Ecosystems and biodiversity

Flamingos at Lake Natron, Tanzania. View on the volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai, the "Mountain of God". Photo: Albrecht Ehrensperger


Ecosystems provide us with sustenance and raw materials, purify water and air, and offer habitats for people, animals, and plants. But their overuse has led to dramatic species loss and severe impairment of many ecosystem services. These developments also threaten human welfare. Conservation of nature and species is an urgent matter. For conservation to be effective, it must be approached holistically and brought together with social benefits.

CDE works at the interface of people and nature. The aim is to use natural resources sustainably so as to ensure the long-term well-being of everyone. CDE researchers examine the causes and consequences of changes in ecosystems and the services they provide for people. Together with those affected, the researchers consider the values and needs attached by stakeholders to the ecosystem services in question. This opens up ways of integrating different interest groups and finding solutions that equally consider protection of nature and human needs.


Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)
UNESCO chair at CDE
WOCAT – World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies

Ongoing projects

Agroecology and safe food system transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET) 
BIO-TRADE – Protecting biodiversity through regulating trade and international business 
Climate-resilient cocoa landscapes in Madagascar
Governance processes and impacts of extractive industries in Madagascar
Environmental policies for ecological infrastructures in rural landscapes (EMERALD)
Indigenous knowledge for conservation governance innovations
INSPIRE – Integrated spatial planning for biodiversity conservation and human development
Landscape stewardship for nature and people 
Nature Park stations in Bernese parks
Pha Khao Lao
Risk of forest fires north of the Alps: Awareness and communication
SHOWCASE - Showcasing synergies between agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem services
Sustainable land management and investments for climate-resilient livelihoods (SLMIC)
Sustainability research and monitoring of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site 
Traditional irrigation in Europe as cultural heritage (in German)
Woody invasive alien species in Eastern Africa

Completed projects

Adaptation to Climate Change
CASCADE – Catastrophic shifts in drylands
DESIRE – Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land
Ecosystem services and resulting trade-offs in Madagascar
First 100% energy self-sustaining protected area in Chile (REPIC) 
GLP - Global Land Programme
Knowledge for sustainable development in mountains
Language Compass Landscape and Environment 
Links between biodiversity and coffee farmer practices in Bolivia 
Managing telecoupled landscapes 
Mainstreaming and Scaling Out Sustainable Land Management (DS-SLM)
Nudging approaches and their effectiveness
Sustainable quality of life in parks of national importance
TABI – The Agrobiodiversity Initiative
The cultural dimension of sustainable development
Trade-offs in forests between sustainable Economy and Environmental objectives (ATREE)