At the Science Policy Interface: LANd Use SYNergies and CONflicts within the framework of the 2030 Agenda

How can we use the land that we have most efficiently and thereby allow for human development and reduce the negative impacts on the environment? That is probably one of the most crucial questions we need to answer to ensure the survival of humanity.

In LANUSYNCON, we try to answer this question through the conceptual and practical integration of different perspectives, actors and research disciplines. The insufficient coordination between land use decisions of different political sectors often leads to conflicts of ownership, access and use. This is particularly the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where the pressure on land is increasing. In LANUSYNCON, we examine the complex tradeoffs between different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Knowledge about decision making and land use will be linked with the SDGs in an innovative way and translated into model-based policy decision and land use scenarios.

Increasingly, Science Policy Interfaces (SPIs) are being established to translate knowledge from science into relevant policy options for policymakers. In LANUSYNCON, we will assess the role of SPIs in land use policies and the capacity of SPIs to consider synergies and conflicts in their work. Thereby, we will identify factors and obstacles to coherent land use in a development context and contribute to a better consideration of synergies and conflicts in political decisions.

LANUSYNCON is a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


Jun-Prof. Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger
(LANUSYNCON Research Group Leader)

Center for Development Research
University of Bonn
Genscherallee 3
53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 73 1726





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ECPR General Conference 2022 - The Role of Knowledge in Governance

Doctoral researchers Niklas Wagner and Sara Velander's panel and paper "Bridging Knowledge and Governance through Institutionalized Science-Policy Interfaces" have been accepted for the European Consortium for Political Research's upcoming General Conference. The conference will take place 22-26 August, 2022 at the University of Innsbruck. More information on their panel can be found here: panel details.


Looming grain shortages - what role does our meat consumption play?

In 2020, 20% of global grain were fed to livestock, 60% in the EU alone. What role does meat consumption and the choice in grains cultivated have on food security and grain shortages? Junior-Professor Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger discusses this topic in an episode with Bayern 2's "IQ-Wissenschaft und Forschung". Listen to the episode here: https://www.br.de/radio/bayern2/sendungen/iq-wissenschaft-und-forschung/lockerungen-weizen-lockedin-100.html 



Call for applications: PhD student position (TVL E13, 100%)

The Bonn Sustainable AI Lab is looking for doctoral students to research environmental impacts of artifical intelligence (AI) applications.The position is limited to a fixed contract of four years. The Bonn Sustainable AI Lab is funded by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe’s Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for the Applied Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. The research done in the lab is focused on addressing the often hidden environmental and related social and economic costs of designing, developing, and using AI across society. The research would be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe and Jun-Prof. Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger from the Agricultural Faculty and the Center for Development Research.

Please send your complete application documents  (in one PDF file) by March 31st to info@sustainable-ai.eu with the application code 14/22/3.202. For further information please contact Charlotte Bander, charlotte.bander@uni-bonn.de .

You can find more information on the position here: https://www.uni-bonn.de/de/universitaet/medien-universitaet/medien-arbeiten-an-der-uni/medien-personalmanagement/pdfs-stellenausschreibungen-wiss.ma/14-22-3-202.pdf

What are the consequences of the Ukraine war on food security?⁠

Junior-Professor Lisa Biber-Freudenberger gave her assessment on its impacts on food security and agriculture, highlighting its potential to exacerbate hunger and poverty in the global South, particularly in countries that import a lot of food, and increasing agricultural intensity. ⁠

See the Instagram post by KONSNS here: https://instagram.com/p/Ca6X6q1Nl5I/


Why the extinction of species is as dangerous for humanity as the climate crisis

Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. However, experts believe that the extinction of species poses a similar risk and deserves more of our attention. Find out how the two issues are linked in the following article: "Warum das Artensterben für die Menschheit so gefährlich ist wie die Klimakrise

ZEF Junior-Professor Lisa Biber-Freudenberger co-lead author in next IPBES Nexus Assessment

Junior-Professor Dr Lisa Biber-Freudenberger from the Center for Development Research (ZEF) has been selected as Lead Author for the Nexus Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This thematic assessment will provide policy-relevant knowledge to decision-makers about the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health, and will be prepared by an international and interdisciplinary team of experts over the next 3.5 years, starting in May 2022. “I feel very honored to be selected as one of the authors preparing this important assessment, which will serve as an important basis for future coherent decision making.” says Lisa Biber-Freudenberger. She was nominated by the German Government as well as ZEF to be part of the author team and finally selected by IPBES following a competitive selection process.

Find out more here www.ipbes.net

Connecting Gender and Land-use Science: Why Not?

A group of female researchers who are part of the LANUSYNCON project have studied the relation between gender and land-use science*. Both papers, which were recently approved for a special issue entitled “Women in Land Science” in the Journal of Land-Use Science, stress the critical needs of female researchers in the field of land-use science.

As a result of a meta-analysis based on 316,390 peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2000-2021, the authors found that only 27% of all authors represented women. Besides, the ethnicity representation of the authors was biased towards White researchers (62%) followed by Asian (30%), Hispanic (6%), and Black (2%) researchers. “Less than 1% of all authors represented black women indicating an intersectionality effect of female black authors being part of two marginalized scientific communities” says Hannah Kamau, lead author of one of the studies.

The group decided not only to look at land use science in general but also to understand why men are more successful in publishing and pursuing a scientific career, taking the doctoral program at ZEF as a case study. In an online survey, current and former members of the doctoral program were invited to answer questions about their academic performance during their doctorate, whether or not they had kids, and if they or their partner was in charge of family obligations. They found that particularly female early-career researchers from the Global South faced challenges in balancing academic career and family life. Significantly more women than men in the doctoral program were responsible for family obligations, with mothers experiencing a prolonged duration of completing their doctorates and a lower publication rate.

“Considering these results, we call for supportive actions from academic leaders and funding institutions to empower women, to reduce intersectional inequalities and to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals Gender Equality (SDG5) and Partnership for the Goals (SDG17) through gender-sensitive and inclusive international collaboration.” says Sara Velander, lead author of the ZEF case study. Furthermore, the constraints that early-career scientists, particularly mothers, face during their research need to be addressed for institutes to strengthen international gender equality in the field of land science.

The results were also presented and discussed during a workshop on gender-sensitive research at ZEF, organized by the ZEF Gender Group in May of this year. The diffusion of the studies was timely and coincided with the analysis of several senior researchers on the need to address gender inequalities in a more systematic manner along the research cycle. This includes the acknowledgment of the differentiated challenges that female and male researchers face at home, in academic spaces and in the field. Moreover, the contribution of the two studies were highlighted because they constitute a good practice on how to build evidence of the, otherwise, hidden structural disadvantages against female researchers.

* Kamau Hannah, Tran Uyen, Biber-Freudenberger Lisa (in press) “A long way to go: Gender and diversity in Land use science”, Journal of Land Use Science, and Velander Sara, Martinelli Fernanda Silva, Sari Dewi Idam, Ali Fatima, Biber-Freudenberger Lisa (in press) “A dichotomy of domestic and academic pathways: Challenges of motherhood in an international doctoral program on land science” Journal of Land Use Science.

Following the science at COP26: Insights and Observations on the Integration of Scientific Findings in International Climate Policy

Doctoral reseachers Sara Velander and Niklas Wagner wrote a blog post in which they shared their thoughts and observations from COP 26 in Glasgow, Uk. Read it here: https://blog.zef.de/?p=7913

The consequences of biodiversity loss and land use change on infectious disease emergence

LANUSYNCON’s research group leader is set to launch a new project. A new research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) will take a look at the role of biodiversity loss and land use change for the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases in Uganda. The activities will start in spring 2022 and will be conducted by Junior-Professor Dr. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger in collaboration with an international and interdisciplinary consortium from the Charité in Berlin and Makerere University in Uganda. While studies have found that transmission of zoonotic diseases is influenced by biodiversity loss and land use change, there is little knowledge about the initial dynamics of disease emergence. The researchers will study these dynamics by detecting, analyzing and modeling arbovirus infections (those viruses transmitted for example by mosquitoes e.g. Rift Valley fever virus, West Nile virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya virus, Zika virus or Yellow fever virus), considering land use change, climate change, population density, agricultural activities, as well as biodiversity loss. The team will investigate how and under which conditions viruses were able to infect new hosts including humans or farm animals for the first time (so-called spillover infections) to understand their genetic adjustment. This information will provide the basis to model hot spots of diseases emergence under different climatic and land use change scenarios, and to develop policy recommendations for early detection, effective prevention and risk reduction of zoonotic infectious diseases.

Future Rural Africa – The German Research Foundation is funding a second phase for the Collaborative Research Centre

A partner of LANUSYNCON is moving into the next stage. The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) Future Rural Africa (www.crc228.de) is being funded for four more years in its second phase from 2022 till 2026. The CRC investigates the socio-ecological transformation along development corridors in Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia taking an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. Together with researchers from the University of Bonn and Cologne, as well as other external partners, ZEF has been and will be playing a prominent role in the CRC. Professors Christian Borgemeister and Jan Börner were already co-leading research projects in the first phase as so-called principal investigators (PI). In the second phase, Jun-Prof. Lisa Biber-Freudenberger will become a third PI from ZEF. In their research, the three PIs are going to look at different aspects of socio-ecological transformation and future rural development, ranging from infectious diseases to ecotourism and road development. In the first phase, the CRC looked at conservation and intensification as important processes determining future rural development. In the second phase, “infrastructuring” will be considered as a third process that is interacting with the other two. “The development of roads is shaping the development and future of many rural areas across Africa in a significant way. I am looking forward to the opportunity to better understand how road development affects biodiversity and livelihoods and to play a role in this second phase of the CRC.” says Lisa Biber-Freudenberger.

Podcast - EKLIPSE about environmental regulation, business and biodiversity featuring Lisa Biber-Freudenberger

Lisa Biber-Freudenberger (Center for Development Research - ZEF) and Janina Grabs (ETH Zurich's Environmental Policy Lab) talked about the fact that our food production systems depend on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as farmers and other food producers, are currently struggling with market prices for their products and at the same time producing more sustainably.

To listen and learn more about how environmental regulators can support SMEs to enhance environmental sustainability, listen to the podcast episode on Environmental regulation, business and biodiversity by EKLIPSE.

Lisa Biber-Freudenberger presented at ZEF Colloquium about "Science Policy Interface: Land Use Synergies and Conflicts"