The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)is offering a PhD Position (m/f) in the subject of Plant functional traits as indicators for ecosystem services. Project start: 1st July 2016. Working time 50% (19.5 hours per week), limited to 3 years.

- Identify the links between plant functional traits and functional diversity and the provision of key ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes
- Model the response of plant communities, their traits, functional diversity and related ecosystem services to changes in agricultural land use
- Suggest ways to manage agricultural landscapes in a way that maximizes both functional diversity and key ecosystem services
- Highlight consequences of decisions made under different societal priorities

Candidate profile:
- Diploma or MSc degree in biology, ecology, geoecology, geography or a related discipline
- Expertise in modern concepts of ecology
- Experiences with plant ecology are preferable
- Skills in the analysis of functional traits are advantageous
- Experiences in GIS are advantageous
- Expertise in modern statistical methods and readiness to become acquainted with the statistical environment "R"
- Ability to work in a team
- Fluency in written and spoken English

To apply and for more information go to:

The University of Nottingham is opening a position for Associate Professor in the School of Geography. 

The University is seeking to appoint an academic to make a significant leadership impact within the research and teaching area of environmental management (which could include topics such as ecosystem services, sustainability, climate change, development, hazards, risk and human health and well-being). Experience in the application of remote sensing and/or GIS techniques to environmental management issues would be welcome.

Deadline: 22nd February 2016

More information on the position and requirements available here.

A new paper "Combining internal and external motivations in multi-actor governance arrangements for biodiversity and ecosystem services" published in the journal Environmental Science & Policy looks at ways to motivate actions for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision. The paper is a result of the EU FP7 funded project BIOMOT.


This paper analyses the possibility of building a mutually supportive dynamics between internally and externally motivated behaviour for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision. To this purpose a face to face survey amongst 169 key actors of 34 highly successful and prominent biodiversity arrangements in seven EU countries was conducted. The main finding of the paper is the feasibility of combining inherently intrinsically motivated behaviours (providing enjoyment, pleasure from experimentation and learning, aesthetic satisfaction) and internalized extrinsic motivations (related to the identification with the collective goals of conservation policy) through a common set of governance features. Successful initiatives that combine internal and external motivations share the following features: inclusive decision making processes, a broad monitoring by "peers" beyond the core staff of the initiatives, and a context that is supportive for the building of autonomous actor competences. These findings are in line with the psycho-sociological theory of motivation, which shows the importance of a psycho-social context leading to a subjective perception of autonomy and a sense of competence of the actors.

Original Source: 

Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Jeroen Admiraal, Almut Beringer, Flavia Bonaiuto, Lavinia Cicero, Paula Fernandez-Wulff, Janneke Hagens, Juha Hiedanpää, Paul Knights, Erica Molinario, Paolo Melindi-Ghidi, Florin Popa, Urban Šilc, Nathalie Soethe, Tiina Soininen, Jose Luis Vivero, Combining internal and external motivations in multi-actor governance arrangements for biodiversity and ecosystem services, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 58, April 2016, Pages 1-10, ISSN 1462-9011,


What do people value, why and how? This should be a leading question in sustainability research, but putting it into practise can be tricky. A new paper published in the journal Ecosystem Services looks at how to improve stakeholder participation in the research on and governance of ecosystem services (ESS) as a stepping point to more comprehensive and participatory research practises.

Credit: J. Settele 

Stakeholder participation in the governance of ecosystem services (ESS) is conceptually necessary, especially in the light of the failure of monetary valuation to provide assessment instruments suitable as policy guidance. To answer the Whys and Hows of ESS research real involvement and participation of stakeholders has proven to be a more valuable tool.

Building upon experience from transdisciplinary research projects in Asia, Africa and Europe, the new paper argues that successful participation depends on the specific socio-cultural context and requires different means and modes of participation during different project phases.

The paper provides a useful overview of tested methods, with their pros and cons listed. Alongside the challenges on the basis of different projects experiences, the research also outlines the ways in which good project coordination can help for such difficulties to be anticipated and handled. The main conclusions and recommendations are extracted in five core lessons, with regards to:

- Participation;

- Target groups;

- Integration;

- Managing;

- Limits to economic valuation;

This paper benefitted from the experience in transdisciplinary research projects over the last 20 years, in particular the EU FP 6 Integrated Project "ALARM" (GOCE-CT-2003-506675, 2003-2008), "LEGATO" (German Ministry for Education and Research, research Grant no. FKZ01LL0917A-01LL0917O, 2010-2016), "EO-Miners" (EU FP 7 research Grant agreement no. 244242, 2009-2013), "APPEAL" (funded by BiodivERsA 2011-33, Grant 01LC1102A, 2011-2015),"EJOLT" (EU FP7 Science in Society Grant agreement no. 266642, 2011-2015), "ENRI" (ESF European Science Foundation funded, 2011-2015), "DEEDS" (EU Leonardo da Vinci Programme funded, 2005-2008) (Contract no. DK/06/B/F/PP-145612'DK/06/B/F/PP-145612), "SUSTRAT" (EU FP5 funded, IHDP endorsed, 2002-2006) (Contract no. HPSE-CT-2002-50019HPSE-CT-2002-50019), and earlier projects.

Original Source:

Joachim H. Spangenberg, Christoph Görg, Josef Settele, Stakeholder involvement in ESS research and governance: Between conceptual ambition and practical experiences - risks, challenges and tested tools, Ecosystem Services, Volume 16, December 2015, Pages 201-211, ISSN 2212-0416,

Post-doctoral scientist position is open for the project "Towards an integrated prediction of Land & Sea Responses to global change in the Mediterranean Basin" (LaSeR-Med), which focusses on integrated socio-ecological modelling. The duration of the contract is initially one year, with a possible extension for a second year, depending on the initial results. The post-doc will be based within the Mediterranean Institute of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE) in Aix-en-Provence, France. The project is part of the Labex OT-Med (

Applicants should hold a doctoral degree in physics, chemistry, microbiology, geosciences, environmental sciences or a related field of science. They should be familiar with modelling biogeochemical interactions between ecosystems and capable to further develop existing numerical ecosystem models. Programming skills (C) and modelling experience are therefore mandatory. Knowledge of R and of Unix/Linux environment will be an advantage. The candidate should have good written and oral communication skills. For work, good skills in the English language will be essential.

The project:

Terrestrial and marine ecosystems are connected through groundwater, river discharge and nutrient outflows (especially N and P). River catchments in the Mediterranean are N-intensive regions, mostly due to intensive agriculture in the North and to crop N2 fixation or food & feed import in the South. The fraction of nutrient reaching the sea constitutes significant anthropogenic forcing of many marine biological processes. For simulating the dynamics of the first levels of the marine food web (from nutrients to jellyfishes), the ocean biogeochemical model, Eco3M-MED, used and developed by the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) within OT-Med, currently uses N and P measurements at river mouths, e.g. for the Rhône.

Your application:

Applications should contain a suitable motivation letter describing your anticipated role in the project, a CV, a list of scientific publications and the names of at least two scientists that can be contacted for references. They must be sent to Ms. Gabriela Boéri ( Please prepare your application as a single file in pdf-format.

Questions about the project or the position can be directed to Dr. Alberte Bondeau ( The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found – work should start soon after that date. The salary and contract conditions will be determined according to standards set by Aix-Marseille University – questions in this regard can be directed to Sophie Pekar (


Assessments of ecosystem services (ES), aiming at informing decisions on land management, are increasing in number around the globe, but only in a few cases recommendations are then applied by decision-makers in real life. In a new paper published in the journal Ecology and Society a team of researchers aims to bridge the gap between scientific research and policy needs, by providing a new step-by-step problem-oriented approach for informing land-use decisions.

Often ES assessments are found to fall short in targeting information needs by decision makers. To improve their applicability in practice, the research team suggests a problem-oriented approach, putting the real-life needs and issues faced by stakeholders at the core of an ES assessment.

This picture shows irrigated rice fields in the Sapa region, Vietnam; Credit: Pavel Stoev

The scientists compared existing ES assessments concepts with focus on informing land use decisions, identifying opportunities for enhancing the relevance of ES assessments for decision making. Building on extensive experience of four projects in Brazil, China, Madagascar, and Vietnam, they developed a step-wise approach for better focussing ES assessments on the information needs in land use decisions, throughout the decision process:

  • Scoping phase (A): structuring ES information according to land use problems identified by stakeholders,

  • Assessment phase (B): collecting context-specific ES information as needed by decision makers, and assessing relevant management options,

  • Implementation phase (C): Synthesising, integrating and presenting information for decision support.

The development of each of them is broken down into several steps to provide an easy to follow workplan oriented towards maximum relevance for stakeholders.

Achieving a shared understanding of the role of ES within the social-ecological context can already be beneficial for the decision-making process. ES assessments are learning processes within which the design is refined and re-adjusted in the course of the assessment process and in response to newly acquired knowledge.

"To paraphrase Albert Einstein, assessments should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. We recognize that stepwise approaches are a simplification of the process required to fully understand the complexities involved in social-ecological systems." comments the lead author Johannes Förster. "However, our approach is meant to provide pragmatic guidance for making ES assessments more policy-relevant by focusing the design of assessments on particular land-use problems, stakeholder priorities, and information needs to explore options for more sustainable land management."


Additional information:

This paper is partly based on and supported by the LEGATO project. LEGATO stands for 'Land-use intensity and Ecological Engineering - Assessment Tools for risks and Opportunities in irrigated rice based production systems' and aims to advance long-term sustainable development of irrigated rice fields, against risks arising from multiple aspects of global change. The overall objective is the elaboration and testing of generally applicable principles within the frame of ecological engineering - an emerging discipline, concerned with design, monitoring and construction of ecosystems.

Original Source:

Förster, J., J. Barkmann, R. Fricke, S. Hotes, M. Kleyer, S. Kobbe, D. Kübler, C. Rumbaur, M. Siegmund-Schultze, R. Seppelt, J. Settele, J. H. Spangenberg, V. Tekken, T. Václavík, and H. Wittmer. 2015. Assessing ecosystem services for informing land-use decisions: a problem-oriented approach. Ecology and Society 20(3):31.

Like the European Commission in their Biodiversity Strategy from 2011, now also the USA government recognises that nature provides vital contributions to economic and social well-being and publsihes a memorandum that provides direction to agencies on incorporating ecosystem services into Federal planning and decision making.

The memorandum directs agencies to develop and institutionalize policies that promote consideration of ecosystem services, where appropriate and practicable, in planning, investment, and regulatory contexts. It also establishes a process for the Federal government to develop a more detailed guidance on integrating ecosystem-service assessments into relevant programs and projects to help maintain ecosystem and community resilience, sustainable use of natural resources, and the recreational value of the Nation’s unique landscapes.

This memorandum complements Ecosystem-Service Assessment: Research Needs for Coastal Green Infrastructure, a report released by the Administration in August that outlines Federal research priorities to inform the integration of coastal green infrastructure and ecosystem services considerations into planning and decision-making. Read more.

The Call for Papers for a new Special Issue - Putting Ecosystem Services (ES) into practice. Assessment tools and indicators for land management - is now announced. The issue planned to be published in the Ecosystem Services Journal will aim to present novel approaches to implement ecosystem service frameworks putting them into practice towards sustainable land management.

This could be by coupling ecosystem services with land use change models, stakeholder approaches to introduce newly developed tools and to address user needs and requests regarding thefuture course of assessment tools and development of indicators. Specific application of the ES framework within different decision support systems, from planning, impact assessment, project implementation and policy making are also welcomed. The application of these tools/indicators will be ideally discussed in specific case studies. Discussion could be focused on the currently addressed issues as well as technical and methodological challenges, helping in putting the ES framework into practical applications for land management.

Important dates

  • Final Submission deadline: 01 of March 2016

  • Final publication decisions (after peer review): 01 of October 2016

  • Expected publication date of the Special Issue: 01 of February 2017


For further questions please feel free to contact: Luis Inostroza, or Hannes


For more information, please see the official call PDF.

ecoSERVICES is seeking a new host institution to establish its international project office from 2016. Expressions of interest will be examined with the scientific steering committee on the week of 30 November 2015.

Currently hosted at the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie (IMBE) in France, ecoSERVICES is seeking a new host for its international project office from 2016

The ideal host institution works on scientific issues related to biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being, at various scales from local or national to global; and meets a few practical specifications via direct funding or in-kind support for establishment of a fully operational office.

Expressions of interest need to be sent to Karine Payet-Lebourges by email with subject "ecoSERVICES IPO – Offer".

Applications will be examined with the scientific steering committee on the week of 30 November 2015.

More information here.


The 8th World Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 9-13 November 2015. In addition to 37 sessions organised by the ESP working groups and key-partners (e.g. UNEP, UNCCD, TEEB, GIZ, Natural Capital Coalition and many others) on a wide range of topics, the conference will focus on the use of ecosystem services "for Nature, People and Prosperity", including the role in Conservation, Livelihoods and Business, which will be introduced, and discussed by well-known keynote speakers.

The conference will be held at Spier Conference Centre & Wine Farm near Cape Town.

For information on the conference:
For information on ESP:

A new study featured in Science for Environment Policy (SEP) - "Phosphorus removal performance of a large-scale constructed treatment wetland receiving eutrophic lake water.", published in Ecological Engineering, looks at the benefits of  constructed wetland ecosystem services.

The economic benefits of the ecosystem services provided by constructed wetlands far outweigh the costs of maintaining them, the new research has confirmed. Analysis of a wetland that treats the third largest lake in Florida, US, shows that it provides ecosystem services worth $1.79 (€1.64) million per year, against costs of less than half that figure.

Eutrophication, an excess of nutrients within water, has become a significant environmental problem. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution enters waterways as a result of run-off of agricultural fertilisers, and can be damaging for aquatic wildlife. Wetlands, which filter pollutants from water before they reach lakes, streams and oceans, can mitigate this problem. Although they occur naturally, artificial wetlands can also be constructed, and are now in use all over the world.

This study assessed the effectiveness of a large constructed wetland in the US. The researchers assessed the ability of the marsh flow-way in Florida, which filters Lake Apopka — the third largest lake in the state — to remove phosphorus from lake water.

Using estimates provided by ecological economics, which give monetary value to ecosystem services such as water pollution control, the researchers were able to estimate that the marsh flow-way provides a value of $1.79 (€1.64) million per year, many times greater than its annual running costs.

However, the researchers say that this is a crude estimate, which should be used to give an idea of the benefits of a wetland approach rather than a precise valuation.

As well quantifying costs and performance, the researchers also considered the ecological benefits of the wetland to assess management of the flow-way. The authors recommend that, when assessing system performance, wetland managers use a cost benefit approach that considers ecosystem services. They say this could lead to more effective and more sustainable water resource management.

Read more in the SEP brief.

Original Source:

Dunne, E., Coveney, M., Hoge, V., Conrow, R., Naleway, R., Lowe, E., Battoe, L. & Wang, Y. (2015). Phosphorus removal performance of a large-scale constructed treatment wetland receiving eutrophic lake water. Ecological Engineering 79, pp.132-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.02.003

The Institute of Environmental Planning at the Leibniz University Hannover invites applications for a position as a Junior Researcher/PhD student – Landscape Planning and Ecology to be appointed October 1, 2015. The position is limited to 3 years. The extent of the position is equivalent to 50% of the standard working time.

Responsibilities and duties include carrying out research in the sub-project "Assessing and Valuing Cultural Ecosystem Services) in the Research Project "River-Ecosystem-Service-Index" (RESI) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The candidate is expected to strive for further scientific qualification (PhD).

For more information, please see the official job offer here.

A new special issue "Ecosystem services: building informed policies to orient landscape dynamics" was recently pulished in the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management as an outcome of the Symposia "Ecosystem Services: Building Informed Policies to orient Landscape Dynamics" and "Land system change impacts on European landscapes" at the 2013 IALE European Congress - Changing European Landscapes.

In reaction to the failure of traditional environmental management approaches grounded on the paradigm "control change in systems", Ecosystem Services (ES) have emerged as a novel way of understanding ecosystem and landscape dynamics, including change, interactions and flows between human and natural systems.

ES can be interpreted as the result of a process of knowledge building and design, which has to be set according to some variables, as follows: (i) domain: identification of the territorial and temporal area of assessment and its boundaries according to landscape characteristics; (ii) potential: identification and calculation of ecosystem functions that such area can provide; (iii) beneficiaries: the end-users who will profit of the ES; (iv) providers: individuals or agents, as farmers, who are in charge to support and manage ES provision.

ES are currently being investigated with respect to the potential and the capacity of ecosystems to supply them, but the link to decision-making processes is related to another phase. Thus, the aim of the Special Issue is to discuss opportunities and challenges of applying ES in the dialogue between science and policy. This is especially relevant with regard to the European Biodiversity Strategy and its 2020 targets and clear focus on ecosystem services. Hence, the interaction and dialogue between different disciplines play a special role in the Special Issue. 

Access the special issue here:


The Department of Ecosystem Research at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin has an opening for a PhD position: Modelling of pollutant retention processes and related ecosystem services in rivers and floodplains.

The position is offered part-time (50%), starting in 2015, and limited to three years. Salary is paid according to the TVöD. The position contributes to the collaborative projects "River Ecosystem Service Index" (RESI)" granted by the BMBF, and also to the collaborative EU project "AQUACROSS" (subject to final confirmation).

The successful candidate is expected to perform the following work in close collaboration with the head of the project, IGB colleagues and other project partners: a) Modelling of processes that result in the retention of matter (nitrogen, phosphorus and other compounds) in selected river catchments in Germany and within the whole Danube catchment using MONERIS under various scenarios. A special focus will be laid on floodplains, and on potential differences between short-term and long-term retention in such self-purification processes. For that, new algorithms for retention have to be developed. b) Derivation of involved ecosystem services, trade-offs and their assessment, and visualization of those in maps. c) Elaboration of literature summaries, project deliverables, scientific publication manuscripts. d) Communcation and close collaboration with related project partners.

For more information, see the official offer attached below.

PhD Offer PhD Offer  79.05 KB

The Scool of Biology at the University of Leeds is looking for relatively early-stage researchers (current postdocs or lecturers) to join in the studying of the effects of agricultural management practices and landscape context on farmland biodiversity and on ecosystem service provision to add to the growing initiative towards developing a critical mass of cutting edge agri-environmental expertise at Leeds.   

The ideal canditate will show strong publication records and at least some history of attracting research funding (e.g. personal fellowships, or helped draft successful grants with PIs) – and most importantly:  the intelligence, creativity and enthusiasm to make exciting research contributions in the future.  The "Academic Fellowships" involve substantially reduced teaching roles relative to standard academic appointments, and they are expected to lead to permanent posts.  

The successful candidate would help deliver a critical mass of research expertise in an area that would cross-link two major research groupings in the School of Biology, while strengthening links to researchers in Geography (Water@Leeds) and Earth and Environment (SRI).  He /she would also serve a vital role in helping design and implement landscape-scale experiments to help develop a unique agri-environmental research platform.

Details of the post can be found on the 250 Great Minds website: (The top "Biology" project – and click "Show more details" to get to the topic list).

Application procedures are provided at:

The report ‘EU 2010 biodiversity baseline - adapted to the MAES typology (2015)’ presents a revised overview of the EEA's EU 2010 biodiversity baseline report.

The revision is necessary because the typology of ecosystems used in the 2010 report has since been altered by a working group of biodiversity experts. The revised report provides recalculated information on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components, based on the new typology of ecosystems.

Find the report here.

An new book titled "Ecosystem Services – Concept, Methods and Case Studies" has just been publsihed. 

This book explains the multifaceted concept of ecosystem services, provides a methodological framework for its analysis and assessment, and discusses case examples, particularly from Germany. It is addressed to scientists and practitioners in the administrative, volunteer and professional spheres, especially those who deal with environment, landscape management and nature conservation and regional and land-use planning. The target group includes experts from the business community, politicians and decision makers, students and all those interested in fundamental ecological, economic, ethical and environmental issues.

The book is available at:

A new special issue "Earth Observation for Ecosystems Monitoring in Space and Time: A Special Issue in Remote Sensing" published in the open access journal Remote Sensing provides a collection of  important researchers in the field, as well as the most challenging aspects of the application of remote sensing to study ecosystems. 

The special issue represents a stimulating discussion concerning innovative techniques/approaches that are based on remote sensing data, which are used for the study of ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. Research scientists and other subject matter experts submitted innovative and challenging papers that showed advances in several topics:

  • estimating the spatial distribution of plant species richness by Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and hyperspectral data,

  • assessing habitat quality of forest corridor based on NDVI,

  • applying remote sensing to study (marine) coral ecosystems,

  • identifying ecosystem functional types,

  • distinguishing between different forest trunk size classes from remote sensing,

  • detecting changes in forest patterns,

  • applying light use efficiency models to estimate vegetation productivity,

  • classifying grassland successional stages by airborne hyperspectral images

  • proposing monitoring programs of grasslands based on multi-temporal optical and radar satellite images,

  • estimating the potential of remote sensing to capture field-based plants phenology.

Original Source: 

Rocchini, D. (2015). Earth observation for ecosystems monitoring in space and time: a special issue in Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing, 7: 8102-8106. [IF: 2.623] [DOI | PDF]

The full collection of papers can be found here:


The European Environmental Agency (EEA) has published its Annual Report describing the work carried out by the EEA in 2014. 

The EEA annual report includes the EMAS environmental statement 2014. The EEA aims to support sustainable development and to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymaking agents and the public.

Download the report here.

Stakeholders from across Europe are coming together at Green Week to discuss biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. The European Environment Agency (EEA) will present its latest findings, recently published in its reports 'State of nature in the EU' and 'The European Environment – state and outlook 2015'. 

The European Environment Agency's recent assessments, including The European environment – state and outlook 2015 and State of Nature in the EU, show that Europe's biodiversity is still being eroded, despite significant local improvements. To halt the loss of biodiversity, stabilise and restore degraded ecosystems, the European Union has adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which sets various targets and actions. An effective implementation of the strategy depends, among others, on the data and information available on biodiversity in Europe. Through its extensive network and close collaboration with partners, the EEA contributes extensively to the knowledge base on Europe's biodiversity.

As part of its contributions to this knowledge base, the EEA published today its new technical report 'European ecosystem assessment – concept, data, and implementation'. The report aims at supporting the implementation of EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, more concretely to Target 2 Action 5 – Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES). It describes, among others, the conceptual framework to map and assess ecosystems in detail as well as the mapping and assessment process. By outlining a coherent framework, the report aims to support Member States and Commission services tasked to carry out ecosystem assessments and making use of the outcomes.

Read the full original news story on the EEA website.