Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Biodiversity impacts of future land use trajectories


Land use is essential for human well-being but is also one of the main drivers of the current biodiversity crisis. As land use increases rapidly in the coming decades due to human population growth, surging consumption and the growing importance of bioenergy, the question of how future land use change may affect global biodiversity patterns becomes increasingly important.
This project seeks to investigate the influence of future land use change on biodiversity by (1) synthesizing knowledge on land use effects on biodiversity across a range of taxa by compiling indicators on the current extent and intensity of global land use, (2) adapting species-area models to assess the biodiversity outcome of a variety of available future land use projections, (3) disentangling the trade-offs between agricultural expansion and agricultural intensification for the world’s biodiversity, and (4) studying alternative development pathways across a range of future land use scenarios. 
The project is funded by the Einstein Foundation and carried out in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Environmental Research Centre (UFZ) in Leipzig, the Institute for Social Ecology in Vienna, and the University of Göttingen.
Our research has the overall goal of aiding in the identification of pathways to balance human resource use with the conservation of biodiversity, and is strongly motivated by providing solutions to conservation problems. We develop and apply approaches grounded in spatial ecology, spatial statistics, geographic analyses, and remote sensing.