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International project to foster sustainable use of ecosystems

International project to foster sustainable use of ecosystems

Press release from
© Burkhard/LUH

13 million euros in EU funding awarded for project coordinated by Leibniz University Hannover

Utilise biodiversity resources in a manner that preserves them and allows previously damaged ecosystems to regenerate: that is the aim of the European project SELINA, which will be coordinated by Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) commencing 1 July 2022. The European Union (EU) awarded the project 13 million euros in funding as part of the new HORIZON research programme. 50 partner organisations from all 27 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom will be involved in the project in addition to further political, administrative and commercial partners.

SELINA - Science for Evidence-based and sustainabLe decIsions about Natural capital -is underpinned by the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which was resolved in May 2020. Through implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy, the EU has committed to a long-term plan to protect nature and reverse damage to ecosystems involving a series of measures, one of which includes this new project. "The SELINA project will provide the appropriate framework to consolidate findings on ecosystems together with their services, to support sustainable decision-making within the public and private sectors" explains project coordinator Professor Dr. Benjamin Burkhard (Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, LUH).

The institute also coordinated the predecessor for the project, ESMERALDA, which aimed to map and evaluate ecosystems, their resources and potential ecosystem services; SELINA focuses on implementation: The methods and data on ecosystem services developed in recent years will now be employed across Europe in 15 individual projects in practice and in examples at different spacial levels. Well-known commercial partners such as soft-drink manufacturer Coca-Cola, Norwegian financial services company Storebrand and regional water suppliers are also involved. Subsequently, findings should serve as a model, which provides support in future commercial and political decision-making processes.

The main objective of SELINA is to establish practical recommendations for decision-making based on scientific evidence. The project also aims to effect social changes necessary to protect and use the environment sustainably. In practice, growing wheat, for example, would involve determining the area and condition of land required to meet the population's needs as well as the land's location beforehand to establish whether it is suitable for sustainable cultivation. By this means, overused fields and degraded would have the opportunity to regenerate and be used sustainably at the same time. This would also enable potential conflict - for example, relating to space for renewable energy - to be identified and mitigated.


Note to editors

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard, Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology at Leibniz University Hannover (Tel. +49 511 762 3537, Email burkhard@phygeo.uni-hannover.de).