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SoCoDES – Social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services

The research project investigates the mutual influence of human population development and ecosystem services and the resulting dynamics.

Research approach

The aim of the project is to gain a better and broader understanding of the interrelationships between demographic developments and biodiversity. With the help of a systematic literature search for “Biodiversity and demographic change”, the current state of research is compiled and research gaps or future research questions are identified. In addition, the project covers dynamics of use of ecosystem services and the resulting trade-offs. The project team is investigating how different stakeholder groups perceive ecosystem services, how they have access to their use and what motives play a role. Finally, the research project deals with formal and informal regulations that are relevant for the use of ecosystem services. These are key factors in sustainable development, since they can promote or prevent certain dynamics, or favour or disadvantage social actors: for example, how is access to or use of green spaces and local recreation areas regulated? What is the relationship (synergistically or competitively) between different regulations or ordinances?


Ecological and societal changes not only affect the provision of ecosystem services, they also influence people‘s needs and lifestyles. This leads to far-reaching changes in the use of natural resources. At the same time, changes in the quality and scope of ecosystem services can influence social processes, such as increasing the trend towards urbanization. These interactions between demographic developments and biodiversity are called the social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services. These dynamics can lead to conflicts as different interest groups have different demands on ecosystem services. This is particularly true of urban areas in which social, ecological and economic conditions and requirements are constantly and in some cases rapidly changing.

Project partners

  • Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN), Frankfurt am Main (lead)
  • Goethe-University of Frankfurt am Main


  • Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN)
  • Own project of ISOE

The research project SoCoDES is part of the cooperation with the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F). Within SBiK-F interdependencies between shifts in biodiversity and climate change are being investigated. ISOE is a founding partner of the research centre and coordinates the focal field of “Ecosystem Services and Climate”


Arbieu, Ugo/Jörg Albrecht/Marion Mehring/Nils Bunnefeld/Ilka Reinhardt/Thomas Müller (2020): The positive experience of encountering wolves in the wild. Conservation Science and Practice

Mehring, Marion/Alexandra Lux/Thomas Jahn (2020): Anthropocene Biodiversity Challenges. Über die Notwendigkeit einer sozial-ökologischen Biodiversitätsforschung. Senckenberg Natur, Forschung, Museum 150 (7-9), 114-116

Mehring, Marion/Nicolai Mehlhaus/Edward Ott/Diana Hummel (2020): A systematic review of biodiversity and demographic change: A misinterpreted relationship?. Ambio 49, 1297-1312


2015/01 – 2021/12