Exploring the links between biodiversity and human health
Preventable, non-communicable disease, such as mental illness, obesity and cardiovascular disease, account for 77% of the total disease burden in Europe and significantly drive up the cost of health care. Increases in non-communicable diseases, and biodiversity loss are among the greatest global challenges modern society is facing today. While biodiversity forms our central human life-support system on our globe, human activities are also responsible for the accelerating loss of biodiversity. In order to improve both our health and to protect our environment, we need to better understand how biodiversity matters for human health and well-being.
Increasingly, science is starting to unravel how biodiversity impacts on human health and well-being. From this research, we start to understand the different mechanisms and what doses of biodiversity may be needed to improve our health. Many different disciplines need to be involved to understand the ‘big picture’ of how biodiversity influences our health. Often, however, information from one scientific field is not shared with those from another scientific field.
What is needed is to break down this silo-thinking and to organise and synthesise the existing knowledge in a way that helps reveal the ‘big picture’. In the beautiful scenery of Schloß Herrenhausen in Hannover, 28 European experts from public health, medicine, psychology, ecology and geography, will meet in a workshop, organised by Dr Melissa Marselle and Prof Aletta Bonn, to discuss a framework describing the various ways by which biodiversity influences human health and physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
A biodiversity and health framework is required to aid action by both public health professionals and nature conservation experts. This framework can aid the development of natural ‘health treatments’ in which biodiverse environments are used to reduce stress, depression or encourage physical activity. Management of biodiversity could therefore form a globally important (natural) health service.
Lab Retreat Bavarian National Park
In June we went on our annual lab retreat to the Bavarian Forest National Park. The NP Bavarian Forest, established in 1965, is a mixed mountain forest, the largest protected forest area in central Europe, known for its strict ecological process-focussed conservation policy (“let nature be nature”) and interesting biodiversity development after a large bark beetle outbreak in 1983/84 and also subsequent years. PD Dr Marco Heurich welcomed us with a guided tour of the NP research sites (https://www.nationalpark-bayerischer-wald.bayern.de/forschung/projekte/index.htm), that e.g. evaluate the population dynamics and impact of the bark beetle and regeneration of natural vegetation, forest carbon dynamics, lynx monitoring as well as natural carcass decomposition dynamics. Besides the wonderful nature impressions, the main focus of the retreat was on team building and collaboration to bring in everybody’s expertise and knowledge in ongoing and upcoming research projects and in furthering new ideas. The fun and concentrated balance needed to walk on a slackline also inspired us to develop new ideas and develop our team projects.
My voluntary ecological year for ecosystem research
My voluntary ecological year for ecosystem research
My name is Sophia Padelat, since September 2017 I am running a Voluntary Ecological Year at the UFZ-Department Ecosystem Services (ESS). The Department's tasks include the scientifically sound recording, evaluation and better understanding of the state of ecosystems and their benefits for mankind.
That the scientific work of the department is up-to-date is also shown by the nationwide political activities on insect extinction, which is on everyone's lips. This year's coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD, for example, states that one of the political tasks is to combat insect extinction. So it is time for action.
Insects are part of ecosystems, for example as pollinators they are important natural service providers. The Department ESS uses participatory methods to record biological diversity. This includes research with people, also known as Citizen Science. At the UFZ the Tagfalter Monitoring Deutschland (TMD) was initiated, which is supported by volunteers.
My FÖJ at the UFZ gives me insights into this voluntary research project and the scientific research of Citizen Science topics. Only recently I took part in the TMD workshop. I got to know the course of such a workshop and learned for example more about butterfly protection, the influence of climate change and the endangerment of butterflies. Of course, insect mortality was also an issue, because various butterfly species are threatened or are probably already extinct.
With the beginning of the warmer temperatures the transect censuses start in Germany and I can also support the work on a transect in Leipzig. This gives me the opportunity to get to know research in the field of ecosystem services in practice. I am looking forward to working in the "field" and I look forward to what awaits me in the second half of my voluntary year.
I would like to thank my UFZ colleagues Elisabeth Kühn (Department of Biocenosis Research) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Zehnsdorf (Department of Environmental and Biotechnology Centre) for the opportunity to participate in TMD, and my mentors Dr. Anett Richter and Prof. Aletta Bonn (Department of Ecosystem Services).
Sophia Padelat, FÖJlerin at the UFZ
Parliamentary evening on insect decline
On 19 April, the Landesvertretung of Mecklenburg Vorpommern hosted a federal parliamentary evening for members of parliament in Berlin and invited guests from agencies and NGOs. Environment minister Svenja Schulze gave a keynote and joined a podium discussion with experts from policy and science, among them Till Backhaus, Mecklenburg Vorpommern environment minister, Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO Wildtierstiftung, Prof. Teja Tscharntke, University of Göttingen, and Aletta Bonn.
There was a clear call for a change in agricultural practice and to act now, as well as to change European funding streams through the Common Agricultural Policy. Actions need to be accompanied by research into cause-effect relationships and a German-wide insect monitoring, and UFZ and iDiv can contribute their expertise towards this. The suggestion to involve experts from natural history societies and to strengthen citizen science in the insect monitoring programme was welcomed by the minister
iDiv Internship Summary of Liyana Nayan
During my semester break, I participated in a five-week long internship with the Ecosystem Services research group at iDiv. I had the opportunity to work with Dr Emilie Crouzat in the H2020 ECOPOTENTIAL project, assessing the cultural ecosystem services (CES) over three national parks in Europe; the Swiss National Park, the Austrian Kalkalpen National Park, and the Peneda-Gerês National Park in Portugal. My main responsibility was to design a survey that will be used in the parks over the course of summer 2018. The main objectives of the survey are to discover the CES enjoyed by the park visitors and how the parks’ biophysical indicators contribute to the visitors’ experience. The data that we collected would then ensure complementarity with the information gathered from focus group meetings and geophysical modelling. The tangible data would also enable us to observe the gaps between CES demand and supply and assess different kinds of opportunity for CES in the national parks. Working with the ESS team on an on-going, large-scale project has enabled me to grow professionally and academically and I cherish my experience working with the team!
Msc Ecosystem Services
TU Dresden-IHI Zittau
Workshops to assess ecosystem services in mountain protected areas
In the context of the, the ESS team (Aletta Bonn, Andrea Büermann, Volker Grescho and Emilie Crouzat) organized in March and April 2018 three workshops to assess ecosystem services in mountain protected areas. Each workshop targeted one of the national parks studied by the ESS team in collaboration with the local park managers and scientific partners: the Swiss National Park, the Austrian Northern Limestone National Park, and the Portuguese Peneda-Geres National Park. For each park and its surroundings, participants with diverse backgrounds (park managers, tourism, conservation, forestry …) collectively identified hotspots for cultural ecosystem services and discussed their main drivers and trends. The workshops were also the opportunity to prepare the upcoming field work of summer 2018, when the visitors’ perceptions and uses of cultural ecosystem services in the three national parks will be collected.
Aletta Bonn on landscape restoration
In this 3-minute video by Cambridge Conservation Initiative, Aletta Bonn, Head of Ecosystem Services, Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, talks about the importance, challenges and good practice in landscape restoration.
“Restoration is a key principle to bring Natural Capital back into landscapes. We should see restoration as an investment into our future and into the future of our children”. Click on the picture to get to the video.
Focus group meeting at Natural Heritage Sites in Germany (Nationales Naturerbe)
In mid-January, two focus group discussions on historical ecosystem services on natural heritage sites were held in Wahner Heide and Stegskopf. Participants from nature conservation, forestry, agriculture, from local historical societies, and administration came together. During the discussions they exchanged on the cultural and environmental history of the natural heritage sites. Various ecosystem services were discussed interactively by means of maps and posters.
The events are part of the feasibility study “Historical ecosystem services on natural heritage sites in Germany”, which is funded by the DBU and carried out in cooperation with Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Bund Heimat und Umwelt in Deutschland (BHU) and Wissenschaftliches Büro Leipzig.
The 1-year feasibility study serves to assess historical land-use requirements in cultural landscapes of high natural and cultural value. We develop and test methods to support the combination of historical cultural needs and nature conservation requirements on three selected natural heritage sites.
More information at:
Citizen Science in der Deutschen Botschaft in Delhi (Indien)
Neu-Delhi. Am 7. November fand in Neu-Delhi ein deutsch-indisches Symposium zum Thema Wissenschaftskommunikation unter dem Titel „Bringing Science to people“ statt. UFZ/iDiv-Wissenschaftlerin Anett Richter stellte Konzepte und Best-Practice-Beispiele aus Ihrer Arbeit im Bereich Citizen Science vor. Teil der Veranstaltung war ebenfalls ein Besuch der indischen Universität Punjab, welcher mit Unterstützung des Netzwerkes der Humboldtstipendiaten ermöglicht wurde.
“We need you”: UN climate chief to Potsdam climate scientists
10/13/2017 - Hundreds of millions of people will be affected by climate change impacts and their implications for health or migration already within the next few decades, sectors that so far often get overlooked in this context. This is one of the insights of the Impacts World Conference organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany this week. About 500 scientists from 67 countries were gathering at the conference with the title “Counting the true costs of climate change” to push climate impact research to the next level by better integrating socio-economic factors. At the same time, the institute celebrated its 25th anniversary hosting this meeting of the global impacts research community, in the spirit of its mission followed for a quarter century: further advancing scientific progress and communicating insights to stakeholders.
Further Information / Source:
Experten-Workshop zur Entwicklung eines Leitfadens über die Historischen Ökosystemleistungen auf Naturerbeflächen
Vom 05. – 06. September 2017 fand der Experten-Workshop zur Entwicklung eines Leitfadens über die Historischen Ökosystemleistungen auf Naturerbeflächen auf der Burg Wissem in der Nähe der DBU Naturerbefläche „Wahner Heide“ statt.
Der Workshop war im Rahmen des Projekts „Historische Ökosystemleistungen auf Naturerbeflächen“ organisiert. Dieses ist eine einjährige Machbarkeitsstudie zur Untersuchung von historischen Nutzungsansprüchen von Kulturlandschaften mit hohem naturschutzfachlichen und kulturhistorischen Wert. Auf ausgewählten Naturerbeflächen werden dabei Methoden entwickelt und erprobt, die aufweisen, wie Bedarfe aus dem Naturschutz sowie Kulturgüterschutz an diese Räume zu vereinen sind. Dabei wird auf das Konzept der ökosystemaren Dienstleistungen (ÖSL) zurückgegriffen und dieses im Rahmen des Vorhabens weiterentwickelt.
Der Workshop hatte das Ziel, ExpertInnen aus den Bereichen historischer Entwicklungen von Ökosystemleistungen (Kultur- und Naturlandschaften) zusammenzubringen und gemeinsam die Erstellung einer Übersicht über Methoden für die Konzeption eines Leitfadens zur Erfassung der historischen Entwicklung von DBU-Naturerbeflächen voranzubringen.
Neuer Artikel im MDR zum Tag der biologischen Vielfalt: "Citizen Science - ohne Freizeitforscher geht es nicht"
"Ohne Citizen Science, die Bürgerforschung, wüssten wir wohl kaum so genau, wie es um unsere Artenvielfalt bestellt ist. Keine wissenschaftliche Einrichtunge könnte leisten, was die etwa zehn Millionen Freiwilligen in ihrer Freizeit beobachten und dokumentieren. Aber was treibt uns überhaupt dazu an, Vögel zu zählen und Käfer zu bestimmen?" Unsere Mitarbeiterin Frau Dr. Anett Richter stand dem Mitteldeutschen Rundfunk dazu Rede und Antwort. Den Artikel dazu gibt hier:
European network for Citizen Science established
The remarkable growth of citizen science in Europe demands actions to bundle capacities for citizen science. With the funding of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology Funding Scheme (COST Action CA15212),researchers from all sciences and scholars from 32 European countries will investigate and extend the impact of the scientific, educational, policy, and civic outcomes of citizen science and gauge the potential of citizen science as enabler of social innovation and socio-ecological transition. At the Kick Off event of the COST Action, held from 12.-13.12.2016 in Berlin, Susanne Hecker and Dr. Anett Richter (both Department Ecosystem Services) contributed to the working groups “Science Policy” and “Data Quality” with their expertise about science communication and the strategic development of citizen science at the national level. The relevance of high data quality achieved through citizen science and the challenges such as uncertainties in observations, the lack of evaluation criteria as well as the barriers to inform decision makers were intensively discussed and will be further addressed in reports and scientific publications. At the event reception at the Natural History Museum Berlin, Susanne and Anett, presented the Living Atlas of Nature Germany. The arranged infographic opened the discussions about the mutual benefits of such biodiversity atlases and was well received. Anett Richter
sTeleBES - Telecoupled use of biodiversity and ecosystem services: synthesis of concepts, methods and evidence
PI: Matthias Schröter; Thomas Koellner, Aletta Bonn
The Department of Ecosystem Services (UFZ/ iDiv) is leading the sTeleBES sDiv working group on Telecoupled use of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services. Ecosystem providing ecosystem services are often located far away from areas where people live and benefit from these services. Such inter-regional flows of ecosystem services can be induced by both human activities and environmental flows. Through use of such ecosystem services, countries can impact on biodiversity and the capacity to provide services beyond their territory. To date, however, national ecosystem assessments regularly consider ecosystem services only within national boundaries. The main aim of this sDiv working group is to create a joint understanding of the problem of inter-regional use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In a strongly interdisciplinary setting we will develop a conceptual framework, which synthesizes related concepts for framing the problem of telecoupling for provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. We will identify methods from different disciplines to analyse inter-regional spatial flows of ecosystem services. In particular, we search for new methods that address regulating and cultural ecosystem services for which few assessment methods exist. Based on the conceptual insights from the first workshop, we are preparing a joint review to create a better understanding of the current state of the art of assessing inter-regional flows of ecosystem services and their implications for biodiversity. Based on the results of this review and the second workshop we will develop guidelines for national ecosystem accounting of inter-regional flows of ecosystem services. As telecoupling of ecosystem services is currently under-explored, we will also aim to identify key knowledge gaps and steps forward for advancing this field.
Matthias Schröter (UFZ/ iDiv); Aletta Bonn (UFZ/iDiv); Jianguo Liu (Michigan State University); Berta Martín-López (Leuphana University); Karin Frank (UFZ); Laura López-Hoffman (University of Arizona); Joachim Maes (Joint Research Centre, European Commission); Meidad Kissinger (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev); Rob Alkemade (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency); Nynke Schulp (VU Amsterdam); Alexandra Marques (Leiden University); Kenneth Bagstad (World Bank & U.S. Geological Survey); Sebastian Arnold (University of Bayreuth); Sarah Wolff (VU Amsterdam); Rob Alkemade (PBL Netherlands); Carsten Meyer (iDiv), Jule Schulze (UFZ); Thomas Kastner (Alpen-Adria Universität - Klagenfurth-Vienna-Graz);
Apologies: Thomas Köllner (Uni Bayreuth); Christian Kuhlicke (UFZ)
Erfolgreiche Anträge bei sDiv
Freudige Neuigkeiten: Das Department ESS war zuletzt bei 4 sDiv Stellenanträgen erfolgreich. Der Start ist schon im März 2017. Eine Übersicht dazu gibt es hier:
Catalyst Postdoc - Dr. Guy Pe’er
Towards the next reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy: evaluating the new greening measures from Ecological and Socio-economic perspectives
Bernd Hansjürgens, Aletta Bonn, Henrique Pereira, Irene Ring (UFZ, FSU Jena, MLU Halle, TU Dresden, iDiv)
Flexpool Postdoc - nn
Evaluating the Socio-economic Cost and Effectiveness of Conservation Interventions in European and African Protected Areas
Hjalmar Kühl, Aletta Bonn, Lukas Bösch, Andreas Freytag, Karsten Wesche (MPI, UFZ, FSU Jena, Uni Leipzig, Senckenberg Görlitz, iDiv)
Flexpool PhD - nn
Hot- und Coolspots der Biodiversität in Leipzig: Welches Innovationspotenzial hat Citizen Science für die Vermittlung von Biodiversitätsbewusstsein und die Stärkung von Wissenschafts-, Medien und demokratischen Kompetenzen in der schulischen Bildung?
Jörg Zabel, Aletta Bonn, Martin Lindner, Anett Richter, Julia Siebert, Karin Ulbrich (Uni Leipzig, UFZ, FSU Jena, MLU Halle, iDiv)
Flexpool PhD - nn
How and where does nature matter for human well-being, and for whom?
Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Aletta Bonn, Bernd Hansjürgens, Katrin Rehdanz (Bik-F, UFZ, FSU Jena, Uni Kiel, iDiv)
Die Stellenausschreibungen dazu gibt es auf der
Neuer Artikel online: Umsteuern mit Citizen Science
Eine breit gefächerte Biodiversität in stabilen Ökosystemen ist für uns Menschen eine wichtige Lebensgrundlage. Sie sichert natürliche Kreisläufe, liefert gesunde Ernährung und medizinische Wirkstoffe, dämmt Krankheitserreger ein. Doch sie nimmt auch dramatisch ab. Diese Entwicklung will Citizen Science stoppen und setzt auf die Einbindung möglichst vieler Bürgerinnen und Bürger in wissenschaftliche
Den kompletten Artikel "Umsteuern mit Citizen Science" von Dr. Anett Richter; ÖkologiePolitik Nr. 172 2016; lesen Sie hier (Download als PDF):
IPBES Regional Assessment Europe and Central Asia convened in Zadar, Croatia
About 100 members of the expert group of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the assessment on Europe and Central Asia convened for its second authors meeting in Zadar, Croatia, from 5 to 9 September 2016. Matthias Schröter, Postdoctoral researcher at the Department Ecosystem Services of UFZ and iDiv, took part as lead author in Chapter 2, where he contributes to assessing nature’s benefits to people. The interdisciplinary group discussed progress of the assessment report that is currently being written for policy makers. Furthermore, external review comments have been addressed and future plans have been agreed on.
New study on National Ecosystem Assessments in Europe
An international team led by Matthias Schröter and Prof. Aletta Bonn (department ESS) has analysed eight European (sub-)national ecosystem assessments (Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, Flanders, Netherlands, Finland, and Germany). Their finding have now been published in the journal BioScience.
The authors compared objectives, political context, methods, and operationalization of the different National Ecosystem Assessments. They observed remarkable differences in breadth of the assessment, methods employed, variety of services considered, policy mandates, and funding mechanisms.
This knowledge can be used for instance in the context of the IPBES regional assessment for Europe and Central Asia, in which four of the co-authors are involved.
Schröter, M., C. Albert, A. Marques, W. Tobon, S. Lavorel, J. Maes, C. Brown, S. Klotz and A. Bonn, 2016. National Ecosystem Assessments in Europe: A Review. Bioscience.
The full paper is available