In this post Laura Graham and Simon Kapitza discuss new opportunities for interdisciplinary biodiversity assessments.

Their session at #BES2019 will be on Friday 13th December at 10.00 am in the Auditorium.

Agricultural expansion and fragmentation of primary habitat have been amongst the most significant drivers of habitat decline. Looking at rural Bavaria from a plane this becomes very evident.

Transcending disciplinary boundaries

With land use and climate change again identified as the principal drivers of ecosystem decline of the past 5 decades by the 8th IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services there is an unprecedented need to move toward methods for ecological models that transcend disciplinary boundaries and are capable of comprehensive, quantitatively-explicit accounting for human-driven impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Some recent examples that have pushed the methodological and conceptual frontiers in interdisciplinary assessments of biodiversity include Marques et al. (2019) assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem response to population growth and economic growth, Newbold (2018) assessment of terrestrial vertebrate communities under additive effects of climate and land-use change and Powers and Jetz (2019) evaluation of global future habitat loss and extinction risks for thousands of species under competing scenarios of socioeconomic change.

New possibilities

These studies highlight new possibilities in terms of unprecedented computational power and the increasingly open access to socio-economic data, high-resolution global mappings of various environmental variables and fast-growing pools of biodiversity data thankfully produced by passionate field ecologists across the globe. These constantly growing and improving resources have brought interdisciplinary assessments of ecosystems and biodiversity within easy reach of researchers in smaller labs and as such pave the way for the development for new and exciting methods advancing the field. Ultimately, increasing our quantified knowledge of human-ecological systems brings vast potential to global environmental policy-making and informs the process of finding answers to some of the most pressing questions of our time.


At our #BES2019 thematic session Interdisciplinary model integration to better understand biodiversity change we are excited to host 5 researchers whose work currently drives the development of new methods for integrated assessments of biodiversity change. Our speakers, whose backgrounds draw from ecology, economics and mathematics, will stock of available methods and provide an overview of the current state of the field. We also host a panel discussion with all invited speakers in the final 30 minutes of the session, giving you as attendee an excellent opportunity for direct exchange with leaders in the field. We would be very pleased to see you there!