Work Package 2 - Relationships & feedbacks between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services along gradients of land use intensities and across scales

The central objective in WP 2 is to develop concepts and tools for identifying relationships between abiotic parameters, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and services and their trade-offs along a land-use gradient from urban via agricultural to (semi-)natural landscapes, including the two extreme strategies of land sparing and land sharing, where, for the sake of this IP, we define land sparing as complete protection of a given landscape parcel, and land sharing as circumstances where human usage seeks to concomitantly maintain biodiversity. Although several aspects of the relationships of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem services (ESS) are well investigated, a comprehensive conceptual framework is still missing, especially in the context of competing land demands and corresponding ESS and their scaling issues. Processes and mechanisms behind these relationships are not well understood. Further, a comprehensive framework of indicators or monitoring schemes that integrate these aspects is also lacking.

Grafik WP 2 Visualising the conceptual framework for WP 2

Main research questions

  • What are the best indicators and monitoring schemes including abiotic factors and processes, biodiversity and its interaction networks for ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services in different landscapes?
  • How do interaction networks of organisms operating at different temporal and spatial scales (e. g. forest trees and microorganisms or plants and their pollinators) react and mediate adaption to changing environmental conditions (both natural and man-made)?
  • How does land use affect the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services?
  • What are the scaling properties of these relationships across local, landscape, national and European scales?
  • Which factors determine whether an extremely biologically degraded site can recover?
  • What is necessary in terms of management, policy and monitoring in order to improve current knowledge and action across scales?


Dr. Oliver Schweiger
Department of Community Ecology
UFZ Halle

Dr. Oliver Schweiger