Extended Job Description

(Information for Applicants of Post 1052)


In the Department Computational Landscape Ecology we aim at understanding how land-use intensity affects resource availability (ecosystem service) and how landscapes could be managed optimally to obtain resources and preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

Utilising field observations, remote sensing data and regional investigations of socio-environmental systems we develop and use integrated simulation models, which provide an understanding of the interactions of human resource use (ecosystem services) in landscapes. Models encompass water and matter dynamics, species distribution models and aggregated models of species interaction such as pollination and pest control. Scientists in the Department utilise data from many regional case studies.

The post is designed to foster global-scale analysis based on synthesis of regional scale findings based on meta-analysis and statistical analysis. It should focus on the following topics and research questions:

  • Which conditions lead to a diverse and low intense land-use and what conditions imply the contrary?
  • Which socio-environmental conditions determine the option space for possible land-use management strategies?
  • Besides biophysical and environmental conditions, what are the socio-economic factors that determine that option space (markets, stakeholder networks, law, values)?
  • What are possible leverages for implementation of land management options?
  • What are (globally) hot-spot regions, interesting regions with respect to resource use conflicts?

Thus we aim at better understanding of socio-ecological systems with respect to diversity of resource use (ecosystem services) and various levels of land-use intensity on a global scale utilizing regional scale case studies.

Our Approach: Meta-analytic approaches are key to assess how valuable regional research results are for a global scale research perspective. For this we identify key land system indicators that allow transferability of results. To do this, we use large volumes of data (including global data) and develop statistical procedures for regionalisation and to estimate how representative regional results and recommendations are for land use in a global context. In utilizing and applying the resolved knowledge, we support the development of options for the appropriation of limited, naturally renewed resources and ecosystems and prevent potential conflicts of use. Our objective is to use interdisciplinary collaboration and methods to develop management options for maintaining the productivity of our landscapes while at the same time safeguarding ecosystem functions and biodiversity.

Your contribution: In doing so, you should provide an integrative function in the department and the research area of the UFZ, such as

  1. add complementary knowledge on socio-environmental system but staying in a natural science context,
  2. provide competences on synthesis and an integration function through cooperating with various regional projects conducted in the Department and the research area of the UFZ, as well as
  3. bring in a global perspective and institutionalized synthesis work (meta-analysis, related stats)

Further Reading

  1. Cord, A. F., Brauman, K. A., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Huth, A., Ziv, G., & Seppelt, R. (2017). Priorities to Advance Monitoring of Ecosystem Services Using Earth Observation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution ( doi )
  2. Václavík, T., F. Langerwisch, M. Cotter, J. Fick, I. Häuser, S. Hotes, J. Kamp, J. Settele, J. H. Spangenberg, R. Seppelt. 2016. Investigating Potential Transferability of Place-Based Research in Land System Science. Environmental Research Letters 11(9): 095002. ( doi ).
  3. Seppelt, R., M. Beckmann, S. Ceauşu, A.F. Cord, K. Gerstner, J. Gurevitch, S. Kambach, S. Klotz, C. Mendenhall, H.R.P. Phillips, K. Powell, P.H. Verburg, W. Verhagen, M. Winter, T. Newbold. 2016. Harmonizing Biodiversity Conservation and Productivity in the Context of Increasing Demands on Landscapes. BioScience. ( doi )
  4. Hermans-Neumann, K., Gerstner, K., G.eijzendorffer, I.R., Herold, M., Seppelt, R.,Wunder, S. 2016. Why Do Forest Products Become Less available? A Pan-Tropical Comparison of Drivers of Forest-Resource Degradation. Environmental Research Letters 11(12): 125010. ( doi ).
  5. Seppelt, R., Manceur, A.M., Liu, J., Fenichel, E.P., Klotz, S. (2014). Synchronized peak-rate years of global resources use. Ecology and Society 19(4): 50. doi:10.5751/ES-07039-190450 ( doi )
  6. Gerstner, K., Dormann, C.F., Stein, A., Manceur, A.M. & Seppelt, R. (2014). Effects of land use on plant diversity - A global meta-analysis. Journal for Applied Ecology. ( doi )