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Increasing ecosystem resilience

A policy brief aimed at the European Commission has just been released, based on the results from our BiodivERsA project EC21C. The brief "Measures to increase ecosystem resilience and avoid tipping points" presents how the results from the EC21C and other projects can characterise tipping points for two types of European ecosystems, forests and ponds. It also proposes key indicators to monitor these ecosystems, anticipate tipping points, and suggest management strategies in the face climate change and nutrient inputs. These results provide insights and recommendations to trace and maintain genetic diversity of forest tree species, notably through the Common Agricultural Policy, and on pathways to further improve the Natura 2000 guidance on aquaculture and the management of aquatic bodies.

The EC21C project was conceived because European biodiversity is threatened by simultaneous and drastic alterations in climate and how we use our land. Animal and plant species that are driven out of their historic ranges due to changing conditions may survive if they can find suitable habitats elsewhere. But the ecosystems we are accustomed to – the systems of species and environments that are characteristically ‘European’ – will be pulled apart as individual species go their separate ways. This project unites 18 scientists from Portugal, Spain, France, Germany and Sweden across disciplines of species distribution modelling, ecosystem ecology, theoretical ecology, plant physiology, population biology and social science. We evaluated causes and impacts of biodiversity declines across Europe, and "Green Infrastructure" as a management strategy. The policy brief is available here, and the pdf is here.

EC21C was funded by the ERA-Net BiodivERsA, with the national funders ANR (France), FCT (Portugal), FORMAS (Sweden) and BMBF (Germany), part of the 2011-12 call for research proposals. The project ran from January 2013 to December 2015.

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