Work Package 3 - Assessing and modelling multifunctional landscapes

Finding pathways towards sustainable management of landscapes requires an in-depth understanding of the complex relationships and underlying processes between environmental conditions, biodiversity, land-use and ecosystem services.

Work Package 3 focuses on two main objectives:

  • Understanding and analysing the current relationships between land use, biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services in different land use types and intensities at different spatial scales    

  • Modelling potential changes and solutions for optimized multifunctional landscapes that simultaneously deliver multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity.

In pursuit of these subjects, we aim to understand the impacts of different land use systems on species distributions/abundances and the capacity of landscapes to provide ecosystem services. Taking into account external drivers (e.g. EU policies) we analyse current trade-offs and synergies and model presumed changes depending on altered land use (intensity) and landscape structure (composition and configuration). We also aim at quantifying landscape multifunctionality using geospatial information and at understanding its drivers. Finally, our goal is to identify the best possible land use/land cover patterns to minimize trade-offs between different ecosystem services considering societal preferences, strategies and goals.
These analyses include assessments based on different foci of optimization, such as prioritizing selected species/functional traits or various ecosystem services. Together with stakeholders, we also work on methods to post-process (e.g. cluster, filter, visualise) and interpret optimisation results. Finally, we elaborate on the potential benefits of linking explorative modelling with ABMs to infer land-use policy strategies required to achieve optimal land use/land cover patterns.

In summary, we focus on the following research questions:

  • How do land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services interact?
  • How can we best identify, understand and visualise trade-offs, synergies and drivers of multifunctionality?
  • What are “optimal land use patterns”, how would they benefit society and how can we get there?


  • Development of conceptual frameworks on trade-offs, synergies and multifunctionality
  • Statistical analysis of geospatial biodiversity and ecosystem service data/indicators
  • Participatory approaches (e.g. interviews/workshops) to improve (i) the selection and socio-economic evaluation of core/relevant ecosystem services and biodiversity indicators and (ii) the analysis and visualization of optimization results
  • Application (and adaptation) of existing biodiversity and ecosystem service models to capture and forecast temporal dynamics of ecosystem services relationships
  • Model integration into the multi-criteria optimization platform ( CoMOLA )

Lead Scientist

     Dr. Anna Cord
    Department of Computational Landscape Ecology


     Dr. Michael Beckmann
    Department of Computational Landscape Ecology

     Dr. Michael Strauch
    Department of Computational Landscape Ecology