The Collaborative Research Center EFForTS (Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems, coordinated by the University of Göttingen) aims at providing science-based knowledge on how to protect and enhance the ecological functions of tropical forests and agricultural transformation systems at a landscape scale, while improving human welfare. In the third phase of EFForTS, the GIGA leads the projects C11 on policies for sustainable rural transformations and B10 on landscape-level assessment of functions.
In this project B10 we investigate how to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning while serving human needs. We have developed and will further refine EFForTS-ABM, an integrated land-use change model, with the aim to identify mechanisms underlying the trade-offs and synergies of ecological and economic functions in tropical landscapes. Furthermore, we will scale up from micro and local to landscape and broader scales, including an assessment of long-term drivers and consequences of land-use change. The project plays a central role in integrating the research outcomes of the Collaborative Research Center.
In Sumatra, Indonesia, previous lowland rainforest landscapes have been transformed into a predominantly agricultural, smallholder-dominated landscape mosaic. The relationships between the spatial composition and configuration of the landscape, different aspects of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and economic benefit are expected to be interdependent and often non-linear. Land-use change decisions are often a choice between socio-economic benefits or biodiversity benefits, with the other function suffering.