Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Biodiversitet og økosystemtjenester

Foto: Rasmus Ejrnæs
Foto: Britta Munter
Foto: Britta Munter

Ecosystem services are the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being, including provision of food and fiber, regulation of the biosphere and cultural services. Biodiversity is the variety of all forms of life, from genes to species, through to the broad scale of ecosystems. Ample evidence exists that our current society has by far overstepped the planetary boundary regarding the rate of loss in biodiversity, 100-1000 times more than the natural rate of extinction. This in turn will have detrimental impacts on the provision of ecosystem services upon which we depend for survival and for maintaining health and wellbeing.

Ecosystems services research is inherently transdisciplinary and combines natural and social science disciplines to increase the understanding of how environmental policies and management of ecosystems influences ecological processes and in turn the services humans derive.  Ecosystem services research is a relatively new field aiming to address the challenges of governing complex and interdependent environmental and societal systems. The field became popular with the Millennium ecosystem Assessment in 2005. The framework for assessment developed a typology of services into four classes, provisioning, regulation, supporting and cultural services, denoting the different ways in which ecosystems provide benefits to people.

Our research area aims to elucidate and advance our understanding of the importance of ecosystem services and biodiversity for society, people and our well-being, and to investigate how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be optimally managed and systematically enhanced.

Our research specifically seeks to:

  • Understand the environmental and social processes underpinning ecosystem services
  • Develop valuation methodologies to evaluate the effects on human well-being of changes in ecosystem services
  • Develop spatial modelling approaches to study changes in ecosystem services
  • Develop spatial economic models to analyze the provision of ecosystem services and the synergies and conflicts between ecosystem services
  • Understand the pros & cons of alternative policy instruments to govern ecosystem services

Our research spans different types and locations of ecosystems:

Agro-ecological systems

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Marine and freshwater systems

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