Research interests

Agriculture covers more than 55 million km² of land and thus is the largest human-made ecosystem on Earth. Thereby, agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, global deforestation and biodiversity loss. At the same time, agriculture is severely affected by climate change. In addition, demand for agricultural commodities for food, feed, fiber and the growing bio-economy is expected to strongly increase in the future. The major challenge for agriculture is to adapt to these changes and increase productivity while not further stressing ecosystems and reducing GHG emissions.

My research aims at understanding the mutual feedbacks between the environment and the agricultural system from local to global scale to make it more sustainable and resilient, by using different model approaches with the goal to develop a digital twin of the global agricultural system. Thereby, my research focuses on the one hand on the modelling of agricultural suitability and the bio-physical modelling of crop growth and agricultural yields under different historical and possible future climate conditions, possible extreme events, and different agricultural management and adaptation measures. On the other hand, by coupling these bio-physical models with economic CGE models, integrated model approaches have been developed that allow for the spatial simulation of land-use considering tele-connection effects of local consumptions to global land use by international trade. This allows to assess trade-offs between climate change adaptation and mitigation, the provision of food, biodiversity intactness, and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Current and previous positions

Since 01/2024

Senior researcher at University of Basel, Switzerland.


Assistant Professor (temporary position) at the Department of Geography, LMU Munich, Germany.


Post-Doc at the Department of Geography, LMU Munich, Germany, in the GLUES project: ‘Global assessment of land use dynamics on greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem services’.


PhD Student at the Department of Geography, LMU Munich, Germany.


Education and key qualifications


Awarded ‘Venia Legendi’ in the field of Geography at LMU Munich, Germany.


Completion of the habilitation. Awarded ‘Facultas Docendi’ in the field of Geography at LMU Munich, Germany. Mentors: Prof. Wolfram Mauser, Prof. Ralf Seppelt, Prof. Alexander Löw; Prof. Tobias Hank; External Review: Prof. Sonja Seneviratne.


Doctorate at LMU Munich within the GLOWA-Danube project. Graduation with summa cum laude. Supervisors: Prof. Wolfram Mauser, Prof. Ralf Ludwig.


Diploma in physical geography at LMU Munich, Germany.
Minor subjects: computer science, remote sensing.


Florian Portrait

PD Dr. Florian Zabel

Senior Researcher


ORCID: 0000-0002-2923-4412 

Accounts: Google Scholar, Research Gate, Twitter


Klingelbergstrasse 27

4056 Basel, Switzerland