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Fecha:Lunes, 21 de Noviembre, 2005  12:36:47 (-0300)
Autor:Centro Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 95/05


Since there have been structural changes in the University of Munich, the Institutes for Geography of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and the Technical University were merged and are now combined in the Sektion Geography of the Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences of the Ludwig-Maximilians University.

Contact/person in charge for Latin American Studies: Prof. Dr. O. Baume (

The research group of Prof. Dr. O. Baume at the Department for Earth- and Environmental Sciences (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany) focuses its research activities since 1992 on Latin America. Research Projects and educational activities as well as graduating studies took place in Cuba, Mexico and Brazil. The last project coordinated by this research group was: 
Sustainability in water management and land use in Havana-Region



Research Network

Research was done in a small network, formed by an international scientific team of four universities. The Department for Earth- and Environmental Sciences (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany; Prof. Dr. O. Baume) was the Co-ordinator on the one hand and a scientific participant on the other hand. Further scientific participants were the Faculty of Geography of the University of Havana (Cuba; Prof. Dr. J. Mateo Rodriguez), the Ecology-Department (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain; Dr. J. P. Ruiz) and the Institute of Geography (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico; Prof. Dr. J. L. Palacio Prieto).

The team followed an interdisciplinary approach, where the special tasks were assigned to the respective participating disciplines: Geography, Landscape Ecology, Human Ecology, Climatology, Hydrology, Biology, Economic and Political Sciences, Sociology, Psychology, Architecture, Computing Technology and Sciences etc. Work was done in an especially designed equitable partnership, where scientists participated in the different tasks due to their special knowledge and to their further scientific interests. Exchange of knowledge was assured as for each task international working groups were built with participation of members of all four partners.

Funding of the research took place in the frame of the Vth Framework Programme of the European Commission (INCO-DEV). CAESAR started in September 2002 and finished successfully in August 2005.



Main aim of CAESAR was the development of sustainable environmental management systems for land use and water management for the urban-rural interface in the Havana region, Cuba. An integrated and interdisciplinary geoecological analysis and assessment of environmental systems was the basis of the project. Recent processes relating to landscape degradation, current and historical land use, in particular water management were analysed. In accordance with natural (climatic, geological, geomorphologic, hydrological conditions, soils and vegetation), economical and social basic conditions, guidelines were drawn up for sustainable territorial planning, from which a suitable land use planning and an adequate water management could be derived. The projects recommendations, concerning as well health related issues and measures of communal participation, contribute as a whole to an improvement in the quality of life.


Methodologies and activities

The drainage basins of the rivers Río Almendares and Río Quibú are, because of taking 25% of the cities territory and their therefore decisive and important role in town planning of Havana, treated as exemplary areas for the detailed qualitative recording of data. By means of en environmental monitoring the research area was analysed in terms of its natural and human geography. The opinions and attitudes of social protagonists on environmental problems were examined in terms of social scientific perception methods and the geomedical conditions were analysed. Results on the geoecological conditions and the landscape degradation were used to elaborate recommendations for suitable environmental political measures based on scientific discussions. Educational, informational and awareness measures were recommended and will be used to illustrate environmental problems using for example a modern multimedia documentation elaborated by the consortium. Application orientated transferability of the research approach applied in the Havana region was illustrated on similar urban – peri-urban regions with similar conditions in Latin America, or rather the wider peri-urban region of Mexico City. In proposing environmental friendly utilization alternatives orientated on sustainable geoecological principles, an improvement in quality of life in rural-urban interface could be achieved. Technical aims of the project were the development of a geoecological database for soils, hydrology and vegetation, as well as a problem related and application orientated Geographical Information System (GIS).


Obtained results

All main project findings were reported to the decision-makers and stakeholders (governmental organisations, planning institutions etc.) in the Havana region. As well the GIS and the respective databases were delivered to the local governments and planning institutions to fulfil the commitment of the transfer of knowledge from the project to stakeholders and decision makers and to contribute to an improvement of decision making. Working closely with local organisations like the Talleres de Transformación Integral del Barrio (TTIB) or local leaders enabled their participation in project tasks as well as the uptake of project results. With the cooperation of local leaders, a concrete take-up action could be realised, starting the transformation of an abandoned quarry within a marginal quarter in the city of Havana (at the banks of the Quibú river), converting it to an environmental park or demonstrative area, suitable for neighbourhood recreation and environmental education related activities. This is only one example of how the integrative CAESAR-project focussed the research activities as well at the service of society and contributes so to overcome certain societal problems. E.g. the whole package of the projects recommendations, concerning as well health related issues and measures of communal participation, contribute to an improvement in the quality of life.

The increased experience of the Cuban scientists and the created necessary infrastructure will help to a future application to other similar regions inside the country. Here is to be mentioned that the Facultad de Geografía of the Universidad de La Habana, representative for the whole CAESAR team, has won the 2004 National Award of the Ministry of Higher Education for the best applied research project. As well the Cuban Ministry for Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) awarded the CAESAR-project with the prize: “Recognition for the contribution to the development of the environmental management in the Cuban capital. Cuba Verde, for a sustainable future” (03.06.2005, Dia Internacional del Medio Ambiente, Acuario Nacional, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba). Further an immense number of students graduated (diploma, master and doctorate) in the frame of the CAESAR project.

In the frame of the 30th Conference of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS-AEC), hold in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in June 2005, the CAESAR project contributed in the creation of the network for Urban Ecology in the Caribbea