To save biodiversity and ecosystem functions in spite of increasing demands and competition, scientists are trying to determine for example, which societal goals are linked to ecosystem services. Apart from the type and condition of ecosystems, this also includes value perceptions, individual or collective actions and knowledge, legal and socio - economic requirements as well as the resilience of ecological, technical and social systems.
For an integrated management of water resources – both quantitatively and qualitatively – new management approaches and economic incentives are required, in addition to institutional frameworks such as the cross - border protection of water bodies or the protection from extreme events such as floods or droughts.
The sustainable provision and use of biomass presupposes a comprehensive systems analysis of renewable resources, which is to be carried out by engineers and scientists working alongside sociologists. While engineers analyse energy systems, lawyers are involved to sort out issues on regulations. Economists are interested in the economic context and the design of economic incentives, political scientists are concerned with governance structures and sociologists with acceptance issues. In addition, policy advice, scenario development and modelling and scenario building belong to a comprehensive assessment of integrated energy systems.
Life - styles, consumer behaviour and management practices are often directly or indirectly associated with the use of chemicals and chemical loads. Examples are the increasing use of pesticides in agriculture or nano - particles in clothes and cosmetics. Social scientists analyse how these risks are perceived, which knowledge is available and whether or not having knowledge (e.g. decision - making under ignorance) influences individual and societal behaviour as well as what the legal control options are.
One of the greatest challenges will be to illustrate the inter-action between humans and the environment in agent - based modelling and explorative modelling of environmental systems.