Research at the Department Ecosystem Services

Research Topics

Participation and Contribution to UFZ Core Subject Projects

IP 12 Land Use Conflicts

IP 13 Urban Transformations


Current Projects


ECOPOTENTIAL

ECOPOTENTIAL - Improving improving future ecosystem benefits through earth observations

ECOPOTENTIAL is a large European-funded H2020 project that focuses its activities on a targeted set of internationally recognised protected areas, blending earth observations from remote sensing and field measurements, data analysis and modelling of current and future ecosystem conditions and services. ECOPOTENTIAL considers cross-scale geosphere-biosphere interactions at regional to continental scales, addressing long-term and large-scale environmental and ecological challenges.
Within the project we are contributing to work on participatory approaches for the assessment of cultural ecosystem services for three national parks.

Contact: Emilie Crouzat , Volker Grescho


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Interregional Flows of Ecosystem Services (sTeleBES)

Ecosystems 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.

We are co-leading the international sDiv working group sTeleBES to synthesise theory, methods and indicators on interregional flows of ecosystem services. Research in the department focusses on assessments of interregional flows of multiple ecosystem services with a special focus on Germany.

Contact: Aletta Bonn

Atlas of Ecosystem Services

We are finalising the Springer volume Atlas of Ecosystem Services: Drivers, Risks and Societal Responses synthesising recent work across the UFZ an external partners concerning spatial ecosystem service assessments that address risks to ecosystem services from multidisciplinary perspectives. The Atlas addresses different components of ecosystem services, assesses risks and vulnerabilities, identifies benefits derived from these services and outlines governance and management opportunities. We hope the Atlas will be inspiring to a wide audience, both from policy and practice and from different scientific disciplines. The emphasis is on ecosystems in Europe.

Contact: Aletta Bonn


 
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Historical Ecosystem Services of Natural Heritage Sites in Germany (Nationales Naturerbe)

Natural heritage sites are recently protected areas, often former military sites, that allow for the conservation of unique cultural habitats as well as for rewilding of woodlands. The dynamics of ecosystem services relate to the use and cultivation of land today and in the past. Using GIS analyses, interviews and expert workshops, we address the following research questions:

  • Which ecosystem services have been provided by natural heritage sites during the past 150 years?
  • How do the dynamics of ecosystem services relate to past and current cultural practices and land use change?
Working in collaboration with experts from historical sciences and cultural landscape planning we investigate the supply and demand of ecosystem services on natural heritage sites today and in the past. Findings will support the understanding, conservation and sustainable development of natural and cultural heritage in Germany and will advance the temporal dimension of the concept of ecosystem services.

Contact: Andrea Büermann;  Anett Richter


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Trend analyses of biodiversity data in Germany (sMon)

Many species in Germany are threatened or endangered and many indicators point at an progressive loss in species occurrences and/or abundances, and thereby most likely also ecosystem functions and services. Statistically sound data for changes in biodiversity is, however, often lacking for most species groups or only available at coarse scales. sMon is a synthesis project of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. We aim at combining and harmonizing exemplary datasets of different taxa and habitats to evaluate the potentials and limits for analysing changes in the state of biodiversity in Germany by:

  • Joint working with federal state conservation agencies and natural history societies
  • Screening, harmonizing and integrating heterogeneous different data, such as time series and raster data for exemplary species groups (e.g. vascular plants, amphibia, odonata, orthoptera)
  • Development of statistical methods to derive statistically sound trends of change
  • Linking to ecosystem functions and services

Contact: David Eichenberg


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Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing

Climate change poses significant challenges to both biodiversity and human health and wellbeing. Thankfully, nature protection, restoration and conservation can mitigate climate change and foster human health and wellbeing.
There is significant awareness on the use of natural environments for human health and wellbeing from local, national and international governments and organisations. Building on this, is a growing recognition of the importance of biodiversity to human health and wellbeing. Understanding the impact biodiversity has on human health and wellbeing is required to implement nature-based solutions for climate change adaption - and public health.

In this project we address the following research questions:

  • Does the biodiversity around the home influence residents’ physical and mental health?
  • What are the pathways through which biodiversity influences health?
  • Is it possible to ‘grow your own well-being’? Is there a relationship between gardeners’ wellbeing and the biodiversity of their allotment garden?

Weblinks:

Conference Biodiversity and Health in the face of Climate Change

Contact: Melissa Marselle


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Towards the next reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy

Evaluating the new greening measures from Ecological and Socio-economic perspectives.

Agricultural intensification and expansion, combined with abandonment of extensively managed farmland, are leading to ongoing losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services. At the same time, rural employment is declining and farmers are facing major economic uncertainties. We are am investigating the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as a key factor shaping these processes but also offering tools to mitigate them. To this end, the sDiv-funded interdisciplinary project assesses how the CAP affects our environment, society and economy. We put particular focus on the recent “greening measures” installed in the CAP in its last reform. The assessment is part of a broader “Fitness Check” of the CAP, aiming to develop a set of robust, evidence-based recommendations for the next CAP reform.

Contact: Guy Peer

Fitness Check of the Common Agricultural Policy


GEWISS

Citizen Science - Capacity Building for Germany

The UFZ led the “GEWISS” (BürGEr schaffen WISSen, or “Citizens create knowledge” 2014-2017) national capacity building program to help strengthen existing partnerships and to identify gaps and capacity needs for citizen science in Germany. As key output, the “Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany” was developed in collaboration with >700 participants from 350 organisations through a series of dialogue forums and an online consultation with over 1000 website visitors, 400 comments and 53 formal position papers submitted on the draft Strategy paper. Furthermore, citizen science guides and films were developed to strengthen citizen science capacities. The Strategy Paper resulted in the establishment of the first funding scheme for Cititzen Science in Germany by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) .
With DFG funding, we organised the first European Citizen Science conference ( ECSA 2016 ) in Berlin, May 2016, with more than 360 participants from 30 countries, globally. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Environment (BMUB) we developed recommendations for a new citizen science funding scheme with experts from NGOs, agencies and microfinancing organisations in January 2018.

Contact: Anett Richter ; Susanne Hecker


Completed Projects

Climate change has significant impacts on society and biodiversity. People are likely to experience climate change impacts most directly in cities and urban areas. Technical solutions are only one aspect of climate adaptation and mitigation, while nature-based solutions can foster functioning ecosystems as essential backbone to climate mitigation and adaptation. Management that focusses on green infrastructure as measure towards greening cities has the potential to meet several goals across sectors and may also be cost-effective and sustainable. Nature-based solutions to adaptation can therefore help to address both the 2020 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as those of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Building on the international conference 'Climate change and Nature Conservation in Europe - an ecological, policy and economic perspective' held in Bonn in 2013, the research project BioClim (European Conferences on Biodiversity and Climate Change, project duration 11.2014-09.2017) addresses research on nature-based solutions and ecosystem based adaption in urban areas with special focus on biodiversity, climate adaptation & mitigation and its linkages to social cohesion. In cooperation with the BfN (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) and ENCA (European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies), BioClim will bring together scientists, practitioners and policy makers to discuss the links of nature-based solutions to important urban challenges related to climate change. The aim is to showcase and explore good practice of nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe’s urban areas and their surrounding landscapes, and to analyse challenges and identify indicators of success. An explicit goal is to assess how the concept of nature-based solutions can help conservation to work across sectors in collaboration with e.g. urban planning, architecture, forestry, water and health.

Reference to Kabisch et al. 2016

In November 2015 a joint BfN/ENCA European Conference on Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Urban Areas and their Rural Surroundings 17-19 Nov. took place held in Bonn/Germany (conference presentations).

GEWISS “BürGEr schaffen WISSen “or “Citizens create knowledge” (2014-2017)

The UFZ led the “GEWISS national capacity building program to help strengthen existing partnerships and to identify gaps and capacity needs for citizen science in Germany. As key output, the “Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany” was developed in collaboration with >700 participants from 350 organisations through a series of dialogue forums and an online consultation with over 1000 website visitors, 400 comments and 53 formal position papers submitted on the draft Strategy paper. Furthermore, citizen science guides and films were developed to strengthen citizen science capacities. The Strategy Paper resulted in the establishment of the first funding scheme for Citizen Science in Germany by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) .

The first European Citizen Science Conference ( ECSA 2016 ), held on 18-21 May 2017, organized by the GEWISS team with the European Citizen Science Association ( ECSA ) and international partners, with more than 360 participants from 30 countries, debated the current state of the art in citizen science in Europe and globally. The conference fostered interactive and open formats for all with a Citizen Science Disco, a Citizen Science Thinkcamp and a Citizen Science Fest.

Contact: Anett Richter , Susanne Hecker

About the project

Urban gardens can contribute to nature-based solutions in promoting biodiversity and thereby ecosystem services, such as food provision, climate and water regulation, opportunities for leisure and recreation and to some extent also to social cohesion. We investigated the contribution of both allotment and community gardens to urban ecosystem services and assess differences in gardener’s motivation respecting service demand and provision. We used the City of Leipzig as case study, as it has a long-lasting tradition of allotment gardening initiated by the Schreber movement in the late 19th century leading to one of the highest density of urban garden areas among European cities (2.8% of the city area and 16 m² per citizen).

To foster outreach, we also initiated and contributed to the design of an exhibition in the Botanical Garden featuring how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be fostered in urban gardens

https://garten-findet-stadt.de/de/home/