By Joern Fischer
With only one final signature still missing, I’d like to announce a new project that I will be coordinating as of the middle of 2014. It’s entitled “Identifying Social-Ecological System Properties Benefiting Biodiversity and Food Security”. It will be funded via an ERC Consolidator Grant, announced earlier this year here.
What will the project do?
Its goal is to develop and test a global theory that explains which properties of social-ecological systems benefit both biodiversity conservation and food security (and which may benefit one but not the other). To this end, the project will use a multi-scale approach that balances the likely trade-offs between depth and generality (see Figure above). Using a specifically developed typology of social-ecological system properties, the project will investigate rural landscapes as social-ecological systems at three levels of detail. First, drawing on expert knowledge, the project will develop a global database of at least 50 relevant systems, relating their general properties to indicators of food security and biodiversity. Second, workshops will be conducted on 15-20 social-ecological systems worldwide to reveal in more detail the causal linkages between system properties, food security and biodiversity. Third, there will be an in-depth empirical case study on food security and biodiversity in Ethiopia. This will complement the other components by highlighting the nature of potentially important regional subtleties.
As part of this new project, I will fill several PhD and postdoc positions – at the earliest for January 2015. I will post updates on these positions on this blog later on. In brief, this will be an interdisciplinary project, and I will be looking to work with a mix of social-science and ecology oriented people.