Modelling biodiversity and ecosystem services loss to advance resilience: call for proposal winners 2023

Posted on September, 19 2023

WWF and its partners announce the winners of a call for grants launched earlier this year to undertake research in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Modelling Scenarios. Better understanding the impacts of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation is important for our society and economy. Healthy ecosystems underpin all the UN SDGs; and our economies and businesses remain dependent on the robustness of natural assets.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) play a foundational role for the resilience of our societies, economies and quality of life. Nearly one million species face extinction, and ecosystem services are declining. The WWF Living Planet Report 2022 reveals an average decline of 69% in species populations since 1970. If societies continue current production and consumption patterns, IPBES scientists expect that 30 percent to 50 percent of all species may be lost by the middle of the 21st century. 

Measuring, tracking, reporting and forecasting expected BES developments is a prerequisite for action. The BES Scenarios Modelling Initiative aims to provide meaningful and quantified BES futures at a highly granular level and agglomerate data to provide globally applicable regional views.

Together with enabling partners AXA Research Fund, Swiss Re Foundation and Swiss Re Institute, WWF invited scientific research institutions to apply for the grant programme and submit BES scenario research proposals. Out of a total of 13 applications received, 5 winners were selected for a grant. These are:   

🏆 Belize University - Ivis Chan, Jake Snaddon, 

🏆 ETH Zurich, University of Lausanne, Grenoble University, Wyss Academy for Nature - Adrienne Grét-Regamey, Benjamin Black, Antoine Guisan, Loïc Pellissier, Edouard Davin, Ignacio Palomo, Armando Valdés-Velasquez, Miguel Saravia  

🏆 IIS Brazil - Rafael Loyola

🏆 VU Amsterdam - Federico Riva, Peter H. Verburg

🏆 Zurich University - Maria J. Santos

These 5 institutions will receive USD 100 000 each to support their research. The list of institutions is available here.

Jury members who assessed and selected the winners were:

  • Professor Dr. Florian Altermatt, University of Zurich / Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Corli Pretorius, UNEP-WCMC, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Professor Dr. Josef Settele, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Research will start in 2023, with full findings expected to be published end 2025.

More information on the Swiss Re Foundation website here. 
© Andreas Beckmann, 2006
Mangroves are a nursery for marine life and petition seeks to protect their existence because of the many ecosystem services they provide
© Jurgen Freund