Leuphana Research Center Future of Ecosystem Services

The concept of ecosystem services — the benefits derived from human interactions with, and appropriation of, the physical structures and processes occurring in (natural and human dominated) ecosystems — has emerged as one of the most important new paradigms of the environmental and sustainability sciences in the last fifteen years. The notion of ecosystem services has the potential to act as a boundary object, capable of bringing together various scientific domains of knowledge that study the interactions and interdependencies between human society and nature. Synthesising such knowledge may provide vital and encompassing understandings, and inform sustainable management, of social-ecological systems.

 

FuturES: Future of Ecosystem Services

Sustainable. Transdisciplinary. Diverse.

FuturES, founded in 2012, brings together the diverse expertise of researchers at Leuphana University of Lüneburg across a wide range of disciplines such as communication science, ecology, economics, ethics, political science and management. FuturES seeks to foster genuinely interdisciplinary collaboration between a broad spectrum of the natural and social sciences, and the active involvement of stakeholders and policy makers in shaping research goals and methods (transdisciplinary approach) within the broader conceptual framework and societal goal of sustainability.

FuturES expands on the existing research in the field of ecosystem services by relating the (largely) descriptive concept of ecosystem services to the explicitly normative concept of sustainability. A particular emphasis is on trade-offs and conflicts between multiple services and the uncertainties inherent in the generation and appropriation of ecosystem services. In doing so FuturES seeks to develop new management and governance strategies for the management of ecosystem services with explicit regard to the goal of sustainability.

FuturES is the first research center in Germany that takes a truly encompassing and integrated approach to ecosystem services. This approach places it among a small number of institutions worldwide, seeking not simply to use the concept of ecosystem services within established research approaches, but to actively strengthen the concept as a new tool in the search for sustainability solutions.