Biodiversity and ecosystem services of agro-ecologically optimized cultivation

Madagascar´s remarkable biodiversity is threatened by rising demands from today´s global markets. One of the main exported commodities of Madagascar is vanilla. The highly-labor intensive vanilla production makes this aromatic pod the world´s second most expensive spice. As part of the transdisciplinary research group Diversity Turn in Land Use Science, my PhD project will investigate the impact of vanilla cultivation on biological diversity (incl. pollinators, flora and avifauna) and associated ecosystem services.

The overall goal of the "Diversity Turn in Land Use Science" project is to develop socially as well as ecological sustainable strategies of land use. For this purpose economic, social as well as ecological aspects are investigated simultaneously. The vanilla production in Madagascar functions here as an example of an international value chain with strong focus on small scale farmers.

Threats to biodiversity following agricultural intensification such as habitat changes and abiotic stressors (i.a. pesticides) have been central themes within my previous studies in Göttingen and Sweden. The past two years I have been engaging myself intensively in research on the effect of pesticides on pollinators at the Centre of Environmental & Climate Research in Lund. My research interests are in particular plant-insect interactions, avifauna, biodiversity changes at local and regional scales and conservation.