sELOdiv: Synthesising Ecosystem and Land cover Observations and biodiversity change after abandonment and depopulation

First meeting: tba

Gergana Daskalova
Sylvia Dyulgerova

iDiv members:
Henrique Pereira
MarĂ­a Felipe-Lucia

Project summary:
The sELOdiv working group will quantify the biodiversity impacts of land abandonment, human depopulation and socio-economic shifts. Evidence from predominantly Mediterranean countries has painted a heterogeneous picture of gains and losses in biodiversity following abandonment, but we know less about other hotspots of land abandonment, such as ex-Soviet countries. This knowledge gap is important because the socio-economic context in Central and Eastern Europe and East Asia is different to that of the rest of Europe and findings from elsewhere are likely not transferable to ex-Soviet landscapes. We will synthesise data on biodiversity (BioTIME, Living Planet, InsectChange, Common Birds Survey and European Vegetation Archive and new data from Eastern Europe and East Asia collected by working group members), land cover and land use (derived from Landsat, Sentinel and ESA CCI) and human population (UN and country-level statistics) to answer:

What are the individual and joint effects of land abandonment and human depopulation on biodiversity change across taxa and across Europe and East Asia?

How do large-scale socio-economic shifts influence biodiversity trends?

What factors explain the heterogeneity in land abandonment and human depopulation impacts across taxa and regions?

The key contributions of our proposed research will be the first large-scale data synthesis of biodiversity change following land abandonment, and a data compilation, targeting underrepresented ex-Soviet countries. Our research will provide insights into the conservation potential of abandoned land and will form the quantitative base upon which we can build biodiversity scenarios capturing the full spectrum of land-use change.


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