Project Idea

Rapid biodiversity loss is a key characteristic of our times driven by overexploitation, climate change, and land use change (LUC) leading to habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss especially in the tropics. These drivers affect biodiversity at all organizational levels, leading e.g. to decline in abundance, range contractions, species’ extinctions, community shifts, and the loss of entire ecosystems. Gradual ecosystem degradation can destabilize and suddenly change ecosystem structure and functioning at large scales. The concept of biodiversity tipping points (BD-TPs) subsumes that even small changes in biodiversity can have drastic and long-term consequences for ecosystem functioning, thereby negatively affecting provisioning of ecosystem services (ESS) and human well-being. The production and flow of ESS may be seriously impaired, sometimes leading to the destabilization of societies, and resulting in social injustice, unrest or conflict. However, major research gaps currently inhibit investigating BD-TPs and thus hamper the development of management strategies to avoid critical transitions and strengthen the resilience of social-ecological systems. What is needed most are (a) an operational definition of BD-TPs that allows their quantification, (b) indicators and tools to assess biodiversity change and its effects on ecosystem functioning and services consistently across scales and thus, (c) the definition of a safe operating space for biodiversity to avoid critical transitions.

Biodiv4Future aimed at filling this research gap, while investigating on the identification of BD-TP and changes in ESS in South America - mainly focusing on the Grand Chaco and the Cerrado.


Kick-off Workshop - Potsdam June 19th to 21st 2017

During the kick-off workshop the team critically discussed the project idea, the contribution of each partner and next steps.

Group Picture

Participants: Liam Langan, Ralf Seppelt, Simon Scheiter, Rodrigo Ferraz, Kirsten Thonicke, Pedro Leitão, Tomáš Václavík, Margareth Simões, Marco Ehrlich, Matthias Baumann, Lina Estupiñan, Miroslav Honzák, Tobias Kümmerle, Fanny Langerwisch, Johannes Schielein, Cornelia Anderson (from left to right), Alexander Popp, Jan Börner.

After a very successful and productive Kick-Off Workshop in June at PIK, we conducted regional workshops together with partners from South America in Bogotá, in Tucumán and Brasiliá.

At the workshop in Bogotá we had a fruitful exchange with local partners, identified stakeholders and discussed communication strategies. During the project workshop in Tucumán we focused on topics of importance for the Grand Chaco. The workshop in Brasília mainly focused on the Cerrado and included an excursion to an experimental site.

Regional Workshop - Bogotá July 26th to 29th 2017

participants of the workshop

Participants: Fabiana Arévalos, Adriana Bayma, Andres Borona, Francisco Cuesta, Marco Ehrlich, Lina Estupiñan, Miguel Alejandro Fernández, Diego González, Miroslav Honzák, Fanny Langerwisch ,Pedro Leitão, Juan Pablo López, Sofía Marinaro,Christian Martínez, András Páez, Erwin Palacios, José Manuel Ochoa, Kathia Rivero, José Salomao, Kirsten Thonicke, Tomáš Václavík, (alphabetical order).

Regional Workshop - Tucumán November 27th to 29th 2017

Participants: Roxana Aragon, Matthias Baumann, Natasha Chacoff, Georgina Conti, Julieta Decarre, Ignacio Gasparri, Andrea Goijman, Ricardo Grau, Tobias Kuemmerle, Pedro Leitão, Leandro Macchi, Sofía Marinaro-Fuentes, Gregorio Ignacio Gavier Pizarro, Kirsten Thonicke, Tomáš Václavík, Cristian Venencia, Alberto Yanosky (alphabetical order).

Brasília Workshop - Brasília December 05th to 06th 2017

Participants: Ane Alencar, Silvana Bastos, Matthias Baumann, Mercedes Bustamante, Lina Estupiñan, Geraldo W. Fernandes, Rodrigo P. Ferraz, Manuel Ferreira, Letícia Gomes, Marina Hirota, Tobias Kuemmerle, Fanny Langerwisch, Pedro Leitão, Sofía Marinaro, José Manuel Ochoa, Rafael Oliveira, Jean Ometto, Raoni Rajão, José Salomão, Leandro Santos, Lucas Silva, Divino Silvério, Margareth Simões, Britaldo Soares-Filho, Kirsten Thonicke, Tomáš Václavík, Celso von Randow (alphabetical order).

Link to project database: Biodiv4Future