Plenaries

Teja Tscharntke - Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns, pollination and biological control

Understanding how landscape characteristics affect biodiversity patterns and ecological processes at local and landscape scales is critical for mitigating effects of global environmental change. In this talk, I use knowledge gained from human-modified landscapes to suggest hypotheses, which I hope will encourage more systematic research on the role of landscape composition and configuration in determining the structure of ecological communities, ecosystem functioning and services. These include the dominance of beta diversity hypothesis (landscape-moderated dissimilarity of local communities determines landscape-wide biodiversity and overrides negative local effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity), the landscape-moderated concentration and dilution hypothesis (spatial and temporal changes in landscape composition can cause transient concentration or dilution of populations with functional consequences) and the intermediate landscape-complexity hypothesis (landscape-moderated effectiveness of local conservation management is highest in structurally simple, rather than in cleared, i.e. extremely simplified, or in complex landscapes). Shifting our research focus from local to landscape-moderated effects on biodiversity will be critical to developing solutions for future biodiversity and ecosystem service management.

Teja Tscharntke et al. (2012): Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes - eight hypotheses. Biological Reviews 87: 661-685 

 

 

Péter Szabó - Historical ecology: connecting the natural sciences and the humanities to understand ecosystem change

In recent decades, there has been an increasing recognition for the need to study long-term landscape development and ecosystem change from multiple perspectives. This involves natural scientific disciplines (e.g. ecology, palaeoecology, dendrochronology) as well as the humanities (e.g. history, archaeology, ethnography). Each discipline works with a set of sources ranging from archival documents through woodbanks to fossil molluscs, which are analysed with the help of often highly specialized methods. Such is the diversity of sources and approaches, that it would be impossible to cover all even for a single site, let alone a larger region. Nonetheless, the question remains how to integrate knowledge from various disciplines into a coherent whole. Some of the research at this interdisciplinary interface is called historical ecology. I will introduce the roots and development of historical ecology to show where such investigations came from and where they may be heading. I will also try to explore the value of historical ecological investigations in understanding current ecosystems. Examples of historical ecological investigations on marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems will illustrate how the past can offer relevant information for the present and possibly the future. In addition to presenting well-tried methods, I will also introduce the latest trends in historical ecological research, e.g. modelling approaches or citizen science.