Chair for social-ecological interactions in agricultural systems

What we do

Our field of research is sustainability sciences. Our goal is to promote sustainability in agriculture and other forms of land management through a deeper understanding of the interrelationships between biodiversity, ecosystem services and landscape change.

We are convinced that the threats to our ecosystem and a transformation towards more sustainability can only be researched together with land use practice, politics and society. We therefore understand agricultural landscapes as social-ecological systems in which there are numerous interactions between natural and social processes and in which nature and society shape each other.

Research approach

We address current environmental issues of global relevance by means of case studies carried out on a landscape scale. The study areas are strategically selected to cover the main gradients of environmental and land use history. This allows both a cross-site comparison and the consideration of regional land use systems. Our research is collaborative and interdisciplinary, combining natural and social science approaches with ecosystem services, research at landscape level and land management. We focus on interactions between different ecosystem services: provision (e.g. crop production), regulation (e.g. carbon sequestration, erosion control) and cultural services (e.g. recreation, cultural heritage values). This scope is broad and allows the analysis of various trade-offs and synergies between agricultural and forest production, biodiversity and the provision of intangible ecosystem services. Our research covers basic and applied research and is relevant to various policy areas related to land use, landscapes and ecosystem services.

Universities of Kassel and Göttingen

Our department is jointly supported by the University of Kassel and the Georg-August-University of Göttingen.

Our international partners

Our group works with networks, institutes and groups that are world leaders in sustainability science: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, Institute for Environmental Studies of the Free University of Amsterdam and Division of Society & Environment of the University of California at Berkeley and others.