Leander DL Anderegg

Assistant Professor, Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology,
University of California, Santa Barbara (Website)

Dr. Leander DL Anderegg grew up in rural Colorado, USA, and became plant ecologist and ecophysiologist when his favorite forests started dying off due to climate change. He is an assistant professor at the University of California Santa Barbara in the Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology department. He and his lab, the LEAF Lab (Landscape Ecophysiology And Function), study the physiological underpinnings and biogeographic, community and biogeochemical consequences of plant responses to climate change. He is particularly interested in what within-species patterns of physiological variation can tell us about species resilience or vulnerability to droughts, heat waves and fire. Prior to UCSB, Leander was an NSF and NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and Carnegie Global Ecology. He received his BA from Stanford University in 2011 and his PhD from the University of Washington in 2017.

Persistent problems in plant functional ecology: Why can't we predict traits from climate?
Plant functional traits are powerful ecological tools, but the relationships between plant traits and climate (or environmental variables more broadly) are often remarkably weak. This presents a paradox: Plant traits govern plant interactions with their environment, but the environment does not strongly predict the traits of plants living there. Unpacking this paradox requires differentiating the mechanisms of trait variation and potential confounds of trait–environment relationships at different evolutionary and ecological scales ranging from within species to among communities. However, even after we sift through the problems of scale and sampling that plague many of our analyses, we find that trait-environment relationships often continue to disappoint. This suggests that we may need to look critically at some of our underlying assumptions in plant functional ecology. In particular, I argue that we need a more integrated understanding of physiological and evolutionary equifinality among many traits and plant strategies, and a better grasp on how supposedly ‘functional’ traits integrate into a whole-organism phenotype in ways that may be largely orthogonal to environmental tolerances.

Sarah Bekessy

RMIT Melbourne (Website, Website)

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the ICON Science research group at RMIT University which uses interdisciplinary approaches to solve complex biodiversity conservation problems. She is particularly interested in understanding the role of human behaviour in conservation, in designing cities to encourage ‘every day nature’ experiences and in defining and measuring ‘nature positive’ development. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that has now been used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies. Sarah is a Lead Councillor of The Biodiversity Council, a Director of Bush Heritage Australia and a member of the Eminent Scientist Advisory Group of WWF Australia.

Designing Cities for Everyday Nature
The motivations for designing for nature in cities have arguably never been more compelling. Re-enchanting urban residents with nature can deliver a range of health and well-being benefits, while creating more climate change resilient cities. Creating ‘everyday nature’ in cities presents opportunities to reverse the fate of many threatened species and connect people with nature and living cultural traditions. But this requires more than just urban greening; it involves ensuring daily doses of nature in a way that also supports non-human organisms. The future of liveable cities may well depend on this new conceptualization, but a major shift in the way nature is conceived of and designed for is required. Key to achieving this shift is establishing meaningful professional engagement between ecologists, planners and designers. Building on our experience working in this interdisciplinary space, I outline principles, processes and challenges for effectively designing for everyday nature in cities.

Copyright: Hubert RAGUET / CNRS Images

Sandra Lavorel

Department of Entomology, Professor, University of Wisconsin, USA

I am a functional ecologist with 20 years’ experience in interdisciplinary research on global change, ecosystem services and sustainability, at scales ranging from local to regional and global. My current research focuses on how biodiversity can support people’s adaptation to climate change in vulnerable, yet resourceful regions like mountains. I aim to identify how landscape management and restoration can facilitate multiple ecosystem services for adaptation of diverse users depending on biophysical and social context. I am member of the French Academy of Sciences and of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and have received multiple prestigious prizes and awards. I am committed to contributing and stimulating excellent science for environmental policy through participation in regional (e.g. Ecrins National Park), national (e.g. Ministry for Environment) and international institutions (e.g. IPBES).

Pathways to climate-smart rural landscapes
Nature-based solutions aim to address the joint climate and biodiversity crises, while supporting global Sustainable Development Goals. In climate-smart landscapes people create these solutions by reconfiguring land use for multifunctional goals of biodiversity conservation, sustainable production, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Nature and people interact and decisions are made in landscapes through trade-offs between these goals. Landscape research has only started to discover their ecological mechanisms and critical spatial dimensions of ecological and governance processes. In this presentation, I will show how the effects of landscape configuration on climate-smart landscape multifunctionality can start to be understood systematically using modelling to produce novel principles formalising interacting effects of landscape composition and configuration on multifunctionality. Such theory is essential to assess alternative landscape templates that combine conservation, restoration and sustainable management. I will then consider how actor networks influence the collaborative governance and pathways towards climate-smart landscapes, highlighting the need to simultaneously analyse ecological (nature-nature), social (people-people) and social-ecological (people-nature) interactions.

Sarah Meerow

Associate Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University

Dr. Sara Meerow is an Associate Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. In 2024 she will be spending her sabbatical working on urban green infrastructure as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the at the Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, Technical University of Munich. She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of urban planning and geography to make cities more resilient in the face of climate change and other hazards, while at the same time more sustainable and just. Her research focuses on conceptualizations of urban resilience, climate change adaptation planning with a focus on heat and flood hazards, and green infrastructure.

Planning urban green infrastructure to enhance social-ecological resilience
Cities around the world are grappling with unprecedented heat waves, floods, droughts, and other interconnected impacts of climate change, which will only worsen in the coming years. To combat these threats and provide other social and ecological resilience co-benefits, cities are making historic investments in vegetated green infrastructure or nature-based solutions (e.g. urban forests, rain gardens, bioswales). In this presentation I will discuss my research unpacking the knowledge systems and politics that underpin urban green infrastructure planning. This work suggests that there are important tradeoffs in benefits provided by different green infrastructure types, designs, and locations, with environmental justice implications, but these tradeoffs are rarely evaluated in implementation. I will also discuss my efforts to develop new tools to support more strategic and equitable green infrastructure spatial planning decisions.

Emily Poppenborg Martin

Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus Liebig University of Giessen

Emily Poppenborg Martin is a Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Giessen in Germany. She works at the interface of landscape ecology, agroecology, community ecology and entomology, with strong interdisciplinary links to agronomy, geography, economics and the social sciences. In addition to Germany, her career has taken her to Indonesia, Madagascar, South Korea, and East and West Africa. In European and international projects, she researches the biodiversity of arthropods in agricultural landscapes and their importance for agriculture through ecosystem services, particularly natural pest control and pollination. The aim is to understand, for example, how the structure and composition of landscapes affect biodiversity and the resilience of ecological interactions over space and time. Along with field, data-driven synthesis and modelling approaches, she is currently leading transdisciplinary efforts to transform agricultural practices towards higher sustainability across temperate and tropical systems.

Harnessing agricultural landscapes for biodiversity and ecosystem services: key evidence and knowledge gaps
Managing agricultural landscapes to support biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control, could be a key avenue towards sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture that works for farmers. However, precisely how to manage these landscapes – and how effective this will be - is unclear. In syntheses of data from studies across Europe and the world, I examine how landscape composition and configuration impact arthropods, pest control, pollination and yields. Based on these results and ‘syndromes’ of species’ traits, pathways to predictively assess ecosystem service potential can be derived to anticipate the effects of landscape- and field-scale management strategies towards workable ecological intensification of agriculture under global change. Bridging conventional European and smallholder farming systems in East Africa and South America, I then highlight knowledge gaps for the expansion of biodiversity-enhancing intensification practices and discuss implications for future biodiversity-driven agroecosystems.

Rupert Seidl

Technical University of Munich, School of Life Sciences,
Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management Group Berchtesgaden National Park

Rupert Seidl is professor for ecosystem dynamics and forest management at the Technical University of Munich, and head of research at Berchtesgaden National Park. He studies the dynamics of ecosystems in space and time, focusing on forests. A particular emphasis of his work is disturbance and resilience of forest ecosystems under climate change. Seidl combines different methodological approaches – from empirical work and experiments to remote sensing and simulation modeling –to better understand the causes and consequences of change in ecosystems. His work aims to provide the scientific underpinning for a sustainable provisioning of a wide variety of ecosystem services, and for safeguarding biodiversity in a changing world. Rupert Seidl received his PhD from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria, and has worked in the USA, Sweden, and Austria before taking up his current position at the Technical University of Munich. He has received a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council ERC and is contributing author of the current assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Changing forest disturbance regimes – implications for sustainable land use
Disturbances are discrete events that disrupt the structure of forest ecosystems. They are a key component of natural ecosystem dynamics and important determinants of forest biodiversity. However, disturbances are also among the most climate sensitive processes in forest ecosystems, and ongoing climate change leads to profound alterations of forest disturbance regimes around the globe. In Central Europe, for instance, the rate of disturbance has more than doubled over the last 35 years, and a further increase in disturbance activity is likely in the coming decades. These changes have profound implications for the sustainable use of forest ecosystems: They challenge the provisioning of ecosystem services and can lead to amplifying climate feedbacks, making disturbance resilience an increasingly central element of forest management. At the same time, disturbances also hold opportunities for management, as they trigger the reorganization of forest ecosystems and foster biodiversity. Here, I will review the current understanding of changing forest disturbance regimes with specific focus on the situation in Europe. I will subsequently highlight implications for sustainable forest management, and conclude with suggested future avenues for fundamental and applied research on forest disturbance and resilience.

Aude Zingraff-Hamed

ENGEES - École nationale du génie de l'eau et de l'environnement de Strasbourg, UMR 7362 CNRS LIVE - Laboratoire Image, Ville, Environnement de Strasbourg

Dr. Aude Zingraff-Hamed (1987) is an assistant professor (W2) at the ENGEES an elite school of engineering associated with the University of Strasbourg. She is affiliated with CNRS-LIVE. She completed a Master in Landscape Planning at the AgroCampus West (France) and a Master's in eco-engineering of river and wetland, biodiversity and bio-indicators at the University of Natural Sciences in Angers (France). She graduated working on the application of the socio-ecological approach to the urban river restoration. Her research focuses on the implementation of highly performant nature-based solutions in urban and rural areas that address biodiversity loss, social needs, economic development, and climate change adaptation. She works especially on addressing natural hazards using the restoration of rivers, wetlands, and natural land cover.

Blue nature-based solutions: value, knowledge, and rules hindering and leveraging river restoration.
In Europe, river planning and management took a decisive turn in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the ratification of the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD). The WFD orchestrates restoration efforts and demands that all water bodies achieve a good ecological status (or potential). Along with the implementation of the WFD, the concept of nature-based solutions (NBS) to mitigate hydro-meteorological risk has also grown in popularity, especially in the context of change of climate patterns observed in the context of global climate changes. While NBS, such as river restoration, have been recognized as essential for the reestablishment of the socio-ecological functions of rivers and are presented as “the no-regret solution” to all our problems, their implementation is facing many limitations. Especially at the level of the decision-making process is the missing trust in the solutions a major bottleneck to their implementation. This plenary talk will use the value-rule-knowledge framework for NBS decision context to discuss the facts and the beliefs around river restorations as blue NBS. It will present the results of more than 156 case study site analyses and deliver an understanding of the bottlenecks and levers of the decision-making process. It will conclude with three major research gaps that need to be studied to efficiently leverage river restorations.