Department: ZEF C

ZEF C: Department of Ecology and Natural Resources Management

ZEF's Department of Ecology and Natural Resources Management has 13 senior researchers, 46 junior researchers (doctoral students) and 14 senior fellows affiliated to ZEF. Thematic and disciplinary foci are Ecosystem services; Sustainable use of biological resources; and Biodiversity. Regional foci are West Africa and Central Asia.


Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister


Department Competencies


The global biodiversity crisis is linked to sustainable development in many ways. Biodiversity and functional ecosystems do not only have a high intrinsic value, but nature also provides indispensable ecosystem services to support human livelihood. A large proportion of the global human population depends directly or indirectly on healthy ecosystems, and minimizing trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human development is thus one of the major challenges ahead.

Ecosystem services

The visible components of ecosystems such as land, water and the diversity of plants, animals, and microbes, are linked by invisible relations and interactions.

Sustainable use of natural resources

Biological resources as renewable resource are expected to play a more important role in the future economies of both industrial and developing countries. They are the basis for food production and many other uses, such as energy or industrial raw materials. ZEF's research focuses on achieving a balance between increasing the productivity of agriculture and forestry in developing countries, and using the natural resource base in a sustainable way.