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Ecosystem recovery dynamics and their response to climate change and habitat fragmentation

Project description

Bridging theory and practice for restoration of ecosystems

Natural ecosystems are critical for sustaining life on Earth. However, few ecosystems today remain unaffected by global climate change and human activity. This is why there is an urgent need to restore them. The question is how. Research has yet to uncover how mechanisms and dynamics of ecological restoration work. As such, we cannot predict them. Funded by the European Research Council, the RECODYN project proposes pioneering, integrative research for more effective ecological restoration. It will build on the theory of metacommunities and temperature-dependent food web dynamics closely with a unique long-term terrestrial mesocosm experiment to enable scientific predictability and better environmental policy.


Global change degrades ecosystems worldwide. To mitigate its effects is the environmental challenge of our age, and restoration has emerged as the main strategy to stem the biodiversity crisis and repair damaged ecosystems. Despite substantial progress on the number of restoration studies and datasets, there is a fundamental gap in our understanding and prediction of the patterns and mechanisms underlying ecological restoration and how they are altered by global change.

The goal of RECODYN is to determine the recovery rates and trajectories of biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem functioning in complex multitrophic communities, and how climate change and habitat fragmentation – two of the largest threats to biodiversity and ecosystems in terrestrial systems – influence those dynamics. To achieve this, I will use an integrative approach that combines the development of new theory on metacommunities and temperature-dependent food web dynamics in close dialogue with a unique long-term terrestrial mesocosm experiment. RECODYN is articulated around three objectives. First, I will investigate differences between natural assembly and recovery dynamics. Then, I will determine the effects of global change – i.e. climate change and fragmentation – on biodiversity, community structure, spatial and temporal stability, and key ecosystem functions of recovering ecosystems. Finally, I will provide creative solutions to restore ecosystems in a warmer and more fragmented world.

RECODYN proposes an ambitious integrative and innovative research program that will provide a much-needed new perspective on ecological restoration in an era of global change. It will greatly contribute to bridging the gap between theoretical and empirical ecology, and to move restoration from an idiosyncratic discipline to a more predictive science. RECODYN will foster links with environmental policy by providing new restoration measures that derive from our theoretical and empirical findings.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 999 315,00
Edificio 1 planta 1 parque cientifico de upv/ehu barrio sarriena
48940 Leioa

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Noreste País Vasco Bizkaia
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00