As an international competence centre for environmental sciences, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) investigates complex human-environment interactions under the influence of global change. Our research contributes to social development and the sustainable use of our natural resources. UFZ was established in 1991 as the first and only establishment in the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (HGF) to be exclusively devoted to interdisciplinary environmental research. The keys to a better understanding of complex, environmental systems are in finding system solutions, based on integrated environmental research (crossing disciplinary borders between the natural and social sciences and incorporating stakeholders from industry, politics and society), as well as in developing an innovative research infrastructure.

The interdisciplinary departments of “Computational Landscape Ecology” (CLE)  and “Ecosystem Services” (ESS) at UFZ have a strong focus on the methodological advancements in modelling and simulation of environmental systems. The department ESS is also integral part of the new German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. The groups have leading expertise in the research fields of biodiversity, participatory conservation, hydrology, remote sensing and agro-ecology. As such, we work across disciplines and at the science-policy interface and can easily exchange with other scientists and stakeholders. We investigate environmental systems in an integrative manner focussing on land use development and land use conflicts in socio-ecological systems. The research groups at UFZ involved in ECOPOTENTIAL have expertise in airborne hyperspectral data acquisition, pre-processing of raw remotely sensed data with subsequently derived products (e.g. LAI, Chlorophyll content) at different scales, radiative transfer modelling, extracting phenological metrics from optical satellite data, inverse modelling, statistical methods applied for climate change impact analysis, spatial modelling of species distributions and habitats using remotely sensed data, as well as quantification of trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services and biodiversity.


Principal Investigator:

Aletta Bonn is Full professor at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena and head of the Department of Ecosystem Services at UFZ and iDiv Leipzig-Halle-Jena. Her main research focuses on ecosystem services, participatory conservation and citizen science. Having a strong working background at the science-policy interface with former employment in the Peak District National Park and IUCN UK she has authored, managed and co-coordinated several regional and national ecosystem assessments in the UK and Germany. She currently leads the German citizen science capacity building programme.