Dr. Thomas Hennig

Wiss. Mitarbeiter


+49 6421 28-24248 +49 6421 28-28950 hennig@geo 1 Deutschhausstraße 10
35032 Marburg
F|12 Deutsches Haus (Raum: +2/0310)


Philipps-Universität Marburg Geographie (Fb19) Physische Geographie Bodengeographie & Hydrogeographie Boden- und Wasserökosystemforschung

I am a geographer, and I love the many different and exciting facets of geography.
While trained in physical geography and hydrology/hydrogeography, I later broadened my focus to encompass energy and resource use and transdisciplinary cultural landscape research. My geographical focus is China and India in a regional and global context, and I conduct extensive field research in these countries.
Currently, I am working on several projects related to hydropower and river basin development, including:
  *   Environmental and socio-economic impacts of hydropower
  *   interactions and trade-offs of hydropower in the water-energy-food-environment nexus
  *   China’s unique role in regional and global hydropower development
  *   hydropower development in transnational river basins and related transboundary conflicts.

In 2020 I started to compile the World Index of Hydropower, Dams, and Reservoirs (WIHDR) – the most comprehensive and reliable global database on existing and future hydropower projects and reservoirs currently available. The curated database for large hydropower projects (≥10MW) is already finished. The database for small hydropower (1-10MW) and for large dams, reservoirs and diversion barrages (ICOLD-definition) has been under implementation.
In selected case study areas of transboundary Asian river basins, where the WIHDR-database is already complete (e.g. Himalaya-Karakoram, parts of China & SE Asia), it has been demonstrated that existing databases dominating the scientific discourse, represent only between 2 and 20 percent of the actual hydropower and reservoir development. As dams (hydropower projects and reservoirs) are among the most damaging human impacts in river basins, this substantial data gap causes considerable misunderstandings. Therefore, for an evidence based research and policy, we urgently need a reliable and detailed global database like WIHDR.

  • Vita

    2019 - 2022
    Researcher: DFG-project (Geographies of small hydropower development in selected transnational basins of Yunnan and Xinjiang/ PR China. A comparative analysis of the Water-Energy-Environment Nexus) in cooperation with Asian International River Center, China

    2018 – 2019
    Deputy Professor for Physical Geography at University of Koblenz (two semester)

    2017 – 2018
    Head (in charge) of Geolab at Faculty of Geography, University of Marburg

    2014 – 2016
    Researcher: DFG-project (Green and thirsty energy!? Yunnan's/SW-China’s fast-paced hydropower development and the water-energy-environment nexus) in cooperation with Asian International River Center, China

    2010 – 2013
    Researcher: DFG-project (Yunnan's rapidly expanding small hydropower sector - Actors, conflicts, environmental impacts and socio-economic consequences) in cooperation with Asian International River Center, China

    2005 – 2010
    Scientific assistant, lecturer and researcher at Faculty of Geography, University of Marburg

    2002 – 2005
    PhD-thesis: Changing Tanks. Irrigation dynamics, resource management and evolution of cultural landscapes in Rayalaseema, semiarid South-India
    Scholarship holder of Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes

  • Research

    Research Interests

    ·         Hydroelectricity and the Water-Energy-Food-Environment-Nexus

    ·         Physical Geography (especially hydrogeography and soil geography)

    ·         Energy Geography

    ·         Transdisciplinary Landscape Research

    Research (own projects)

    Geographies of (small) hydropower development in selected transnational basins of PR China (Yunnan and Xinjiang). A comparative analysis of the Water-Energy-Environment Nexus.

    ·         2019 – 2022 (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: HE 5951/6-1)
    ·         Cooperation with Asian International River Center (Kunming, PR China)

    Green and thirsty energy!? Yunnan’s (SW-China) fast-paced hydropower development and the Water-Energy-Nexus.

    ·         2014 - 2016 (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: HE 5951/4-1)
    ·         Cooperation with Asian International River Center (Kunming, PR China)

    Yunnan’s (PR China) rapidly expanding small hydropower sector. Actors, conflicts, environmental impacts and socio-economic consequences

    ·         2010 - 2013 (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: HE 5951/2-1)
    ·         Cooperation with Asian International River Center (Kunming, PR China)

    Analysis of hydropower development in Yunnan (PR China). Environmental impacts and socio-economic consequences in the context of Yunnan’s rapidly expanding SHP-sector

    ·         2007-2010; own resources        

     Changing Tanks. Irrigation dynamics, resource management and evolution of cultural landscapes in Rayalaseema, semiarid South-India

    ·         2002-2005; Sholarship of 'Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes' and own resources

  • Publications and important presentations


    Harlan T, Hennig T & D Magee (2023, submitted): Water-Energy-Nexus Geographies of the Himalayan Hydropower Boom: A novel application of the powershed framework. WIREs Water.

    Hennig T, Harlan T, Tilt B & D Magee (2023): Hydropower development in South Asia: Data challenges, new approaches, and implications for decision-making. WIREs Water 10: e1654

    Harlan T & T Hennig (2022): Beyond the battery nation. A Powershed analaysis of the Third Pole hydropower boom. Global Environmental Change 73: 102483.

    Hennig T (2022): Indien. Zwischen Reisfeld und IT-Zentrum. Diercke Geographie: 502-507. Bildungshaus Westermann.

    Nie Y, Pritchard HD, Liu Q, Hennig T, Wang WL, et al. (2021): Glacial change and hydrological implications in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 2: 91-106.

    Hennig T & B Klagge (2021): Chinas Boom im Stromsektor: Zwischen Kohlestrom, Kernkraft und erneuerbaren Energien. In: Becker S, Klagge B, Naumann M (Hrsg): Energiegeographie: 333-344; UTB/Ulmer

    Hennig T & D Magee (2020): The water-energy nexus of Southwest China’s rapid hydropower development. Challenges and trade-offs in the interaction between hydropower generation and utilization. In: Rosseau JF & S Habich-Sobiegalla (eds.), The political economy of hydropower in Southwest China and beyond: 25-47; Palgrave Macmillan (Springer Nature).

    Hennig T (2019): Globaler Energiehunger. Dynamik des rasanten Wasserkraftausbaus in Südwestchina. In: Brühne T & S Harnischmacher (Hrsg), Diercke Concept Mapping: 135-151; Bildungshaus Westermann.

    Hennig T & T Harlan (2018): Shades of green energy. Geographies of small hydropower in Yunnan (SW-China) and the challenges of over-development. Global Environmental Change 49: 116-128.

    Hennig T & D Magee (2017): Observations on the limits of dam and reservoir data and their consequences in Grill et al., and a call to action. Environmental Research Letters 12: 038001.

    Magee D & Hennig T (2017): Overbuilt and underused - Hydropower boom in China and along Asia’s rivers outpaces regional electricity demand. Will the expansion of hydropower shift the region towards a low carbon future, or simply over exploit a fragile ecosystem? China Dialogue and ThirdPole
    https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/9760-Hydropower-boom-in-China-and-along-Asia-s-rivers-outpaces-electricity-demand or https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/04/28/hydropower-boom-in-china-and-along-asias-rivers-outpaces-regional-electricity-demand/

    Hennig T (2017): Indien. Zwischen Reisfeld und Callcenter. Diercke Geographie: 502-507. Bildungshaus Westermann.

    Schiffer HP & T Hennig (2017): Die Rolle der Wasserkraft bei der globalen Energiewende. In: L. Holstenkamp und J. Radke (Hrsg.): Handbuch Energiewende und Partizipation: 643-663; Springer.

    Hennig T (2016): Damming the Transnational Ayeyarwaddy Basin. Hydropower and the Water-Energy Nexus. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 65: 1232-1246.

    Hennig T, He DM, Wang WL & D Magee (2016): Yunnan’s (SW China) power sector and its evolution as a major global hydropower hotspot. Water 8, 476.

    Hennig T (2016): Die globale Renaissance der Hydroenergie. Ursachen und Konsequenzen, Herausforderungen und Daten. Geographische Rundschau. Vol. 68 (11): 32-40.

    Hennig T (2016): Hydropower and environmental geographies in Yunnan's Ayeyarwady and Nu basin's.
    Available at: http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=75309

    Hennig T (2016): Indien. Bevölkerung-Landwirtschaft-Wirtschaft, Globalisierung & Infrastruktur. In: W Latz (Hrsg), Diercke Geographie. Bildungshaus Westermann: 498-507

    Hennig T (2015): Energy, Hydropower and Geopolitics - Northeast India and its Neighbors. A critical Review of the establishment of India's largest hydropower base. ASIEN 134 (No. 01/2015): 121-142.

    Hennig T (2015): Indiens großer Energiehunger. Zwischen ambitioniertem Ausbau, Fragilität und Reformstau. Geographische Rundschau. Vol. 67 (1): 24-31

    Hennig T (2014): Innerstaatliche und transnationale Wasserkonflikte in China und Indien. Jahresheft Geopolitik 2013 (Schriftenreihe Geoinformationsdienst der Bundeswehr): Heft 1: 20-29.

    Hennig T (2014): Yunnan: ein globaler Hydropower-Hotspot. Yunnans ambitionierter Hydroenergieausbau zwischen Kleinwasserkraft und Megastaudämmen, Ursachen und Auswirkungen. Marburger Geographische Schriften (ed.) Jahrbuch 2013: 109-129; parallel auch: Marburger Geographische Beiträge online

    Hennig T, Wang WL, Ou XK & DM He (2013): Review of Yunnan’s Hydropower Development. Comparing small and large hydropower projects regarding environmental implications and socio-economic consequences. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review 27 (11): 585-95

    Hennig T (2013): Trends, Probleme, Herausforderungen in Indiens Energiesektor. In: Lennartz et al. (Hrsg.): Aktuelle Forschungsbeiträge zu Südasien (= Geographien Südasien 1): 23-26.

    Hennig T (2013): Dimensionen und Implikationen des rasanten Wasserkraftausbaus in Yunnan, SW-China. In: Chifflard P, et al. (Hrsg): Beiträge zum 44. Jahrestreffen des AK Hydrologie 2012. Geographica Augustina, Bd. 13: 82-86

    Hennig T (2013): Chinas Hydroenergieausbau im globalen Wandel. Yunnan als zukünftig weltweit bedeutendster Wasserkrafterzeuger. Aktuelle Dynamik, Geo- und energiepolitischer Rahmen, hydroökologische Implikationen und die Rolle des CDM. In: Weingartner & Schädler (Hrsg.): Wasserressourcen im globalen Wandel. Hydrologische Grundlagen - von der Messung zur Anwendung. Tag der Hydrologie 2013: S. 137

    Hennig T & Wang WL (2012): Implications of Yunnan's (China) aggressive hydropower development (LHP & SHP) on regional food security, changing land utilization and livelihood. World Water Week, Stockholm, Abstract Vol.: 53-54
    www.worldwaterweek.org/ documents/Resources/Synthesis/Abstract-Volume-2012.pdf

    Hennig T (2012): Cumulative impacts of small hydropower development in Yunnan (SW-China) and their role in the CDM, BioAsia 2012, Bangalore, India, Aug 2012

    Sun ZD, Huang Q, Opp C, Hennig T, Marold U (2012): Impacts and implications of major changes caused by the Three Gorges Dam in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China. Water Resources Management 26 (12): 3367-3378.

    Hennig T (2012): Damming China and India. An overview over challenges and implications of the rapid hydropower development. In: Samadi-Boroujeni H (ed.), Hydropower – Practice and Application: 293-320, Intech Publ

    Sun ZD, Chang N, Opp C & T Hennig (2011): Evaluation of Ecological Restoration through Vegetation Patterns in the Lower Tarim River, China with MODIS NDVI Data. Ecological Informatics. Vol 6: 156-163

    Hennig, Th. (2011): Yunnan – Chinas schönste Provinz. In: Jahrbuch 2010 der Marburger Geographischen Gesellschaft: 110-145

    Hennig T, Langenberger G & L Tang (2010): Boon and bane of SW-China’s ‘White Gold’. History, environmental implications and socio-economic consequences. Geographische Rundschau International Edition Vol 5 (4): 36-43  

    Hennig T (2010, neu bearbeitet): Indien. Herausforderungen auf dem Weg zur Wirtschaftsmacht. In: W Latz (Hrsg), Diercke Geographie. Bildungshaus Westermann: 498-507

    Sun ZD, Opp C & T Hennig (2009): Modelling the stream flow change in a poorly gauged mountainous watershed, Southern Tienshan Mountain using multi-source remote sensing data. Proc. SPIE, Vol. 7472: 747206-6

    Hennig T (2009): Entwicklungspotentiale in Südwestchina. Hintergründe und Auswirkungen zu Yunnans ambitioniertem Hydroenergie- und Verkehrsinfrastrukturausbau. Asien 112/113: 103-122

    Hennig T & L Linde (2008): Bewegung an der Peripherie. Politische und wirtschaftliche Annäherung in den südostasiatischen Grenzregionen zwischen Indien und China. Geographische Rundschau, Vol. 60 (4): 42-51

    Hennig T (2008): Der Cauvery-Disput. Konflikt um Wasser in Südindien. Geographische Rundschau, Vol. 60 (4): 52-57

    Hennig T (2007): Energie für Chinas Wachstum. Eine kritische Betrachtung zur Nutzung der Wasserenergie in Yunnan. Geographische Rundschau, Vol. 59 (11): 44-53

    Hennig T (2007): Indiens Landwirtschaft im Kontext des indischen Wirtschaftswachstums. Praxis Geographie, Vol. 37 (6): 33-37

    Hennig T (2007): Indien. Herausforderungen auf dem Weg zur Wirtschaftsmacht. In: W Latz (Hrsg), Diercke Geographie. Bildungshaus Westermann: 498-507

    Hennig T (2006): Bewässerungsdynamik in Südindien. Vom Niedergang der traditionellen Tankbewässerung in Andhra Pradesh. Geographische Rundschau, Vol. 58 (7-8): 50-57

    Hennig T (2006): Changing Tanks – Irrigation and the Evolution of Cultural Landscapes in South India. Geographische Rundschau International Edition, Vol. 2 (2): 22-28

    Hennig T (2006): Bewässerungsdynamik, Ressourcenmanagement und Kulturlandschaftsentwicklung in Tankeinzugsgebieten Rayalaseemas, semiarides Südindien. In: Jahrbuch 2005 der Marburger Geographischen Gesellschaft: 72-79

    Hennig T (2005): Tanks im Wandel. Bewässerungsdynamik, Ressourcenmanagement und Kulturlandschaftsentwicklung in Tankeinzugs-gebieten Rayalaseemas, semiarides Südindien. Görich & Weiershäuser, Wissenschaft in Dissertationen, Bd. 810, 277 Seiten


    Important conferences and presentations

    ·         Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers (Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans)
    ·         IDAM-Workshop at Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC    

    ·         World Water Week (Stockholm)

    PR China:
    ·         Knowledge Exchange on International Waters (Tsinghua & Yunnan Universities)
    ·         Climate Change and Environmental Protection (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Kunming)
    ·         ADB-GMS Workshop on Environmental Performance Index (Kunming)
    ·         Universities of Hongkong & Kunming   

    ·         EU-ASEAN Workshop: Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Mekong Region (AIT Bangkok)

    ·         EU Green Week

    ·         Paris STI-Days (EU-ASEAN Workshop)

    ·         Bio Asia (Bangalore)
    ·         Universities of Hyderabad, Anantapur, Guwahati

    ·         Geographentage
    ·         GIZ Eschborn* (Hydropower development in Afrika)
    ·         Bonn/Euskirchen* (Krieg um Wasser?; Geopolitisches Kolloquium der Bundeswehr)
    ·         diverse Arbeitskreise (z.B. Hydrologie; Geographische Energieforschung, Südostasien, Südasien)
    ·         Gesellschaftsvorträge zu Wasserthemen (u.a. München, Köln, Marburg)

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