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.
Ecological-economic modelling has been proven to be an effective method for integrating ecology and economics.
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.