RTG ConFoBi of the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg (ALU) presents an inter- and transdisciplinary biodiversity research and qualification programme which draws its novelty from the combination of multi-scale ecological studies on forest biodiversity with social and economic studies of biodiversity conservation. The added value of this integrative approach will additionally be underpinned by a translational set up, oriented at establishing a lively exchange of expertise between scientific research and the demands of forestry and conservation practice.


ConFoBi will focus on the effectiveness of structural retention measures, namely habitat trees and dead wood, for biodiversity in multi-functional forests of Central Europe, using the Black Forest as a model system.Moreover, it will identify how conservation can effectively be integrated with other forest uses in a translational approach in close cooperation with the forestry and conservation sectors. The research programme comprises 5 Modules:
A will provide tools for Multi-Scale Assessment of Structures ranging from trees to landscapes;
B will focus on linkages between Structures and Forest Biodiversity by studying components of biodiversity along gradients of forest structure and connectivity;
C will use social science and economic approaches to assess Human Dimensions of Forest Biodiversity such as opportunity costs and stakeholder perceptions;
D will focus on the interface between science and society in order to study and foster Integration and Translation between ConFoBi and forest management;
E will be responsible for the Coordinationof ConFoBi.

Within this framework, ConFoBi formulates two lead questions, studied in Research Modules A-C:

  • What is the contribution of the landscape context to the effectiveness of retention for conserving biodiversity in multi-functional forests?
  • What is the role of the socio-economic context for the integration of such measures in forest management?

Module D will integrate results across A-C and provide for a transdisciplinary setup with continuous interaction between researchers and external partners from the forestry and conservation sectors. Module E will coordinate Modules A-D.

Qualification concept

The RTG will offer interdisciplinary training, supervision and coaching by experienced researchers. Its qualification programme aims at:
1) advancing the doctoral researches’ professional independence,
2) developing their inter- and transdisciplinary competence
3) qualification for leadership roles in and outside academia
4) providing an international network of peers and partners.
Key elements include courses, symposia, lab visits abroad, and conference participation.

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