Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Shifting to a Land Systems Paradigm in Conservation

Project description

Land-use changes and biodiversity conservation

Land use is a primary cause of biodiversity loss, which is a global crisis threatening human well-being. The ERC-funded SystemShift project will bring about major breakthroughs in our understanding of how land use threatens biodiversity. Specifically, SystemShift will develop novel concepts to identify key combinations of land-use actors and threats, to understand interactions among different land-use-related threats, and to carry out effective conservation planning. The project will empirically validate these concepts for two tropical dry forest regions in South America, the Chaco and Chiquitano forests, and study dry forests globally to provide insights into conservation challenges and opportunities in these endangered forests.

Objective

Biodiversity loss is a global crisis threatening human wellbeing, and the main driver is how we use land. Decisions about land use are made in social-ecological systems, yet conservation science is currently ill-equipped to consider the complex and dynamic interactions between land-use actors and their environment. This translates into conservation failures and missed opportunities. My overarching goal is to develop new, interdisciplinary concepts and approaches that enable a different, social-ecological perspective on land use in conservation. This promises major breakthroughs in our understanding of threats to biodiversity and how to design effective conservation strategies. My project will be organized in three main steps. STEP 1 will develop novel concepts to identify key combinations of land-use actors, practices, and threats to biodiversity, and organize them into a systems typology for conservation. This step will also design innovative indicators to map how threats vary and interact in space and time. I will apply and test these concepts globally, for the poorly studied tropical dry forests. STEP 2 will empirically validate these concepts for two tropical dry forests regions in South America. Comparative social-ecological fieldwork will reveal how threats impact biodiversity, how land-use actors relate to threats, and how conservation actions influence actors. This will enable a major advance in conservation planning methods to consider land-use actors, dynamic threats, and to rigorously evaluate when, where, and at which scale conservation is most effective. STEP 3 will integrate the project results to provide generalized insights into conservation challenges and opportunities in tropical dry forests globally. My project will cross-fertilise between land system science and conservation science and link to international science-policy dialogues, laying the foundation for a new research agenda integrating complex land systems into biodiversity conservation.

æ

Coordinator

HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITAET ZU BERLIN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 999 125,00
Address
Unter den linden 6
10117 Berlin
Germany

See on map

Region
Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)