Managing Biodiversity

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Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history leading to population reductions and increased extinction risks for species, degradation of ecosystems, and loss of genetic diversity threatening the diversity of life on Earth and nature’s contributions to people.

To address this global societal challenge, we work at the interface of the natural and social sciences. Our work uses experimental and interdisciplinary approaches to address the challenges of biodiversity conservation across every scale from local to global - aiming to further and inform conservation science and policy. Our research builds as much on fieldwork as it does on the utilization of global data sources, including remote-sensed data to explore six overarching questions.

Our overall research questions

  • How are human activities affecting the structure and functioning of the Earth system, and how can we reverse current trends to stay within the safe operating space of humanity?
  • Are conservation interventions (e.g. protected areas, community conserved areas, restoration projects, or payment-for-ecosystem-service schemes) effective for conserving biodiversity, and what ecological, bio-physical, and socio-economic factors make them effective?
  • How are human activities shaping patterns of threat to biodiversity at local and global scales, and how does this affect species distributions and abundances?
  • How does human behavior and economic incentives affect the willingness of land-owners and other stakeholders to participate in conservation projects?
  • How do cultural similarity, trust, and policy mechanisms affect cooperation to further biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods?
  • What are the best approaches to measure and monitor changes in the state of nature and its contributions to people at all scales, and what are the roles of technology and citizens in improving monitoring and indicators of biodiversity and biodiversity change?

Research projects

Some of our research projects within the theme of Biodiversity Management are described below.

 

 

 

We work to preserve biodiversity by predicting global stressors to biodiversity, explore extinction scenarios, and increase our understanding of the need, potentials, and constraints in global and trans-national collaboration. Specific projects include:

Human behaviour and global conservation

We use economic laboratory and field experiments with human subjects to explore elicit preferences for conservation under different institutional settings.

Contact

Professor Bo Jellesmark Thorsen
Professor Niels Strange

Continued development of The Planetary Boundaries Framework

The project focuses on improving the existing Planetary Boundaries (PB) Framework, which is a concept of nine Earth system processes that have boundaries. Now, we seek to quantify interactions between the identified PB and human activities. 

Contact

Professor Katherine Richardson

Managing global nature in the 21st century

International policy and agreements help define regional (EU and Nordic) and national policies and laws, affecting nature on the ground.  We are interested in how decisions made at international level affect conservation delivery (e.g. in protected area networks, the prevention of extinction of species, the sustainable use of nature, or the establishment of community managed reserves).  The current international framework for nature conservation (defined by the Convention of Biological Diversity in 2010) will end in 2020.  There are many opportunities to influence the post-2020 nature agreement using good science that shows how progress has been made, where there are gaps and challenges, and how these challenges can be addressed and solved by a new and ambitious agreement for Nature.

Contact

Professor Neil Burgess

The extinction scenarios 

We will use our existing species distributions data for 20,000 species of vertebrates, together with our data on their phylogenetic relationships, to develop realistic extinction scenarios for the 21st century. Our analyses will be based on novel methodologies that combine IUCN-level extinction risk assessments with the next generation of scenarios of climate and land use change for the end of the century.

Contact

Professor Carsten Rahbek 
Professor Miguel B. Araújo

Modelling the future

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Professor Katherine Richardson

 

In order to provide a holistic framework for achieving sustainable outcomes, we need to understand and quantify the relations between the human environment and the biophysical environment of nature areas. We explore planning approaches in Denmark and around the world that facilitate decision-making and the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Our projects include: 

Mapping ecosystem services

We apply a spatial multi-criteria decision model to designate a robust and interconnected network of natural areas in Denmark to map ecosystem services. The project also models the welfare economic benefits from ecosystem services and determines the opportunity cost of setting aside forest and agricultural land for nature protection.

Contact

Associate Professor Thomas H. Lundhede
Professor Niels Strange

No Net Loss of biodiversity

In this project, we seek to have no net loss of biodiversity alongside development. The project explores how biodiversity losses from development are measured, and active conservation interventions are implemented to compensate for the loss. Further, the project addresses the challenges of achieving No Net Loss of biodiversity (NNL), when ecological and social dynamics are taken into account.

Contact

Professor Niels Strange

Recreational preference and value

We use economic analysis to explore the welfare economics aspects of biodiversity management. Our projects include:

  • People's preference for forest structures in relation to outdoor recreation across three different European contexts.
Contact

Professor Niels Strange
Associate professor Thomas H. Lundhede

  • The recreational values of conserving coral reefs.
Contact

Associate Professor Thomas H. Lundhede

 

 

Conservation Science, including habitat and species management, is a broad biological discipline that covers all aspects of understanding how species, habitats, and ecosystem services are changing in a world increasingly dominated by humans.

Tracking Golden Eagles

In this project, we track golden eagles with GPS technology to understand their movement patterns, habitat requirements and general use of non-breeding. The technology provides the possibility to explore their habitat use and home ranges across the annual cycle. The project also aims to determine the source population to the Danish breeding birds and investigate genetic relationship within the Danish population. 

Read more about the Golden Eagles

Contact

Associate Professor Anders P. Tøttrup

The Danish wolf

We study how and why the wolf population is growing and spreading across Europe. Based on this knowledge and data on population and occurrences, we make models to predict wolf dispersal and the number of wolves we can expect in each part of Europe, including Denmark. 

Read more about Ulve i Danmark (Wolves in Denmark)

Contact

Professor Carsten Rahbek

Management and biodiversity of Danish beech forest

We combine experimental approaches to create deadwood and veteran trees with investigations of existing mature beech stands to understand the links between management, habitat diversity and biodiversity in Danish beech forests. The project has a multi-taxa approach (fungi, lichens, bryophytes, vascular plants, insects, birds) and include economic valuation with the aim to develop cost-effective evidence-based management tools for forest biodiversity.

Contact

Associate Professor Jacob Heilmann-Clausen
Professor Carsten Rahbek

Conserving biodiversity in the Danish forests (FINISHED)

This project sheds light on what forest areas in Denmark should be given priority in a cost-effective effort for the conservation of biodiversity in the Danish forests. It also examines what such efforts will cost, and what it may mean for the provision of other ecosystem services from the forests. 

Download the final report from the project

Contact

Professor Carsten Rahbek
Special Consultant Anders Højgård Petersen

 

Highlighted papers

Completed projects

NEWFOREX

The project addressed the joint challenges of estimating the value of enhanced provision of forest ecosystem services as well as the cost of enhanced provision.

Contact

Bo Jellesmark Thorsen 
Jette Bredahl Jacobsen

MOTIVE

The project focused on forest owners' decision making in relation to future climate change uncertainty.

Contact

Bo Jellesmark Thorsen
Jette Bredahl Jacobsen