Our Research on Supply and Demand for Ecosystem Services
The research program does focus on spatial-temporal models of the supply of and demand for ecosystem services. We want to investigate the complex of human decision-making, resulting land use/cover, biodiversity and ecosystem services given scenarios of climate change, market change and policy development. We investigate this in an interdisciplinary manner at the interface of the environmental system and the human system.
The human society and the world’s ecosystems form an interdependent and dynamic system. On the one hand intensive land use, extraction of natural resources and emissions into the environment has caused the global loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services. On the other hand the human society thrives on goods and services provided by the world’s ecosystems. While trade with some of the derived goods allows for their economic appraisal, many other benefits lack appreciation by decision-makers.
On a regional scale we want to understand how the decision-making of land users is influenced by perceptions of ecosystem services as well as by climate change, markets and policies. The impact of the resulting land use and land cover pattern on ecosystem services and biodiversity is investigated in case study regions in Germany, South Korea, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Switzerland. We mainly use spatial modelling, remote sensing and surveys.
On a global scale we are interested in the relevance of commodity markets for ecosystem services and biodiversity. A main goal is to assess trade flows of commodities, land/water use effects and their impact on the global ecosystem services. In this context we have been developing further the method of Life Cycle Assessment with respect to land use impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Beyond that interregional flows of ecosystem services are investigated.
Much of our research aims at supporting decision-makers in their attempt to manage product systems and landscape systems with respect to land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services.