BiodivERsA and Belmont Forum 2017-2018 Joint Call for Research Proposals on: "Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services"
BiodivERsA is a network of 32 public research funding organisations from 21 European countries supporting scientific research in the field of biodiversity. One objective of BiodivERsA is to organise a Pan-European research programme for research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions. The Belmont Forum is a group of the world's major and emerging funders of global environmental change research, with 20 funding organisations in 18 countries. It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources.
The call aims at supporting proposals that explicitly address a scenario dimension, taking into account the following definition of scenarios: “Scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services are the outputs of the combination of scenarios of indirect drivers and direct drivers — such as land use change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, climate change or pollution — and models of impacts of these drivers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
The aim of this call is to promote innovative research for more informed decision-making by developing scenarios of biodiversity change and its associated ecosystem services, resulting from the complex interaction of socio-economic and global environmental trends. It focuses on foresight views up to the next 50 years for management of biodiversity, ecosystem services and their contributions to human well-being. This call is contributing to international research programs, assessment bodies, and multi-lateral environmental agreements.
While projects will have to be academically excellent, they should also explicitly engage stakeholders (e.g. managers and users in the field, businesses, policy actors, local administrations, and citizens), in order to maximise the societal benefits of this research. This may include co-design of projects with stakeholders, analysing stakeholders' needs and preferences and other relevant societal (e.g. governance) aspects through social/economic science approaches as well as developing practical management tools, guidelines, knowledge bases, etc. to be directly used by or in relation with stakeholders. See specific details in the call text and consult the “BiodivERsA Stakeholder Engagement Handbook”.
The two major (non-exclusive) priorities of the Call are the following:
- Development and application of scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services across spatial scales of relevance to multiple types of decisions - Previous biodiversity scenarios have typically been highly scale specific. On the one hand, scenarios at global scales are difficult to translate into actions at regional/local scales, where many biodiversity relevant decisions are made. On the other hand, scenarios at local/regional scales often do not include global scale constraints and feedbacks (e.g., international trade, teleconnections, etc.) making them difficult to translate into international policy. Linking spatial scaling scales is one of the key barriers to greater integration of biodiversity scenarios into decision-making at global and national scales.
- Consideration of multiple dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem services in biodiversity scenarios – Previous biodiversity scenarios have typically focused on a very limited number of dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g. global extinctions, loss of species compared to natural systems). However, decision-making processes often require information on a much broader range of dimensions – both because different decision-making processes may focus on different dimensions, and because some processes are purposely designed to address multiple dimensions (e.g. through multi-criteria trade-off analysis).
Projects should also pay particular attention to at least some of the following issues:
- Coupling of socio-economic and biodiversity dynamics. Fully integrated models of biodiversity and socio- economics (e.g., bio-economic models) can provide novel insights into the dynamics and long-term sustainability of socio-ecological systems.
- Improvement of models of impacts on biodiversity. Innovative work on genetic adaptation, rapid evolution, co- evolution, eco-evolutionary dynamics, comparative phylogeography, conserving endemic species, species interactions and hybrid zones is encouraged because these are key shortcomings in the current generation of models.
- Coupling models across gradients of human transformation in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. Biodiversity scenarios often focus on one type of system (e.g., terrestrial vs. marine) or on one part of the gradient of human transformation (e.g., "natural" vs. agricultural vs. urban systems). Interdisciplinary research on the interactions between systems is essential for making scenarios more representative of systems that decision-makers deal with.
- Developing early warning of (socio-)ecological breakpoints and regime shifts.
- Estimation and communication of uncertainty. Estimation of uncertainty can be based on a variety of methods including model validation using empirical observations, model validation using experimental simulations, and model-model comparison. This may include the analysis of past trends. Uncertainty also needs to be communicated in innovative and transparent ways to decision makers. Model validation will require close collaboration with observation systems. Proposals may consider a wide range of approaches to socio-economic scenarios including extrapolations from current trends, probabilistic approaches, prospective approaches, etc.When relevant, the research questions should address gender balance.
The added value of international collaboration and the level of collaboration between teams from different countries should be clearly demonstrated, including for upscaling knowledge at the (sub-)regional level or for comparative approaches of different local contexts. Given the nature of the research to be supported through this call, proposals will include as needed collaboration and integration across several disciplines from natural sciences and/or social sciences and humanities. Overlap with on-going international, European and national projects on this theme should be avoided. Complementing on-going research is however possible but should be clearly explained.