We are currently working in the following projects


SINCERE: Spurring Innovations in Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe

SINCERE is a four-year project funded through the EUROPEAN Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. From 2018 to 2022, SINCERE will develop novel policies and new business models by connecting knowledge and expertise from practice, science and policy, across Europe and beyond. Within the project, we are coordinating the working package "Creating a knowledge map" which aims to provide a robust evidence base of innovative mechanisms that support the provision of forest ecosystem services. We are also participating in on case study exploring the design and implementation of management models mainly focused in the promotion of cultural, spiritual and biodiversity values.
Contact: mario.torralba@uni-kassel.de


KLEIBER: Small private forests: conservation through resource use

This project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, aims to identify nature conservation values in small private forests against the background of an increased and further growing demand for raw wood and to secure these values within the framework of profitable forest management. In north-western Germany, those forest structures and characteristics of small private forests, which are valued by forest nature conservation, are to be identified on the levels of major natural regions and, in particular, model regions. Social-ecological studies analyse the targets and concrete management practices of small private forest owners as well as their views on problems and perspectives regarding nature conservation measures. For forestry practice, nature conservational-silvicultural decision aids are to be developed, which integrate measures that maintain the structures and habitats valued by nature conservation into profitable forest management. Innovative forestry policy instruments and mechanisms that aim at the promotion of forest nature conservation measures by the society are taken into account.
Contact: plieninger@uni-goettingen.de


(LANDSCAPE|CHAINS): Linking places and processes for sustainability. Social-ecological dynamics and value chains of Mediterranean landscape products
Das Ziel dieses von der DFG finanzierten Projekts ist es, Hebelpunkte in den Wertschöpfungsketten qualitative hochwertiger Agrarlandschafts-Produkte (Kork und essbare Baum-Früchte) zu identifizieren, die einen Übergang zum nachhaltigen Landschaftsmanagement unterstützen und dabei soziale und ökologische Zielkonflikte auf mehreren Ebenen und zwischen verschiedenen Nutzern berücksichtigen. Ausgangspunkt der mehrskaligen Analysen sind vier spezifische Produktionslandschaften: Alentejo, Portugal, und Maamora, Marokko, (Kork-Agroforstwirtschaft) und Gata-Hurdes, Spanien, und der Hohe High Atlas, Marokko, (mosaikartige Ackerbau- und Weidewirtschaft). Die übergeordnete Hypothese des Vorhabens ist, dass Agrarlandschaftsprodukte Konsumenten dazu befähigen, sich mit geographisch entfernten Produktionslandschaften zu verbinden und sozial-ökologische Charakteristika von Landschaften über vielfältige Flüsse an Gütern, Investitionen und Informationen in Wert zu setzen.
Contact: plieninger@uni-goettingen.de

ENVISION: An inclusive approach to assessing integrative scenarios and visions for protected area management

ENVISION is a three-year project funded through the Belmont Forum - BiodivERsA. Protected areas (PA) in the EU and the U.S. face challenges that require of inclusive and collaborative management strategies that accommodate different visions. This project develops, tests, and validates a novel, inclusive scenario approach for engaging multiple stakeholders in PA management and biodiversity decision-making at multiple scales. Our group combines systematic reviews, social-ecological inventories and oral history methods carried out in protected areas in Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the US, aiming to develop an inclusive conservation approach. We work with an international interdisciplinary team of research centres and universities such as the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), foundations and private companies.
Contact: plieninger@uni-goettingen.de and cebrian@uni-goettingen.de


AGBIRD: Feasibility of Temporary Conservation Areas in Agricultural Landscapes to Improve Habitat for Migratory Bird Species in the United States

AGBIRD is a three-year student pursuit project funded through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). AGBIRD has the objective to identify opportunities for dynamic conservation action in agricultural landscapes, to promote temporal ecological connectivity based on the critical life stages and routes of migratory birds in the United States. Contact: mario.torralba@uni-kassel.de


go-PRIMA: Rural-urban transformation processes in arid and semi-arid areas of the Mediterranean

go-PRIMA is a three-year project funded through the “Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area” (PRIMA), a ten-year joint program funded by the European Union in combination with BMBF. During the first stage, the project has the goal to apply for a series of calls for large-scale projects from 2018 onwards with the goal to widen the go-PRIMA consortium. The planned collaborative PRIMA project will analyze rural-urban transition processes under arid and semi-arid conditions in the Mediterranean region. Their goal is to perform a cross-site comparison between very contrasting lifestyles (Southern European vs. North African and Middle Eastern) in terms of wealth, beliefs, governance systems, and socio-economic contexts.
Contact: plieninger@uni-goettingen.de; cristina.quintas@uni-kassel.de


TREES ON FARMS: Harnessing the potential of Trees on farms for biodiversity

The world’s forests have historically been harbours of massive biodiversity, but it is well known that they have been extensively cleared and remain under imminent threat. Most of the forests that we have lost were cleared for agriculture, and the pressure to create more and more agricultural land grows as the world gears up to feed a population expected to rise to at least 9 billion people by 2050.
The Trees on Farms for Biodiversity project (financed by the International Climate Initiative of the Federal Government of Germany) will increase our knowledge of the links between trees, agriculture and biodiversity. It will assess a range of policy and funding options for increasing incentives and support for trees in agriculture.
Contact: yves.zinngrebe@agr.uni-goettingen.de


FOR2432/1: Social-ecological dynamics, ecosystem services uses, and governance of green and blue infrastructure in urbanizing environments
Angesichts der rasanten Urbanisierung ist die grüne Infrastruktur zu einem wichtigen Bestandteil sowohl der städtischen als auch der ländlichen Ökosysteme geworden, und trägt als dieser wesentlich zum menschlichen Wohlbefinden bei. Ziel dieses von der DFG geförderten Forschungsprojektes ist es, sozial-ökologisches Wissen über Dynamik, Werte, Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten und Governance grüner Infrastruktur der Stadt-Land-Schnittstelle in Bangalore, Indien, zu vermitteln. Zuerst werden die sozial-ökologischen Auswirkungen der Urbanisierung auf die landwirtschaftlichen Systeme auf der Grundlage einer systematischen Literaturrecherche identifiziert. Darauffolgend werden die ökologischen, demographischen und sozioökonomischen Treiber ermittelt, welche grüne Infrastrukturen entlang der ländlichen und städtischen Gebiete prägen. Zudem wird die Nutzung von Ökosystemdienstleistungen und das subjektive Wohlbefinden rund um grüne Infrastrukturen erfasst und quantifiziert. Schließlich wird ein sozial-ökologischer Rahmen geschaffen, der soziale und ökologische Merkmale mit den Ergebnissen bei der Verwaltung und dem Management grüner Infrastrukturen im Zuge der Urbanisierung in Verbindung bringt.
Contact: plieninger@uni-kassel.de; pramila.thapa@uni-kassel.de

CESMINE: Cultural ecosystem services of post-mining sites: socio-economic rehabilitation after quarrying

CESMINE is a two-year project funded through the EUROPEAN Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. This Individual Fellowship research scheme addresses the issues of quarries and their post-mining benefits for the residents. From 2020 to 2022, the project will be conducted in three European countries: Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic, in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and HeidelbergCement, a world leading quarrying company. The project will combine quantitative and qualitative methods, using novel techniques such as social networks analyses, public participation GIS, and spatially explicit indicators of cultural ecosystem services. This will be framed by the real socio-economic conditions revealed directly in the mining regions, analysing the real use of the sites by residents and by external visitors. The project is designed as a response to the EU Raw Materials Initiative’s goal of sustainable quarry restoration and post-mining management.
Contact: plieninger@uni-goettingen.de; k.svobodova@uq.edu.au


Recently completed projects


AGFORWARD: AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development

AGFORWARD was a four-year research project funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). It started in January 2014 and ended in December 2017. The overall aim of the project was to promote agroforestry practices in Europe that would advance rural development. Our main role within this project was the coordination of WP7, which aimed to evaluate possible agroforestry interventions at a landscape scale. Main results:
  • A synthesis report on European agroforestry performance in terms of biodiversity, ecosystem services and profitability.

  • A report on ecosystem services and profitability of selected European agroforestry practices.

  • A report on profitability and provision of biodiversty and ecosystem services through agroforestry systems at a landscape scale.

contact: plieninger@uni-kassel.de; mario.torralba@uni-kassel.de


ESMERALDA: Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking

ESMERALDA was four-year project funded through the EUROPEAN Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. Mapping and assessment of ecosystem and their services are core to the EU Biodiversity Strategy. ESMERALDA's main aim was to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. Our main role in the project was to support the synthesis and assessment of current socio-cultural approaches for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services. Main results:
  • Report of Social Mapping and Assessment methods
contact: plieninger@uni-kassel.de; mario.torralba@uni-kassel.de


HERCULES: Sustainable Futures for Europe´s HERitage in CUltural LandscapES:
Tools for understanding, managing, and protecting landscape functions and values.