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Understanding the functions of diversity
Date:5/21/2008

This press release is available in German.

Biodiversity is fundamental to human life. It meets our material and cultural needs and ensures the stability of ecosystems. Worldwide, however, there is evidence of a dramatic demise in species diversity which is primarily attributed to the way humans use the land and to climate change. In order to understand the interactions between environmental change, climate change and species loss better, it is necessary to study the role of biodiversity in ecosystems more closely. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) is therefore not only funding projects on functional biodiversity, but is also endeavouring to bolster research involved in the debate on biodiversity for example at the UN biodiversity conference, which started in Bonn on 19 May.

At the exhibition Millions of Ways of Life Research for Biological Diversity, where German biodiversity research will present itself alongside the UN conference, some DFG-funded projects will be among those presenting the goals of this research: to measure, conserve and promote sustainable use of species diversity. The Biodiversity Exploratories for example, are studying near-natural ecosystems forests, fields and meadows at three sites in Germany and are combining experimental and observational studies. The Jena Experiment project, on the other hand, is studying the function of biodiversity on the basis of artificially created grassland systems in which individual factors can be changed deliberately. A project based in Bayreuth, on the other hand, is looking at the distribution of species in various elevation zones of a mountainous region, focussing on the biodiversity on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The fact that maintaining the species diversity always needs to be achieved in harmony with a regions economic needs is a particular challenge in
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Contact: Dr. Jutta Rateike
jutta.rateike.@dfg.de
49-228-885-2665
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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