The environmental geography department studies the quantification of ecosystem services capacity and demand from local to global scales. Our research contributes to discussion between stakeholders and facilitates understanding of the trade-offs involved in land use management and policy.

Well functioning healthy ecosystems provide ecosystem services, such as nature recreation, pollination and flood control, which support our daily lives, societal wellbeing and the economy. Aligning demands for multiple ecosystem services requires management and research on the current quantification and sustainable use of ecosystems as well as exploring opportunities for the restoration of landscapes and the optimization of landscape structure. However, while multi-objective planning for ecosystem services offers opportunities to maintain and enhance multifunctional landscapes, it also inevitably involves trade-offs between individual services.

Understanding landscape change and the consequences these changes yield is crucial for effective policy design and land use planning. We assist in quantifying and mapping implications for land use, ecosystem services and biodiversity. We assess the effectiveness of existing policy targets as they interact with other land demands, for example trade-offs and off-site effects through tele coupling and displacement or leakage.

We use a variety of approaches for the assessment of ecosystem service capacity and demand from local to global scales with a strong focus on spatial mapping of ecosystem services under current and future conditions, choice experiments, identification of ecosystem service hotspots and future management trajectories.

Characteristic for our approach is:

  • the use of quantitative, spatially explicit methods and models to quantify multiple ecosystem services
  • the assessment of both ecosystem service demand and ecosystem service supply ranging from the local to the global scale
  • a strong link to ecosystem services in cultural landscapes in Europe aimed at informing management alternatives for maintaining cultural landscapes in strong cooperation with local stakeholders and land owners

Selected key publications: