SENSE Research Cluster VI: Landscape ecology, restoration ecology and nature conservation
Increasing human influence on natural systems has led to a severe decline of biological diversity worldwide over the last century. Awareness of the intrinsic, societal and economic value of biological diversity has fueled a multitude of policies and societal initiatives to safeguard this diversity. Research in the domains of landscape ecology, restoration ecology and nature conservation aims to underpin strategies to halt, and where possible, reverse the current trend of species loss. Thereto, it is concerned with identifying key processes underlying both the decline, conservation and restoration of biological diversity. These processes are studied on a multitude of spatial and temporal scales, ranging from chemical and physiological reactions within organisms to the global scale. These processes and scales are highly interconnected, giving rise to complex system behaviour, such as the occurrence of multiple stable states, threshold behaviour and catastrophic events.
While this research field is characterized by a high scientific complexity, on the one hand, it continues to have a high societal relevance at the same time. Since humans play a significant role in both the cause and the solution for the loss of biological diversity, the research cluster explicitly involves social sciences as well as natural sciences, adding to its interdisciplinary approach. To ensure dissemination of generated knowledge to the relevant stakeholders, there is a strong involvement of policymakers and conservationists in the design and implementation of research projects. Participants in this SENSE Research Cluster strive for scientific excellence, combined with clear societal communication.
Featuring subjects, mechanisms and methods that are being developed and applied in this SENSE Research Cluster are, for example:
The impact of global change on ecosystems, species and community interactions and the consequences for conservation and restoration strategies
Ecosystem properties that determine threshold behaviour and catastrophic shifts
Interactions of ecological processes at different temporal and spatial scales
The role of species interactions in the success of ecosystem restoration
Metapopulation genetics in fragmented landscapes
The design of decision support systems based on state-of-the-art ecological knowledge and models
We welcome experts in the field of landscape ecology, restoration ecology and nature conservation to participate in this research cluster to exchange knowledge and stimulate new innovative developments (if you are not a member of the SENSE Research School but involved with this subject, then you are still welcome to enroll and participate in this research cluster).
To read more about the SENSE research clusters in general, click HERE.