Critical Scales for Long-Term Socio-ecological Biodiversity Research

Thomas Dirnböck*, Peter Bezák, Stefan Dullinger, Helmut Haberl, Hermann Lotze-Campen, Michael Mirtl, Johannes Peterseil, Stephan Redpath, Simron Jit Singh, Justin Travis, Sander M.J. Wijdeven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


One challenge in the implementation of Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) is the consideration of relevant spatial and temporal scales. Mismatches between the scale(s) on which biodiversity is monitored and analysed, the scale(s) on which biodiversity is managed, and the scale(s) on which conservation policies are implemented have been identified as major obstacles towards halting or reducing biodiversity loss. Based on a meta-analysis of 18 biodiversity studies and a literature review, we discuss here a set of methods suitable to bridge the various scales of socio-ecological systems. For LTSER, multifunctionality of landscapes provides an inevitable link between natural and social sciences. Upscaling approaches from small-scale domains of classical long-term biodiversity research to the broad landscape scale include landscape metrics and spatial modelling. Multidisciplinary, integrated models are tools not only for linking disciplines but also for bridging scales. Models that are capable of analysing societal impacts on landscapes are particularly suitable for interdisciplinary biodiversity research. The involvement of stakeholders should be an integral part of these methods in order to minimise conflicts over local and regional management interventions implementing broad-scale policies. Participatory approaches allow the linkages between the specific scale domains of biodiversity, its management and policies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLong Term Socio-Ecological Research
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Society-Nature Interactions Across Spatial and Temporal Scales
EditorsS Singh, H Haberl , M Chertow , M Mirtl , M Schmid
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789400711778
ISBN (Print)9789400711761
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameHuman-Environment Interactions
ISSN (Print)2214-2339


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Cross-scale interaction
  • Environmental policy
  • Long term ecological research
  • Long term socio-ecological research
  • Management
  • Scale
  • Scale mismatch


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