands. He compiled ‘Impact of dry period length on farm income – including cow health and veterinary costs’ thesis in Animal Production System chair group, and ‘Alternative feeding options to enhance the sustainability of dairy farms in Bangladesh’ thesis in Farming System Ecology chair group.

FOR2432-Project A03
Animal Husbandry in the Tropis and Subtropics
Universität Kassel (

Ana Pinto, Doctoral Researcher

Ana Pinto Garcia is an Agricultural Engineer specialized in Animal Production. She studied Agricultural Engineering at the University Politécnica of Madrid (Spain). She completed her MSc Thesis in Nutreco Company in The Netherlands. After that, she has been working the last 3 years in different experimental farms as a field technician conducting studies related to nutrition, behavior and animal welfare. Ana Pinto Garcia joined the FOR2432 Team to study the relevance of primary and functional traits for dairy cattle production in an urbanizing environment.

FOR2432-Project A03
Universität Gießen (

Gabriel Marcacci, Doctoral Researcher

Gabriel Marcacci is an ornithologist and an ecologist interested in migratory landbirds conservation and tropical agroecosystems. He completed his Master degree in Ecology & Evolution with a specialization in animal ecology and conservation biology at the University of Bern in Switzerland. His Master thesis brought him to Ethiopia where he spent several months to investigate the effect of small- versus large-scale farming on bird diversity.
His current research focus within the FOR2432 Research Unit is the agricultural biodiversity and associated ecosystem services across the rural-urban gradient.

FOR2432-Project B01
Funktionelle Agrobiodiversität
Georg-August Universität Göttingen (

Matthias Spangenberg, Doctoral Researcher

Matthias did his M.Sc. in Fundamental and Applied Ecology at Bielefeld University. His M.Sc. Thesis was spatial models of wolf-caribou interactions (aim: caribou protection). So far, he worked on effects of urbanization on pollination services.
His project work will include developng spatial-temporal models of pollination services along a urban-rural gradient. He wants to find the answer to how does urbanization affect pollination of crops?

FOR2432-Project B01
Universität Göttingen (

Marco Sciani, Doctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project B01
Ökosystemmodellierung, Universität Göttingen (

Arne Wenzel, Doctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project B01
Agrarökologie, Universität Göttingen (

Johannes Wegmann, Doctoral Researcher

Johannes Wegmann obtained his BA in International Economics and Development at the University of Bayreuth, and his MSc in Economics at the University of Cologne, with several months of fieldwork in Ghana, West Africa. He is interested in the interactions of spatial factors and opportunity costs.

In the context of FOR2432 his PhD project deals with preferences and decision-making behavior.

FOR2432-Project B02
Landwirtschaftliche Betriebslehre, Universität Göttingen (

Johannes Wegmann graduated in July 2019 with the thesis entitled "Groundwater Use and Management along the Rural-Urban Interface: Attitudes, Preferences, and Decision Making Behavior". He will continue working in the project in Phase II.

Verena Preuße, Doctoral Researcher

Verena completed a BA in European Studies at Maastricht University and subsequently obtained a MSc in International Development Studies from Wageningen University and Research (Netherlands). In the context of her studies and during several internships, she has worked in the field of agricultural and development economics. Verena joined FOR2432 as a member of subproject B02, which studies social and environmental preferences, decision-making behaviour of households and public good provision.

FOR2432-Project B02
Umwelt- und Ressourcenökonomik
Universität Göttingen (

Johannes Bettin, Doctoral Researcher

Johannes Bettin holds a BA in Political Science & Economics from University of Jena, and an MA in Development Economics from University of Göttingen. He was a visiting Student at Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá) and Sciences Po (Paris), and had several internships, e.g. at Wuppertal Institute, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation Quito, German Embassy Bogotá, arche noVa e.V. (Dresden), Proyecto Horizonte e.V. (Cochabamba).

His PhD thesis in FOR2432 has a focus on Social-Ecological Preferences and Urbanization in India. He carries out surveys and choice experiments to explore preferences and decision-making towards pro-environmental behavior and the management of common pool resources, taking naturally available irrigation water as an example for regulating ecosystem service provision. The exploration is  framed within a motivational framework, with exogenous variation introduced by different kinds of urbanization, aiming at more general enquiries into the origins of social trust.

FOR2432-Project B02
Internationale Agrarökonomie, Universität Göttingen

Johannes Bettin graduated in April 2019 with his thesis entitled "Social-Ecological Preferences and Urbanization in India".

Dr. Monish Jose, Postdoctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project B02
Internationale Agrarökonomie, Universität Göttingen (

Oliver-Ken Haase, Doctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project B03
Landwirtschaftliche Marktlehre, Universität Göttingen (

Dr. Thomas Astor, Postdoctoral Scientist

FOR2432-Project C01
Grünlandwissenschaft und Nachwachsende Rohstoffe,
Universität Kassel (
In Phase II Thomas Astor assumes responsibility as co-PI of C01.

Supriya Dayananda, Doctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project C01
Grünlandwissenschaft und Nachwachsende Rohstoffe
Universität Kassel (

Dr. Nils Nölke, Postdoctoral Scientist

FOR2432-Project C02
Waldinventur und Fernerkundung, Universität Göttingen (
In Phase II Nils Nölke assumed responsibility as co-PI of C02.

Pramila Thapa, Doctoral Researcher

Ms. Pramila Thapa is affiliated to the in the working group ‘Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems’ (SEIAS) at the University of Kassel. An agriculturist by training, she has worked among smallholder farmers in rural Nepal and Tanzania as a researcher and facilitator. In FOR2432-II, she does a research on  social-ecological dynamics and ecosystem services of green and blue infrastructures in urban contexts.

FOR2431-Project C03
Organic Agricultural Sciences
University of Kassel (

Sivee Chawla, Doctoral Resesarcher

FOR2432-Project C03
Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia (

Neda Yousefian, Doctoral Researcher

Neda Yousefian holds a BA in Anthropology from Howard University. Pursuing her interest in agriculture, she spent 2,5 years working on an agroforestry project with a women farmers cooperative in Mauritania, West Africa. Her Master thesis built on this experience as she studied the nutritional content and ethnobotanical uses of the Moringa oleifera tree in Senegal.  She earned her M.Sc. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. Afterwards, she spent 2 years at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh, Cambodia working in a collaborative research project on safe vegetable production and savings-led microfinance with smallholder farmers.

Her research interests encompass food systems, sustainable agriculture, ethnobotany and development. As a doctoral researcher in the FOR 2432 group she will be studying consumption and food transition practices of Bengaluru’s middle classes as it relates to sustainability and the rural-urban food production systems.

FOR2432-Project C04
Universität Göttingen (

Mirka Erler, Doctoral Researcher

Mirka Erler is a human geographer interested in sustainable nutrition and agriculture. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Geography at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) and her Master of Science in Transformation of Urban Landscapes at RUB and Tongji University Shanghai, China. In her Master thesis she studied the demands of Shanghai’s citizens for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Comparing her findings with German CSA models, she drew conclusions for the implementation of such a project in Shanghai.

Her current research focus within the interdisciplinary framework of the DGF Research Unit FOR 2432 is the food transition of Bengaluru’s Middle Class and its implications for sustainability. As in her Master thesis she combines quantitative and qualitative methods.

FOR2432-Project C04
Humangeographie, Universität Göttingen (

Dr. Debosree Bannerjee, Researcher

FOR2432-Project C05
Volkswirtschaftstheorie und Entwicklungsökonomik, Universität Göttingen (

Stefanie Dietz, Doctoral Researcher

FOR2432-Project C05
Agrarpolitik, Universität Göttingen (

Linda Steinhübel, Doctoral Researcher

Linda Steinhübel holds a B.Sc. in Biodiversity and Ecology from the Georg-August-University Göttingen. Afterwards she continued her studies in Göttingen and obtained her M.Sc. in Sustainable International Agriculture specializing on International Agribusiness and Rural Development Economics. During her Master studies she spent one semester (ERASMUS) at the SupAgro in Montpellier and interned at the Laboratoire Montpelliérain d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée (LAMETA), a research group of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) in France.

Her research in the FOR2432 group primarily focuses on dynamics of agricultural specialization, intensification, and commercialization in the rural-urban interface of Bangalore.

FOR2432-Project C05
Agrarpolitik, Universität Göttingen (

Dr. Ellen Hoffmann, Coordinator

Dr. Ellen Hoffmann is affiliated with the work group “Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and Subtropics” (OPATS) at the University of Kassel. A biologist by training, she has subsequently worked in the field of agricultural sciences, both as a researcher and a science manager. She coordinates FOR2432 and contributes to  the interdisciplinary discussion on system approaches, land use changes, and social-ecological dynamics  in the context of urbanization.

FOR2432-Project Z
Ökologische Agrarwissenschaften, Universität Kassel (


Beate Madan
Doctoral researcher in project A01 until September 2017

Sowmyashree M. Venkatesh
Doctoral researcher in project C01 until November 2017

Dr. Rajasekaran Murugan
Scientist in project A01 until December 2018

Sybille Lehmann
Doctoral Researcher in project A02 until March 2019