Lilin Kerschbaumer, M.A.

|Vita| |Research| |Teaching| |Publications|


sellhoff_bild.jpgLilin Kerschbaumer, M.A.
Department of Philosophy CAU Kiel

Leibnizstr. 4 | R. 331
24118 Kiel
Tel. 0431–880 2824


| Vita |

Researcher at the chair in Philosophy and Ethics of the Environment of Prof. Konrad Ott, at the Department of Philosophy, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel



| Research |

Sustainable Water Management and Wetland Restoration in Settlements of Continental-Arid Central Asia (SuWaRest)

Funding: Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
Duration: 3 years
Researcher: Lilin Kerschbaumer, M.A.

Project description

Due to climate change and scenarios of subsequent decreasing water resources in Central Asia, land-use adaptation, sustainable use of water, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems has strongly to be put forward in the next decades. In our proposal, we focus on settlements in Inner Mongolia, China. With an international and interdisciplinary research team, we follow the water fluxes into, through and out of these settlements. We investigate water management with particular regard to the ecosystem services (e.g. purification of water) and restoration of wetlands within the settlements, in particular, reed (Phragmites australis) stands, the water quality, the potential use of wetland plants, e.g. for local energy production, and the perception and value of water as a resource for the multi-cultural society in Central Asia.

Sub-project V: Sustainable water management – Principles, scenarios and trade-offs analysis

Within the discipline of environmental ethics, this sub-project debates on possible water management schemes for the research sites, namely the Wuliangsuhai Lake in Hetao Irrigation Area (Inner Mongolia), and the Heihe Basin (Gansu Province and Inner Mongolia). Such management schemes should be sustainable and embedded in local cultures.

We believe that success of conservation objectives must therefore properly address the background of culture. Of particular interest here is the different perceptions on water in the cultures of the two major ethnic groups in the region: Mongolian and Han. For this purpose, interviews have been conducted in downstream Heihe region. Based on the concept of strong sustainability, we analyze the ecological deterioration of the study sites. The study addresses the hypotheses that the "hydrological" culture in China leads to different conflicts and to patterns of water consumption in arid areas that are questionable from the perspective of strong sustainability, and that a prudent combination of more traditional and modern water provision schemes can be both truly sustainable and find broad public acceptance by local communities.

Specifically regarding Wuliangsuhai, the most dominant problem is the possible disappearance of Wuliangsuhai due to reduced water input and highly polluted water inflow. Here, we’ve developed four development scenarios including (a) Green Growth, (b) Strong Sustainability, (c) Worst Case and (d) Shift to Marshland. Each of the four scenarios analyzes how different forces, i.e. social, economic and ecological forces, which drive Hetao’s development forward, are connected and how a pre-set goal can be reached through interactions among those driving forces.

Regarding Heihe, the most pressing problem is the dying out of the Tugay forest in downstream Heihe due to insufficient water coming from the upstream. Our basic idea is to take the Heihe River Basin as “a unit in social science” (Ciriacy-Wantrup, 1959). We propose the following solutions to solving water conflicts in the river basin:

  • Water market might be enlarged to the whole river basin, where the upstream region might buy surplus water from local farmers and then sell this water to the downstream region for ecological restoration

  • Investment in monitoring schemes

  • Upstream-downstream Synergy for emerging tourism

| Teaching |

SoSe 2013

Water cultures in contemporary China (050604)


| Publications |

Kerschbaumer, (Yu), L; Köbbing, J.F.; Ott, K.; Zerbe, S. and Thevs, N. 2011. Applying scenario technique for integrated river basin management: a theoretical reflection. Asian Wetland Symposium on Human Well-being and Wetlands, 11-13 October 2011, Wuxi, China. P. 288-291.

Köbbing, J.F.; Kerschbaumer (Yu), L.; Ott, K.; Zerbe, S.; Xu, J. and Thevs, N. 2011. A review: Trade-offs between commercial reed utilization and nutrient export from highly polluted lakes. Asian Wetland Symposium on Human Well-being and Wetlands, 11-13 October 2011, Wuxi, China. P. 113-115.

Borruso, L.; Köbbing, J.F.; Kerschbaumer (Yu), L.; Ott, K.; Thevs, N.; He, P.; Zerbe, S. and Brusetti, L. 2012: Connections between rhizobacterial communities of reed sediments and land-use in Zhangye City area (Gansu Province, China). Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology in the frame of the knowledge-based bio & green economy, EMB2012, 10-12 April 2012, Bologna, Italy.

Kerschbaumer, L. and Ott, K. 2013. Maintaining A River’s Healthy Life? – An Inquiry on Water Ethics and Water Praxis in the Upstream Region of China’s Yellow River. Water Alternatives 6(1): 107-124.

Jax, K.; Ott, K.; Kerschbaumer (Yu), L. (and 22 co-authors). 2013. Ecosystem Services and Ethics: Reclaiming the Ecosystem Services Concept. Submitted to Ecological Economics, under review.

Ziegler, R. and Kerschbaumer, L. expected 2013. Wasserethik. In Ott, K. and Muraca, B. (Hg.): Handbuch Umweltethik, Stuttgart: Metzler, appears 2013.