Social and ecological networks supporting biodiversity and food security

Projekt: Forschung



SENet is funded by a Horizon 2020/Marie Sklodowska-Curie Incoming Fellowship. The Fellow is Arvid Bergsten from Sweden. Leuphana is acting as host institution and Professor Joern Fischer as scientific mentor.
Project description:
Halting biodiversity decline and ensuring food security are urgent and interconnected challenges. A. Bergsten will study how social and ecological structures in interaction generate tradeoffs and synergies between food security and biodiversity conservation. SENet has two aims: A) to identify ecological and socioeconomic structures that benefit or harm food security and biodiversity conservation in a rural, poor study landscape, and B) to develop an integrated network model capable of predicting such effects in similar settings worldwide. Globally, SENet will be the first research to apply (graph-theoretic) network analysis to understand synergies and tradeoffs in the food security–biodiversity nexus. A. Bergsten will develop the integrated model using data from a landscape in Ethiopia, where agricultural expansion and humanwildlife
conflicts are driving deforestation. SENet differs from existing approaches that concentrate on increasing agricultural output and overlook that social and ecological outcomes are interdependent and cannot be understood separately. In contrast, Bergsten´s method focuses on the food security of rural villages and on the factors that prompt farmers to clear or to plant forest, to change crops, to migrate elsewhere, etc., i.e., on farmers' decisions that affect both food security and biodiversity. In this context, A. Bergsten will use systematic network analysis to show how farmers are connected through food trade, knowledge exchange and other socioeconomic processes, but also how their crop fields are linked to forests and human–wildlife conflicts. The implementation of SENet will draw on his skills in network analysis and Leuphana´s research excellence on the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes, including the ongoing fieldwork in his study area. This setup ensures a theoretical and empirical foundation for Bergsten´s network models, and a forum for communicating the results to non-academic actors in Ethiopia and Europe.

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