GCEF – Global Change Experimental Facility

Short description:

GCEF is an outdoor test facility at the UFZ research station in Bad Lauchstaedt near Halle. Large field plots allow to simulate climatic conditions that are expected for the future (primarily elevated temperatures and especially in summer reduced precipitation).

Major research issues/sites:

The GCEF (started in 2013) aims to investigate the effects of climate change on ecosystem functions under different types of land use. Special emphasizes lies on the role of soil processes, plant invasions, species interactions and microevolution. The GCEF provides a research infrastructure which is open for a wide array of research questions which will be determined in detail by a consortium of collaborating partners.

Short technical description:

On 25 field plots (16 m x 24 m) climate is manipulated according to future scenarios e.g. reduced summer precipitation and increased night temperatures. For this, the plots are equipped with a large steel construction with mobile roofs and side panels as well as an irrigation system which allows simulation of a wide range of precipitation patterns. Five different land use types (different types of grasslands an fallow fields)) are established. In addition, the same land use types are established on control plots with ambient climate (only steel construction without roofs and irrigation).

Specific features/uniqueness:

  • Simulation of realistic scenarios with natural variability instead of investigation under highly controlled conditions.

  • First experiment investigating climate change effects on different land use types under similar settings.
  • Large plots (16 m x 24 m), long duration (> 15 years): relevant temporal and spatial scales.
  • Interdisciplinary approach: integration of ecological, environmental, agricultural and socioeconomic aspects (within the UFZ and in cooperation with partners)

Options and conditions for visiting scientists:

The GCEF is open to any kind of research which is not contradictory to the research projects implemented by the GCEF consortium of the UFZ and cooperating institutes. Applications for research projects will be reviewed by the GCEF consortium.

Unit Cost of use and principles of costing:

Basic running costs of the facility will be paid by UFZ. Personal costs, consumables and travel costs for external projects have to be paid by the external partners.

centre running the infrastructure:

UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

type of facility:

Observatory / large-scale experimental field site


  • UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Phone: +49 341 235-0

Dr. Martin Schädler