Research at the institute aims to advance the understanding of human-nature interactions and thus contribute to the sustainable development of living environments.
The institute focuses on the ecological relationships of anthropogenic habitats, particularly in urban and suburban areas, and is closely linked to urban ecology as a scientific discipline. Besides including the analyses of ecological patterns and processes in urban landscapes under strong human influences, we also address the extent to which existing positive linkages can be strengthened through adaptive management and habitat design (see figure).
The connection to socially motivated topics (e.g. implementation of biodiversity and nature conservation strategies, pollinator protection) is ensured through contact with local actors (administration, associations, citizens' initiatives, etc.). There is currently an increasing demand for an "evidence-based" approach, i.e. the linking of ecologically sound insights - e.g. based on standardised mapping or surveys - with planning approaches and management recommendations.
The aim of the institute’s research approach is to develop and contribute to solutions based on an understanding of landscape as a complex system of environmental processes with multi-functional use requirements. The institute can draw on extensive experience in both fundamental and application-oriented research and the coordination of interdisciplinary projects at local, national and international levels with numerous partners from the fields of research, administration and industry. The institute includes an Urban Ecology Lab equipped with extensive GIS facilities (hardware/software for geodata processing and CAD-supported design, modelling and visualization software), as well as a specialist library and map archives.
Current projects at the institute:
- UNALAB: 2017 – 2022, EU
- INTERESS: 2018 – 2021, BMBF
- JuniperCA: 2019 – 2021, BLE
- RUN: 2019 – 2022, BMBF