11 July 2022

450 people attended the Biodiversity Symposium


The Danish Biodiversity Symposium (Biodiversitetssymposiet) took place on the 23-24 June attracting close to 450 participants, including researchers, experts and other professionals from both Denmark and abroad.

Professor Carsten Rahbek with Minister Lea Wermelin at the Biodiversity Symposium
Professor Carsten Rahbek welcomes Minister of Environment Lea Wermelin at the Biodiversity Symposium.

Copenhagen transformed into an epicenter of nature and biodiversity research, when Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC) hosted the 2022 Danish Biodiversity Symposium at The Mærsk Tower at UCPH. Three years since the last symposium, close to 450 participants – a record-high number – joined this year, including participants from Danish and international universities, organizations, municipalities, foundations as well as the Danish Minister of Environment, Lea Wermelin.

International keynotes

The program offered various and highly relevant topics, including the global decline in insects, nature restoration, and nature-based solutions. However, the program also included several local themes, including nature management, and the question of how to include citizens in major nature projects like the Danish nature national parks – a topic gaining a great deal of public and political attention the recent years.

Amongst the highlights of this year’s symposium were five international keynotes; Professor Aletta Bonn and Dr. Roel van Klink (iDiv, Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany), Professor Per Angelstam (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Professor Vicky Temperton (Leuphana University, Germany), and Professor Ana Rodriques (CNRS, France). The keynote presentations included a variety of topics and research ranging from biodiversity monitoring and citizen science, forest conservation, insect declines, restoration of grasslands, and shifting baselines in the European shores.

Presentation by the Minister of Environment

On day two of the symposium, Professor Carsten Rahbek delivered the opening speech together with UCPH Prorector David Dreyer Lassen emphasizing the importance of initiatives like the Biodiversity Symposium in bringing researchers and other professionals together across universities and institutions in a collaborative effort to address the biodiversity crisis. Following the opening speech, Minister of Environment Lea Wermelin presented the government’s 2030 political visions highlighting recent political agreements on the nature national parks and untouched forest as important steps towards a “paradigm shift” for Danish nature.

In addition to the professional presentations, the Biodiversity Symposium also hosted debates, poster sessions and a workshop titled “Rewilding and restoration” in collaboration with keynotes Professor Vicky Temperton and Dr. Roel van Klink. Here, the participants were divided into groups and engaged in discussions about different approaches to rewilding and nature restoration based on national and international cases.

The 2022 symposium concluded with an on-site digital survey asking the participants to vote for the most important challenges facing the Danish biodiversity. At the first symposium back in 2011, the challenges with the highest number of votes were areas affected by nutrient-pollution, lack of space, and destroyed hydrology. However, 10 years later the rank has changed making the lack of space the number one priority, followed by the lack of natural processes, and ultimately the fragmentation of nature according to the 2022 votes.

About the Biodiversity Symposium

The Danish Biodiversity Symposium has been taking place every second year since 2011 in a collaboration between Aarhus University and University of Copenhagen with funds from Aage V. Jensens Naturfond and 15. Juni Fonden. The 2022 symposium was originally scheduled for 2021, but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The 2022 symposium was organized by Associate Professor Jacob Heilmann-Clausen, and Special Consultant Louise Imer Nabe-Nielsen with assistance from students, volunteers and CMEC staff.

Next symposium takes place in 2024 at Aarhus University.