Thematic Sessions
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154S | Light pollution: Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in an increasingly illuminated world+

Session convenors: Eva Knop, University of Zurich and Agroscope and Franz  Hoelker, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries

The invention and widespread use of artificial light is one of the most important human technological advances, but the fundamental transformation of nightscapes is increasingly recognised as having adverse effects on nature. Since the biological world is organised to a large extent by natural cycles of variation in light and darkness, artificial light at night can influence a wide range of processes, from gene expression to ecosystem functioning.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Artificially illuminated area at night has rapidly increased since the 19th century with an estimated increase of about 2 - 6% per year, with individual countries having increases of more than 10%. The problem is that artificial light has been introduced in places, at times, spectra and intensities at which it does not naturally occur, and many organisms have had no chance to adapt to this new stressor.Although we know that organisms do respond to artificial lighting with changes in behaviour and physiology, there is little known about the impact on biological diversity and ecosystem functioning. Also, evidence for evolutionary adaptations of species and communities to artificial light is still scarce. In this session, we aim to bring together on-going work and cutting edge evidence of the ecological and evolutionary impact of artificial light at night on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We thereby intend to include evidence from aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems, and to cover a broad spectrum of taxa and ecosystem functions. This will allow to synthesize the current knowledge on the on-going changes and help to make predictions of future biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in an increasingly illuminated world.
155S | The Future of Remote Sensing of Biodiversity+

Session convenors: Susan L. Ustin, University of California Davis, Margarita Huesca-Martinez, University of California Davis and Shruti  Khanna, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Earth is undergoing a rapid decline in global biodiversity due to habit loss, changes in land use, and climate change, among others. There is significant need to increase our understanding of the spatial and temporal scales of biodiversity and its organization to address questions about sustainability of ecosystem functionality and the ecosystem services they provide.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Ground-based data cannot provide the reliable and consistently collected global data that is needed to understand the biological and ecological consequences of these losses. Combining remote sensing data with ground-based strategies offers a way to acquire this information, and todays technologies are increasingly diverse, measuring wavelengths from the ultraviolet to radar with accurate and robust capabilities. Many of these hold promise for contributing to measurement and monitoring of global biodiversity patterns, however full utilization of these capabilities for biodiversity applications have lagged and more research is needed. Generally, current use of remote sensing data to map or monitor plant biodiversity has been limited to applications of spatial variation based on simple spectral indexes. The use of individual sensor technologies like hyperspectral, lidar, and thermal imagery and measurements of steady-state fluorescence are now available on the International Space Station or will soon be flown as free-flyers. Individually or a combination of these technologies hold promise to measure a wide range of plant chemical, physiological, and structural properties that relate to ecosystem functionality and plant biodiversity.
158S | Assessment of biodiversity impacts from supply chains: challenges and way forward+

Session convenors: Alexandra Marques and Serenella Sala, European Commission - Joint Research Centre

There is clear evidence that our consumption is increasingly generating pressures on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, but we still lack a deep knowledge about the impacts of these pressures. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an established method to measure impacts of supply chains, as it considers the whole life cycle of products from raw materials extraction to disposal. LCA allows the systematic quantification of more than 15 different environmental impacts (for example, climate change, acidification, eutrophication, land use).

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

For more than 30 years, business and policy makers have been using LCA, to support environmental-related decisions. Moreover, since 2015, LCA is listed in the toolbox supporting the Better Regulation, making it as a tool to assess the outcomes of different policy options. Current LCA methods cannot yet fully address the environmental impacts on biodiversity, for which there is an increasing interest by both businesses and governments. In this session, we will discuss the main modelling approaches available to model biodiversity in LCA, and also how these could be improved or complemented from advances in the quantification of biodiversity from an ecology perspective. Further, we will discuss the role of assessing the impacts of consumption on biodiversity and ecosystems in the international policy context. More specifically, we will discuss how it can contribute to tackle biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, by unravelling the links between Sustainable Development Goals 12 (Responsible production and consumption) and 15 (Life on land).
163S | The Role of Biomimicry in Tackling Biodiversity Loss and Public Health Challenges+

Session convenors: Patrick Lewis, University of British Columbia, Francesca Racioppi, World Health Organisation, Paul Smith, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Paul Kersey, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Albert  Shum, Microsoft and Lana Sutherland, TEALEAVES

Public health is both directly and indirectly linked to the health of biodiverse ecosystems at all scales. The loss of biodiversity and resulting impact on ecosystem processes is often associated with a concordant increase in public health challenges. Further exacerbating the complexity of these problems is the climate crisis.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Diseases long thought contained or restricted to certain areas of the world are re-emerging or spreading. Novel infectious diseases with unforeseen modes and rates of transmission are becoming more commonplace. Clean water, a paramount underpinning to public health, is becoming more expensive to maintain while simultaneously becoming less available. The degradation of soils and their associated microorganisms are leading to less resilience in agricultural systems; food security is being affected, linked to the public health impacts of poor nutrition. Where will humans find the inspiration to design the required solutions? Art and design have long been influenced by the natural world, but it is only in recent decades that there has been prominent recognition that science and engineering can similarly seek answers from biodiversity. Biomimicry – observing, understanding, and recreating the processes or materials that have evolved in biodiversity – is a wellspring of "knowledge" that remains underutilized. This session will cover a range of perspectives connecting biodiversity to public health. It will bring together academia, corporations, and NGOs to discuss recent scientific work in biomimicry for public health solutions and how the public is being engaged through strategic partnerships. It will reinforce the importance of preserving and renewing in situ and ex situ biodiversity, and the role of botanical gardens as “innovation libraries.”
165S | Drivers of successes and failures in conservation management+
Session convenor: Jutta Beher, University of Melbourne

Despite increasing time, effort, and investments into conservation research and actions across the globe, biodiversity gets lost at accelerating speed. We have to increase our impact quickly, but to do so have to understand the drivers of successes and failures of the projects that are currently implemented.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Are there underlying big commonalities on a national or even global scale that need to be addressed, such as failing environmental laws in many countries as it for example Australia, where many industrial projects go ahead despite the destruction of last remaining habitats for threatened species, or Brazil and the US, where the recent government is removing "green tape" at concerning speed, and how do these relate to the unique set of challenges regarding effectiveness and feasibility that every project has to face at the local scale? Are conservation actions that aim for the local protection of a small fraction of remaining populations doomed to result in a likely end through disturbance events like disease, wildfire or climate change? As much of environmental destruction is driven by consumer-demand-driven industry, a interdisciplinary discussion between policy, financial, law and technical sides of management actions is needed to share current strategies and insights.
166S | Illuminating the black box+

Session convenors: Helen R.P. Phillips and Léa Beaumelle, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

Soils harbour some of the highest biodiversity. Yet, soil organisms are understudied in terms of their taxonomy, global distributions and the threats they face. It is important we understand life in the soil, as these organisms provide a variety of ecosystem functions that are vital for human wellbeing, such as decomposition, plant growth, and climate regulation, amongst many others. Despite their importance, soil biodiversity is often overlooked in large-scale and global biodiversity assessments, as well as in policy directives and conservation planning.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

This session aims to shed light on the most recent advances in soil biodiversity research, with emphasis on three facets. The latest advances on methods to assess where soil organisms are, and which processes or drivers are shaping their distribution. How anthropogenic impacts are affecting soil biodiversity, in terms of their distribution and their diversity. And finally, what changes in distribution and diversity of soil organisms may mean for our wellbeing, given the importance of soil biodiversity in the provisioning of many ecosystem functions.We will consider a variety of soil organisms, from micro-organisms to soil invertebrates, all of which play important roles for ecosystems by their interactions with each other and with plants. As well as a variety of scales, from the mechanistic approaches using experiments to unravel the complexity of soil communities and foodwebs all the way to macroecological approaches that are key to highlight current and future global biodiversity trends.

By bringing together this soil biodiversity research, we hope to advance the field in terms of conservation of the soil organisms. As well as highlight the importance of integrating soil organisms into policy-making and targets, and large-scale assessments.

168S | Biosphere integrity – an emerging concept in the planetary boundary realm+

Session convenors: Kirsten Thonicke, Wolfgang Lucht and Johan Rockström,  Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Preserving the integrity, diversity and resilience of the biosphere is a core environmental objective, not least because it provides the ultimate habitat for human civilization. To better describe and understand biosphere dynamics under global change, the biosphere-integrity concept is increasingly used. Biosphere Integrity can be defined as the integrity of taxonomic, structural and functional diversity of the biosphere.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

We still need to identify which indicators are best suited to quantify biosphere integrity across spatio-temporal scales and identify their respective data sources. Structural and functional diversity are closely related to specific ecosystem functions for which corresponding planetary boundaries can be identified. Here, the session aims to advance our understanding on how biosphere integrity interacts with other planetary boundaries. Quantification of planetary boundaries (PBs) for land-system change, biodiversity, climate change, freshwater and nutrient flows – along with an understanding of their interactions and spatial patterns – is crucial for informing a sustainability transition.The session aims at bringing together experts from biodiversity, biogeochemistry, planetary boundary science and earth system resilience and discuss the biodiversity integrity concepts, potential indicators and key questions to analyze the role of biodiversity integrity for ensuring the safe-operating space for the other planetary boundaries is maintained.
176S | Ethical conflicts in biodiversity conservation+

Session convenors: Anna Deplazes Zemp and Anna Wienhaus, University of Zurich

In this session we welcome contributions that discuss different types of ethical conflicts in biodiversity conservation. Amongst other things, such conflicts could concern the aims, methods, costs or policies of biodiversity conservation.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Potential topics include the conflicts between social justice and conservation goals in certain conservation areas or questions about whether (or to what extent) biodiversity should be conserved by ‘unnatural’ means such as biotechnology or assisted migration or. The session will consist three to five presentations selected from submitted abstracts. We encourage submissions from different disciplinary backgrounds, but we want to highlight that the presentations should focus on ethical conflicts involving different principles, values, normative theories or similar.
178S | Using Earth Observations to Understand Changes in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function+

Session convenor: Jeannine Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota

Earth observation is an essential complementary component to in situ observations and experiments designed to observe and understand changes in biodiversity, forcing mechanisms, and changes in ecosystem function across a range of spatial and temporal scales. NASA is a recognized a leader in satellite technologies for earth observation and the scientific understanding that underlies global ecological processes and forces of change. In recent years, the NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting program has pushed the research community to explore new methods to monitor biodiversity.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

We introduce NASA supported state-of-the-art work, with keynote presentations illustrating the response of biodiversity and ecosystem function to environmental change, and exploring the impacts of (anthropogenic) drivers of change and their interactions and feedbacks with ecosystems. This session is linked to session 155S The future of remote sensing of biodiversity, where we will identify future research directions in assessing biodiversity (change) with remote sensing technologies.

181S | Global consequences of past and future biodiversity loss+

Session convenor: Forest Isbell, University of Minnesota

Biodiversity loss is eroding benefits that people obtain from natural and managed ecosystems. In particular, biodiversity loss threatens several ecosystem services that depend on plant productivity, including wood production, forage and livestock production, crop yield, pollination, and climate regulation.

It remains difficult, however, to predict the extent to which human-driven changes in biodiversity will alter plant productivity or related ecosystem services, especially at the larger spatial and longer temporal scales that are most relevant to policy and conservation.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

The current literature includes very few global estimates of changes in plant productivity or related ecosystem services in response to past or projected future changes in biodiversity.For lack of better information, most current ecosystem service models implicitly assume that remaining fragments of nature will indefinitely continue to provide the same level of benefits to people, even if they are expected to lose much of their biodiversity in the future. In other words, most projections of future ecosystem service values do not yet account for the depreciation of natural capital that is expected to result from biodiversity loss. New multiscale knowledge is beginning to allow quantification of the cascading effects of human activities on ecosystem services via their effects on biodiversity. In this session, speakers will provide bounded quantitative estimates for the global consequences of past and projected future biodiversity loss for plant productivity and several related ecosystem services. Major sources of uncertainty and future research priorities will be identified. A series of talks will be followed by a panel discussion. The aim of this session is to quantitatively explore how some of the many values of nature depend not only on the quantity of remaining nature, such as the extent of protected areas, but also on the quality (i.e., biodiversity) of natural and managed ecosystems.
185S | The Role of Biodiversity in Multifunctional Landscapes+

Session convenors: Margot Neyret and Peter Manning, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre

While there is considerable evidence that biodiverse ecosystems are required to provide multiple ecosystem functions and related services at small scales, the role of biodiversity in delivering landscape scale multifunctionality is poorly understood. This prevents clear estimates of the importance of biodiversity at this scale, at which multifunctionality is desired and most management actions are performed.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

In this session we will present research which upscales the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship and/or takes a mechanistic approach to understanding the drivers of landscape scale ecosystem services and multifunctionality. The aim of the session is to stimulate discussion regarding the best way to evaluate the role of biodiversity at large scales and mechanistically incorporate biodiversity into landscape scale ecosystem service assessment and management.
187S | Public Health and Biodiversity: Potential and Barriers to Integrated Policies+

Session Convenor: Mollie Chapman, University of Zurich

When do policies for protecting biodiversity and improving human health align? When do they conflict? New research has explored the potential benefits of biodiversity for human health in areas such as urban green spaces for mental and physiological health; exposure to biodiverse natural areas and development of a healthy immune system; and regulation and transmission of infectious diseases (Hertzen et al., 2015; Sandifer, Sutton-Grier, & Ward, 2015). Scholars of food systems increasingly consider policies to simultaneously improve environmental and public health outcomes (Gordon et al., 2017).

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Yet can biodiversity and public health also be at odds? How do practices and policies designed for public health impact biodiversity? Two examples of regulations aimed at food safety illustrate potential negative impacts of health policy on biodiversity. In British Columbia, Canada an outbreak of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease) in the beef industry led to new regulations for abattoirs (slaughterhouses) that effectively eliminated small-scale abattoirs and the options for small-scale and remote producers that may use more biodiversity-friendly practices (Miewald, Ostry, & Hodgson, 2013). In California, an E. coliscare in the produce sector led pressure on farmers to remove bird habitat from their fields, a practice since proven ineffective (Karp et al., 2015). These examples show that while public health and biodiversity are not necessarily at odds, policy responses for the former can still negatively impact the latter.
190S | Integrated Pathways for Sustainable Biodiversity Futures: How to Better Assess Interactions across SDGs and Scales+

Session convenors: Eva Spehn, Swiss Biodiversity Forum, Andreas Obrecht, SDSN Switzerland, Davnah Payne, Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), Ariane de Bremond Global Land Programme (GLP), Odirilwe Selomane, Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), Hannah Moersberger, Future Earth Paris Hub and Gabriela Wuelser, SCNAT Sustainability Research Initiative

This session explores existing knowledge on the linkages between biodiversity and the SDGs and discuss challenges associated with collecting, providing, and implementing knowledge on this linkage to support social and political transformation. Short presentations are followed by a moderated fishbowl discussion, inputs will be summarised in a policy brief which will be shared with participants and beyond upon finalisation.  

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Co-designing biodiversity futures with relevant actors across sectors, backgrounds, values, and communities requires a highly integrated approach taking into account trade-offs and synergies with other development goals. The ‘wedding cake’ (EAT 2016) illustrates how the SDGs on life on land (SDG 15), life below water (SDG 14), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), and climate action (SDG 13) are fundamental for achieving the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. Life on land and below water both pertain to biodiversity, which through various conventions (Convention for Biological Diversity, CBD), platforms (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES), initiatives (e.g., Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network, GEO BON), and projects (e.g., Half-Earth Project) has recently attracted immense attention. Accordingly, it is commonly assumed that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda. The underlying evidence is however scattered and not readily available for decision makers. How can we best operationalize this knowledge for more sustainable, integrated biodiversity protection and management?
192S | Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Monitoring+

Session convenors: Claudia Roeoesli, University of Zurich, Marc Paganini, European Space Agency (ESA), Gary Geller, Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and Michael Schaepman, University of Zurich

Global observations and regular assessments are key to monitor and understand global biodiversity change and related drivers allowing to finally conserve biodiversity in space and time. Satellite based, remote sensing observations have demonstrated the capacity for global monitoring of biological diversity. This session discusses recent scientific progress and importance in using Earth observations from remote sensing platforms. Particular focus will be on priority setting of the choice and use of Earth observations as well as their complementarity and co-existence with in-situ measurements for global biodiversity assessment.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

The Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) is currently developing a framework, based on the concept of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), for a global biodiversity observation network. We will discuss the contribution, development, production, operationalization and validation of remote sensing enabled EBV's (RS-enabled EBVs) to the EBV framework. Exemplary RS-enabled EBVs may include fragmentation, vegetation structure, canopy chlorophyll content or land surface phenology, but are not limted to these. Besides the development of algorithms and their implementation, the session invites also contributions discussing the relevance of such data products for policy makers, biodiversity indicator assessment, integration for biodiversity analysis and modelling, as well as assessing ecosystem services.

210S | Indigenous knowledge in science-policy assessments+
Session convenors: Rodrigo Cámara-Leret and Jordi Bascompte, University of Zurich

Science-policy assessments that aim to understand how humans interact with ecosystems have been dominated by “western” viewpoints. However, this is at odds with our planet’s cultural diversity: indigenous societies occupy one quarter of terrestrial lands and over 7,097 indigenous languages are spoken on Earth. Indigenous communities not only inhabit a large portion of the world’s hyperdiverse tropical regions —they have also assembled sophisticated knowledge about plants and their services which has significantly enhanced local livelihoods and global economies. Unlike the burning of Amazonia or the Library of Alexandria, however, the knowledge acquired by indigenous societies may vanish in silence. Moreover, the ability of indigenous groups to share knowledge may rapidly decline as indigenous languages go extinct. This, in turn, may substantially diminish the ability of future generations to identify and benefit from natural resources.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

The loss of indigenous knowledge about nature’s services cannot be understood by studying local communities in isolation, as has been typically the case. Rather, multi-scale and networked approaches are needed to examine how biological and cultural factors determine the turnover and resilience of indigenous knowledge. This session brings together leading experts on indigenous knowledge, ecology, complex systems, and anthropology to examine the role of indigenous knowledge for the future of biodiversity, ways to quantify indigenous knowledge networks at macroecological scales, and theoretical approaches to study the resilience of indigenous knowledge.

220S | Biodiversity in the Grisons – Threats and Opportunities in an Alpine Environment+

Session convenor: Armando Lanz, ProNatura GR

The Canton of the Grisons is the largest canton in Switzerland with a vast elevational range from 400 to over 3000 m.a.s.l. The diverse landscape culminated in a large biodiversity and species richness. However, biodiversity is threatened by economic activities as well as climate warming. The main economic activities are focused on tourism (over 70%), with two million tourists producing around 5 million overnight stays. Touristic activities are expanded, and more and more infrastructure is planned and built in ecologically sensitive regions. The second economic threat stems from forestry and agriculture, which tend towards an excessive mechanization with an increasing mobility and intensified production. Richness in landscapes and species is thus decreasing, especially with the additional pressure by climate warming, which leads e.g. to heat waves in the lowlands of the canton, to the potential of more frequent forest fires, and to more drought at all levels. Some of these threats on the one side may turn into opportunities on the other side. Glacier retreat in the high mountain regions as an example opens the potential for new habitats at the front end.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

In this session we would like to discuss how biodiversity can be preserved and species’ loss decelerated in an environment where nature gets under increased pressure by human activities, and what mitigation and adaptation strategies have to be developed to cope with the threats and opportunities due to climate change. The session addresses the threats and opportunities from different user and protection perspectives. A panel discussion tries to find ways for a more sustainable use of nature in tourism, agriculture, and forestry to strengthen biodiversity.
237S | Tropics with the Highest Biodiversity: toward Interdisciplinary Studies+

Session convenors: Kentaro Shimizu, University of Zurich and Michael O'Brien, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

The tropical regions encompass the highest biodiversity on the earth, but has been understudied compared with other regions. Recently, genomics, physiology and experimental manipulation opened the way for integrated understanding of tropical biology combined with ecological and ecosystem studies.

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

238S | Mutualism and Biodiversity+

Session convenors: Jordi Bascompte, University of Zurich, and Judie Bronstein, University of Arizona

The rationale beneath this session is that in order to better understanding the relationships between mutualism and biodiversity, one needs more work in integrating across systems, scales, and methodological approaches. Among the latter, special emphasis should be given to the combination of phylogenetic approaches, theory, and experiments. This session tries to do so by combining a heterogeneous group of scientists representing different approaches and systems. We envision a session where talks will be brief so that the main focus is in the following in-depth discussion. The main goal is moving towards a better understanding of the role of mutualistic interactions for biodiversity maintenance.Mutually beneficial interactions among species have shaped much of biodiversity on Earth. And yet, the study of mutualism has not the same rich historical tradition than studies on competition or predation. Indeed, mutualistic studies have been somehow decoupled from an integrative approach relating them with major theoretical frameworks in ecology and evolutionary biology, thus remaining particular case studies. Another difficulty is that the relationship between mutualism and biodiversity can be studied at different scales, from macroevolution to community ecology, with little cross-talk between such scales. The direct consequence of this state of affairs is that while there is agreement about the role of mutualisms in generating biodiversity, there is more uncertainty about how complementary processes and hypothesis related to each other in modulating this overall effect (see a recent review in TREE by Chomicki et al. 2019).

Oral and poster contributions are welcome.

Mutualism is also relevant in the context of conservation biology and restoration ecology. Thus, mutualistic interactions were not only important during the radiations of many major groups such as beetles and angiosperms, but continue to be key processes to maintain biodiversity at local and regional scales. In a period of rapid deterioration of natural habitats and their ecological communities, this is certainly a timely subject.

The rationale beneath this session is that in order to better understanding the relationships between mutualism and biodiversity, one needs more work in integrating across systems, scales, and methodological approaches. Among the latter, special emphasis should be given to the combination of phylogenetic approaches, theory, and experiments. This session tries to do so by combining a heterogeneous group of scientists representing different approaches and systems. We envision a session where talks will be brief so that the main focus is in the following in-depth discussion. The main goal is moving towards a better understanding of the role of mutualistic interactions for biodiversity maintenance.

Interactive Workshops
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156W | Inspired by Biodiversity: Designing Biomimetic Solutions to Global Challenges+

Convenors: Patrick Lewis,  University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Albert Shum, Microsoft, Brian Boom, New York Botanical Garden Institute for Economic Botany, Aoife MacNamara, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Jas Pal Badyal, Durham University and Lana Sutherland, TEALEAVES

Challenges being faced by the world population at all levels are often directly or indirectly linked to the state of health of biodiversity and ecosystems. Among the many tragedies great and small of biodiversity loss is the potential of biodiversity to inspire the solutions needed for current and future global challenges.

This workshop is linked to session 163S

Observing, understanding, and replicating forms and processes in nature has led to innovations such as the burdock-inspired velcro and the kingfisher-inspired bullet train. The evolved forms and processes of nature are a wellspring of "knowledge" that remains underutilized – and this is the foundation of the field of biomimicry and biomimetic design.This workshop will introduce participants to biomimetic design as a tool for solving problems. Examples of biomimetic design will be highlighted to provide a foundation for ideation sessions on both applications of biomimetic design and strategies for the formation of a network of organizations facilitating biomimetic design.By demonstrating the value of biodiversity in resolving real-world problems, it is hoped that a more widespread understanding of biomimetic design can inspire a younger demographic--particularly those involved in the technology and design industries--about the urgency of preserving and renewing in situ and ex situ biodiversity within the ultimate goals of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.


Structure

  • Introduction to what is design, why it is important
  • Introduction to biomimicry and biomimetic design
  • Examples of biomimetic design in general (through existing material on the documentary and experts section of thegardenofsecrets.com
  • Examples of biomimetic design as applied to global issues like public health
  • Ideation on biomimetic design and future applicationsIdeation on a Strategy Document on how to facilitate biomimetic design through a network of organizations (facilitate networking)

157W | Assessment of biodiversity impacts due to global supply chains: state of the art and way forward+

Convenors: Alexandra Marques and Serenella Sala, European Commission - Joint Research Centre

There is clear evidence that consumption is increasingly generating pressures on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, but we still lack a deep knowledge about the impacts of these pressures and the link between specific products and supply chains and the biodiversity decline.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an established method to measure impacts of supply chains, as it considers the whole life cycle of products from raw materials extraction to disposal1. LCA allows the systematic quantification of more than 15 different environmental impacts (for example, climate change, acidification, eutrophication, land use).

This workshop is linked to session 158S

For more than 30 years, business and policy makers have been using LCA, to support environmental-related decisions. Moreover, since 2015, LCA is listed in the toolbox supporting the Better Regulation, making it as a method to assess the outcomes of different policy options2. Current LCA methods cannot yet fully address the environmental impacts on biodiversity, for which there is an increasing interest by both businesses and governments. In this workshop, we will present the main modelling approaches available to model biodiversity loss in LCA, compare the results and highlight the main gaps therein. This will set the basis for a discussion with the goal of laying the foundations to further elaborate and expand the existing impact categories of LCA to improve the evaluation of the impacts of consumption to biodiversity and ecosystems.

Further, we will discuss the role of assessing the impacts of consumption on biodiversity and ecosystems in the international policy context. More specifically, we will discuss how it can contribute to tackle biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, by unravelling the links between Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 (Responsible production and consumption), and the SDG 14 (Life below water) and the SDG 15 (Life on land).


We aim to invite experts for the workshop from policy, academy and business, covering 3 areas

  • experts in the LCA domain which have contributed so far to the development of the impact modelling for biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • experts modelling biodiversity change and conservation (biodiversity indicators and accounting)
  • experts in modelling ecosystem services change (ecosystem services indicators and accounting).
159W | Biodiversity of urban and periurban riparian forests and management of the landscape edges+

Convenor: I.J. Diaz-Maroto, University of Santiago de Compostela

Urban and periurban riparian forests and their landscape edges have different functions, from offering people leisure opportunities, the occasion to practice different sports, to the well-being that comes from enjoying nature close to the urban environment. These areas play an essential role in increasing green infrastructures for the sustainable development of cities. To do this, they must face an important challenge because of: i) a changing environment, ii) the need for technical means to analyze and evaluate their ecological problems, and iii) a generally positive perception.

Know-how to right planning the potential of these forests should be the focus of our research inside a scenario where urban pressure is growing. Our goal is to generate a rational debate analyzing their socioeconomic importance as areas of particular significance for biodiversity conservation. Scientific perceptive of how urban and periurban riparian forests and green spaces benefit people has increased in recent years to include social, environmental and economic aspects. However, there is a delay in the reply of the municipality policies. These ecosystems and its landscape could be thought of as green infrastructures. Research has confirmed that their benefits are optimized by long-term management so that urban riparian forests reach their maximum efficiency. There is a full awareness about how forest resources and land use enables planning of the multifunctional use to develop economic returns. For instance, areas dedicated to other infrastructures, such as power lines, can be managed to grow products for nearby neighborhoods, from fuel wood to food. For example, in Japan, urban green spaces are planned for both recreational use and areas for disaster relief services.
167W | Response and effect of plant-trait diversity to climate and climate change+

Convenors: Kirsten Thonicke, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Boris Sakschewski, University of Florida Gainesville, Jeremy Lichstein, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, David Schimel, Jet Propulsion Laboratoryand Michael Schaepman, University of Zurich

Plant morphological and functional traits describe structural and functional diversity of our ecosystems. Plant traits are related and some of them form trade-offs, thereby opening a multi-dimensional trait space which can help to describe how biodiversity interacts with multiple ecosystem functions (B-EF).

We still have a limited understanding of how the relationships between plant trait diversity, or aggregated as functional diversity, change along environmental gradients as well as how these relationships might change under climate and land-use change. Trait-based ecology can now be advanced by combining process-based ecosystem models with field and remotely-sensed data to gain new insights into B-EF in a changing world.

This workshop aims at establishing a dialogue between ecologists, remote-sensing experts, and B-EF modelers to explore how various methods could be combined to gain a better understanding of the relationships between plant traits and terrestrial ecosystem function.

The workshop will discuss

  • hypotheses around plant-economics derived from field and remotely sensed observations
  • the integration of field-based and remotely sensed plant traits with B-EF modelers (e.g. dynamic vegetation models with plant-trait diversity embedded) to test B-EF hypotheses
  • the importance of plant traits used to interpret functional and structural diversity under different climates and their changes under climate change.


Applying and testing these hypotheses to different ecosystems along varying spatial and temporal scales, we hope to contribute to further advance our understanding plant-trait diversity for ecosystem function as well as functional biogeography.

169W | Which impact do networks for biodiversity really have? Lessons learned from national biodiversity platforms, challenges and opportunities+

Convenors: Marianne Darbi, German Network Forum for Biodiversity Research (NeFo) and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Katrin Vohland, German Network Forum for Biodiversity Research (NeFo) and Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN),  Nike Sommerwerk, Leibniz Research Alliance Biodiversity (LVB), Jorge Ventocilla, Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Hilde Eggermont, Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Eva M. Spehn, Forum Biodiversität Schweiz and Cornelia B. Krug, bioDISCOVERY

To combat the global biodiversity crisis, the best available knowledge and smart ways for its implementation are required. However, knowledge provided by biodiversity researchers and suggestions for its implementation are not sufficiently referred to and used during decision-making in the policy realm. Therefore, science-policy interfaces have been created to facilitate the sharing and dissemination of knowledge and to support societal and political negotiation processes.

Structures like biodiversity platforms and networks (e.g. German Network-Forum for Biodiversity Research (NeFo), Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Swiss Biodiversity Forum, Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB), France) support biodiversity researchers in participating actively in policy processes. They furthermore create opportunities for dialogues among different stakeholders, help to increase the visibility of biodiversity research and foster the societal awareness for biodiversity.Many of these platforms and networks are already well established and have gained professional experience over several years in the activities outlined above. Against this background, the focus of the suggested workshop is to analyze and evaluate how European biodiversity platforms and networks function effectively, and what they have achieved.

This includes i.a. the following questions

  • Under which different governance and institutional arrangements have biodiversity platforms and networks been set up, under which conditions do they operate and what are common pros and cons?
  • How have the missions, tools, and governance of biodiversity platforms and networks evolved over time?
  • What are challenges in maintaining these biodiversity platforms and networks?
  • Which actors/stakeholder groups are reached and how?
  • Do biodiversity platforms and networks reach their aim to inform and improve decision making in policy and civil society?
  • And how can this impact be assessed scientifically?


The workshop builds on a previous study published by NeFo in 2016 which analyzed National Biodiversity Platforms in seven European countries. This study, however, had a focus on the Implementation of the Work Programme of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the suggested workshop aims to take a broader perspective. It will be structured in two parts: First, several existing biodiversity platforms and networks will be invited to give short input statements on key questions and lessons learned. These will be discussed with the audience. Second, in a moderated participatory process, lessons learned, challenges and opportunities will be derived and discussed together with the workshop participants (representing different stakeholders and their perspectives). The workshop’s output will contribute to the formulation of recommendations on how to set up biodiversity platforms and networks and how to improve and further develop existing ones. The results will be further enhanced after the workshop and published as a journal article.

177W | Identifying personal values and principles in biodiversity conservation+

Convenors: Anna Deplazes Zemp and Anna Wienhues, University of Zurich

This is a professional development workshop for practitioners and researchers involved in biodiversity conservation with around 12 participants interested in environment ethics, no prior philosophical knowledge is required.

Aims of this workshop are

  • Assisting participants in strengthening their awareness of their own personal moral values and principles when it comes to biodiversity conservation.
  • Comparing and analysing different values and principles within the group to get a better understanding of what motivates people to engage in biodiversity conservation.
  • Critically discussing these values and principles against some basic concepts and theories in environmental ethics.
  • Discovering the moral complexity of biodiversity conservation policies and practices.
180W | Revisiting Biodiversity: Charting a research agenda for transformative change+

Convenor: Jonathan Hutton, Luc Hoffmann Institute

The diversity of life that sustains humanity is being severely degraded by human action leading to a deterioration in land, air, and water quality, loss of natural ecosystems and widespread declines in populations of wild species. These changes are well documented and of potentially existential significance to human societies, yet well-established knowledge about the problem has not catalysed effective broad-based action.

A growing number of voices from across the science, policy and practice are calling for transformative change to effectively reorient practices that undermine the capacity for human and nonhuman communities to flourish. Understanding such processes of change requires the biodiversity research community to redirect research efforts from describing biophysical change to examining, and potentially engaging in social and policy processes that facilitate effective action.

To address this challenge, a coalition of organisations have come together under the banner of Biodiversity Revisited to undertake the first comprehensive review of the biodiversity construct since it was created in the 1980s. The proposed workshop will be part of the final stage of consolidation and consultation in the Biodiversity Revisited process and will focus on how the results of this process can contribute to the next IPBES work program on transformative change.


Specifically this workshop will

  • Engage participants in a dialogue around critical research to support transformative change;
  • Provide opportunities to critically evaluate the emergent issues identified in the BiodiversityRevisited process;
  • Provide participants with insights into the IPBES work program on transformative change;
  • Develop recommendations for the IPBES Secretariat on the next IPBES work programme up to 2030.


The workshop will be organised in ways that provoke innovative ideas, spark new ways of thinking and to challenge conventional ways of conceptualising the biodiversity problematic. Participants will consider the key research challenges that have emerged through the Biodiversity Revisited process, to identify critical areas of research that can be taken forward to support the successful use and implementation of biodiversity knowledge for transformative change.

The workshop will also provide the space to identify opportunities that could be pursued to form new partnerships and projects that could address the research questions identified therein. Participants will be asked to consider which insights gathered in the Biodiversity Revisited process can be used to inform the next IPBES work programme. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to remain engaged in the process of developing recommendations for the IPBES Secretariat. Expected outcomes include the identification of critical areas of research to facilitate transformative change, as well as preliminary recommendations for the IPBES secretariat.

Biodiversity Revisited is a two year transdisciplinary process that has engaged a diverse group of experts in a critical reflection on the state of research on biodiversity. The process was established to critically reflect on progress to date in research, policy and practice directed at addressing the decline of biodiversity and to think creatively about future efforts that could catalyse a societal transformation that is just, equitable and effective in addressing the degradation of life on Earth.

184W | Knowledge exchange in sustainable production between large scale projects and smallholders+

Convenor: Lenny Martinez-Martin, 12Tree Finance GmbH

Soil should be a rich and biodiverse environment. In a healthy situation, soil life diversity and abundance can exceed that of other ecosystems. Soil is the base for a sustainable and high production for any crop chosen.

Smallholders (e.g. Central America) commonly use slash-and-burn and crop burning renewal as standard soil preparation practices. These practices kill the beneficial soil organisms, contribute to soil erosion and reduce soil fertility, which translates into lower yields and a higher necessity of fertilizers.

Large scale sustainable agricultural projects, such as those in 12Tree portfolio in Central America, invest in investigation and improvement over traditional agricultural practices to decrease environmental damage, increase efficiencies and restore soils and ecosystems. Instead of overusing fertilizers, invest in development for new agricultural biologicals, using as base byproducts of the farm, or using ground covers to recycle nutrients provided in the form of fertilizers to the plants, for example.This investigation and knowledge gathering require investment of time and capital, that smallholders usually don’t have. Through structured collaborations between producers within a reasonable distance from the main estate and the large estate itself, higher, more efficient and more sustainable production can be achieved.Agricultural good practices result in a symbiotic relationship between farmer and environment. The existing forest provide a service as barriers, both phytosanitary and wind. The farm, when managed correctly, becomes a natural corridor between forest patches, which allow animals to migrate safely increasing plants and animal biodiversity.
209W | Tracing back biodiversity to the 19th century via text mining+

Convenors/Lecturers: Markus Koch, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, Christine Driller, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, Giuseppe Abrami, University of Frankfurt, Manuel Stoeckel, University of Frankfurt and Gerwin Kasparek, University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg

Climate change and biodiversity loss are among the major challenges of our time. Investigating the causes and causal relationships are therefore the focus of current research and policy making. The extraction of biodiversity information from historical data sources becomes more and more relevant in this context in order to capture the baseline of the pre-agroindustrial time. The Specialised Information Service for Biodiversity Research (BIOfid) taps into this growing demand by improving the accessibility of legacy literature relevant to biodiversity research and by developing reusable text mining tools for data extraction. BIOfid originally targets the Central European literature on the distribution and ecology of vascular plants, birds, as well as moths and butterflies, but the tools and software developed in this project are basically applicable to literature of any geographic area and taxonomic focus. In framework of this workshop we want to share our technological developments and to discuss researchers ́ requirements and expectations for this type of information service.

Limited number of participants (20), please bring your laptop. Please register for this workshop.

The focus of our training considers the following topics:

  1. Introduction to the BIOfid web portal, i.e. accessing literature and extracting data from historical texts through a visual interface.
  2. Use of state-of-the-art and easy-to-use Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools, e. g. deep learning of text content.
  3. Developing customer workflows from source materials to processable texts and data output.

We especially aim at improving skills in dealing with challenges associated with data quality, natural language processing, as well as information and semantic relation extraction. For this purpose, the participants will analyse samples of our text corpus to extract data linked to established ontologies and knowledge bases. Participants are furthermore invited to submit text samples to demonstrate the analysis procedure with their own target literature.

Debates and Events
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183DE | Disruptive ideas for biodiversity – controversial approaches to inspire and reinvigorate the debate+

Convenor: Kathrin Ludwig, Adelphi

With little time left before the global biodiversity community will agree upon a new framework set to cover the 2020-2050 period, it will be crucial to reinvigorate a debate within society, the private sector but also within the biodiversity community itself to provoke new ideas on how biodiversity can be safeguarded, sustainably used and shared. What is needed are thus new, radical perspectives on how to address global biodiversity loss.

Such approaches may provoke controversy but they might help to shake us off the grid lock current biodiversity discussions have run into. Time is high for bold ideas that are out of the box and which can inspires us and helps us rethink biodiversity conservation. We need to restack the “vendor´s tray” of ideas and options for biodiversity conservation.


Four controversial ideas to disrupt our thinking on biodiversity conservation

  • A social approach to an environmental problem: A universal income for people in biodiversity hotpots – Ashley Dawson: The writer and professor argues in his new book that capitalism is behind our current mass extinction crisis. But installing universal guaranteed income in biodiversity hotspots may be one remedy
  • Taking conservationist thinking to the next level: Half Earth – conserve half of the Earth´s surface – E.O. Wilson, author of Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, argues that biodiversity loss is too severe to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. – XX, Avaaz, which is funding a campaign for Half Earth, currently at 2,2 Mio signatories
  • Creating new old futures: de-extinction and rewilding – XX, Rewilding Europe – XX, de-extinction advocate
  • Biodiversity in the face of climate change: Introducing exotic species to safeguard biodiversity beyond the climate crisis – XX, Lund University

189DE | Biodiversity change in the Anthropocene+

Convenor: Marten Winter, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research

One of the ultimate consequences of human-driven activities are changing community compositions beyond abundance changes: the losses and gains of species. This interplay of invasions and extinctions lead to novel communities often towards homogenized ecosystems. We see a global loss of uniqueness in all facets of biodiversity: a biotic McDonaldization.

We are still at the beginning to understand the extent and the consequences of this biodiversity change, especially in more hidden ecosystems like soils, oceans or less known biodiversity facets (e.g. genetic and chemical diversity). Moreover, most researchers as well as the public is little aware of similarities and differences in patterns and processes among and across the marine, terrestrial and freshwater realm.

Soils are the foundation for human livelihoods and are threatened due to human land use all over this planet. Oceans cover 97% of the earth surface but still many biotic changes and its consequences for the ecosystems and humans are unknown. Genetic diversity is assumed as being a good proxy for evolutionary potential to adapt to future changes but how its distributed nor how its changing is little known.

With this interactive symposium, we want to highlight most recent and relevant aspects of the biodiversity change debate, with specific inputs to drivers, soils, cross realm comparisons and global loss of uniqueness in ecosystems and biodiversity facets.A moderated kind of House of Commons debate (based on similar events in Leopoldina – German Academy of Sciences).

Science Communication and Media Training workshops
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Making Media Work for You, Nature and Biodiversity+

A workshop presented by David Helvarg, Elli Kerlow, Nikki Caputo and Stuart Coleman, of Blue Frontier, Wingspan Media and Surfrider Foundation.

With more than a century of science reporting and storytelling experience among them, the workshop panel will explain the techniques by which they turn science and discovery into popular media stories or pitches to engage professional media and the public interest, using specific examples from their own experiences, campaigns, magazine articles, radio reports, television documentaries, podcasts, books and social media.This workshop combines communications skills building, media relations tactics, and video production training by proven professionals.

Learn creative approaches to storytelling, content storyboarding, basic video field production techniques as well as on and offline distribution opportunities, strategies and techniques, and depart with skills in the art of media communications and impactful storytelling with some hands-on experience developing a media campaign with a focus on accuracy, accessibility and reproducibility.

Leave the workshop with useful notes and a handout sheet on key lessons to remember and practice to do more effective media outreach, as well as a list of technical specifications for video equipment, production, and editing software and tips to help you work remotely as their own mobile media unit.

Workshop date: Sunday, 23. February 2020.

CHF 150 regular rate, CHF 100 reduced rate

Some scientists and ocean explorers such as E.O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, Philippe, Jean Michel and Fabien Cousteau, and Danni Washington have mastered effective ways of communicating their findings through writing, television and digital media. Yet many more scientists, government officials, educators, conservationists and youth leaders have difficulty translating their peer-reviewed work, policy or philanthropic initiatives into a popular understanding of the critical issues represented at the Biodiversity World Forum 2020. The program is designed to be an experiential multi-media workshop to engage and to mobilize different key audiences that could help attendees broaden their effectiveness in communicating key issues they are working on that could lead to change.

The Media Training Workshop, part of our Blue Beat program, will feature a discussion and a hands-on format. We will be using examples from the works of the four presenters who include two renowned ocean conservation advocates and longtime journalists, a talented video producer, and an award-winning media and public relations professional. Workshop Participants will also share their own works and ideas. One third of the program will focus on the elements needed for successful video production with use of cell phones and other mobile devices for people such as the workshop attendees who are often in the field, traveling and highly mobile.

The Science of Story Building+
Ann Christiano, Annie Neimand and Matt Sheehan,

experienced communicators from the Center for Public Interest Communications, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, lead this workshop. The Center for Public Interest Communications in the College of Journalism and Communications has developed a robust strategic communications academy that applies research to help scientists and scholars communicate their work to a range of communities.

Using story to present complex data insights about biodiversity and ecosystem functions can close the communication gap between experts and non-experts. Research suggests that leading with data is not effective. Numbers leave audiences overwhelmed which may lead people to disengage because they feel like they will not be able to make a difference on the issue (Slovic et al., 2013).

We also know that communicating the complexity of biodiversity and ecosystem function requires we be careful to not oversimply the stories we tell. Science tells us that storytelling is the greatest tool we have for building understanding of and engagement with complex issues.In this workshop, we cover seven princples of story building to help you learn to tell stories that will help people understand and care about your research.

Workshop takes place during the conference, free of charge.

In this workshop, we cover seven princples of story building to help you learn to tell stories that will help people understand and care about your research.

Throughout the workshop, we will guide you through writing an outline for a story you want to tell, helping you layer in the different principles. Are you really telling stories or simply using vignettes? This session will help you understand the important difference, help you to recognize the stories that need to be told and give you a framework to write those stories.

You will also learn why some stories work and other don’t. You’ll recognize master and counter narratives and be able to use empty and full spaces in your stories. You’ll understand why it’s important to keep it real but also discover the technique of the deceptive cadence.

You will learn to tell rich stories to illustrate your data,helping them understand from a theoretical perspective, but anchoring it in reality.

The Center for Public Interest Communications in the College of Journalism and Communications has developed a robust strategic communications academy that applies research to help scientists and scholars communicate their work to a range of communities.