Ecological-Economic Modelling

Most of the world's ecosystems are affected by human activities, be it indirectly e.g. through human-induced climate change or directly e.g. through land clearing and harvesting of resources. The conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem services therefore have an ecological as well as an economic dimension. Deriving strategies to conserve biodiversity and use the resources of ecosystems in a sustainable manner requires the integrated consideration of both these dimensions.

ecoTRADE results
Results from the EcoTRADE project (see project link below). To the left: Snapshot of the multiplayer online game developed to demonstrate the functioning of a market for tradable land-use permits. To the right: Agent-based simulation of a permit market. Depending on the economic dynamics and market rules different spatio-temporal land-use patterns emerge.
Ecological-economic modelling has been proven to be an effective method for integrating ecology and economics.
phase diagram
Phase diagram (each dot represent a point in time) of the spatio-temporal dynamics in a landscape managed for a mobile deer population (see publication Touza et al. (2013) below). The dynamics depend on whether the agents are interested in hunting or in biodiversity conservation.
At the Department of Ecological Modelling it is especially applied to design cost-effective market-based instruments for the conservation of biodiversity, such as payments for environmental measures and tradable land use permits. Other topics of research are resource management (see also link to social-ecological modelling below) and energy policy. A multitude of methods is used such as ecological and economic modelling, numerical optimisation and agent-based modelling. The research is carried out in collaboration with economists from the Department of Economics at the UFZ and from other institutions. Sometimes the Department of Ecological Modelling itself hosts economic modellers.

Selected Publications