Ecosystem Change Research Group

We focus on the ecological and anthropological drivers of change in ecosystems and ecosystem services for the benefit of nature and people.

Our research themes

  • Ecosystem change and complex systems modelling
  • Social ecological systems
  • Conservation and conflicts
  • Climate change impacts
  • Habitat management, protected areas and species conservation planning
  • Ecosystem function and services
  • Land use change impacts
  • Wildlife responses to anthropogenic change

Our research

Our group focuses on interdisciplinary research bringing together ecology and social science to model, predict and manage ecosystem change for the benefit of biodiversity and human wellbeing.

Ecosystem Change and complex systems modelling

We work on a wide range of ecosystems from the arctic to the equator and from mountains to lowland rainforests and coastlines. Our work measures changes in ecosystem function, from genetic variations to tracking shifts in the composition of plant and animal communities or the dynamic between alternative biomes. We seek to model and predict how ecosystems will respond to global and local drivers, such as climate or land use change, and propose management pathways to secure the best outcomes for conservation and human well-being in our studied landscapes.

Social ecological systems

We integrate social and ecological research to decompose the complex dynamics and feedbacks that link ecosystem change and human decision making.

Conservation and conflicts

Conflicts in conservation appear when people or institutions have clashing views on how a specific natural resource is exploited, managed or protected. We use a breadth of social-ecological approaches and evidence with an aim to mitigate conflicts.

Climate change impacts

We quantify how gradual climate changes and extreme weather events are impacting ecosystem structure and function in the ecosystems we work in, using empirical data to inform robust models of future responses.

Habitat management, protected areas and species conservation planning

We work with a wide variety of policy and practitioner partners to identify how effective habitat management can maximise habitat stability and sustainability as our environment changes.

Ecosystem function and services

We explore the cascading effects of environmental change on social ecological systems, how ecosystem function and resource supply to human populations is likely to change in the future, and how we might best mitigate potential negative impacts.

Land use change impacts

We dissect the impacts of changing land use patterns (such as, agricultural expansion and deforestation) on ecosystem composition and function, to understand how human-modified landscapes can support species diversity and ecosystem functions, and the role of management practices in these landscapes.

Wildlife responses to anthropogenic change

The status of many wildlife species and populations is under threat due to the impacts of human activities. We research both the effects of anthropogenic change on biodiversity, and the efficacy of solutions, which could help tackle negative effects.

Contact us

Please contact Professor Nils Bunnefeld for any queries or information.