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Biodiversity Exploratories


The DFG-funded Biodiversity Exploratories project aims to understand the effects of land-use intensity on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Since 2008 this collaborative large-scale project involves researchers from various disciplines and universities.

Econetlab projects

in the Exploratories

ARTHROPODS (since 2014)

DUNGWEBS (2014 - 2017)

RESPONSE (2011 - 2014)

STOICHIO (2014 - 2017)

Funded by

Region and design

The research project includes three different regions (exploratories) across Germany: Schwäbische Alb in the southwest, Hainich Dün in the centre and Schorfheide Chorin in the northeast of Germany.
Each exploratory includes 50 grassland and 50 forest sites that can be ranked along a gradient of land-use intensity. Grassland sites are managed by mowing, grazing and fertilization (but not pesticides, and no arable land is included). Yearly interviews with the land owners and farmers collect the land-use intensity information for each site. The management intensity of forest sites can be described e.g. by the estimated amount of wood harvested or the share of non-native tree species.

Our focus

Our group studies land-use responses of insect communities and their ecosystem functioning. We are part of the Arthropods Core project, where we measure ecosystem processes (e.g. seed depletion, dung decomposition, predation) and contribute to the annual sampling of arthropods in all plots. One particular focus of our work are the joint multi-site experiments within the Biodiversity Exploratories, allowing to disentangle individual components of land use and their relation to arthropods and ecosystem processes.


In previous project phases, further projects focused on pollinators (bees, flies, butterflies, beetles), dung beetles, herbivores (grasshoppers, cicadas, bugs) and moths.


For questions please contact Michael Staab or Nico Blüthgen.

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