Scientific partners

Brandenburg University Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU)
Faculty of Environment and Natural Sciences

Research and teaching at BTU is centred on five core areas with 'environment' being one of them. The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Process Engineering covers a variety of disciplines with a comprehensive experience in analysing environmental and resource problems like biodiversity conservation, soil erosion, water pollution and climate change from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Research at the Chair of Environmental Economics focuses on the economic analysis of environmental policy instruments with a particular focus on instruments to conserve biodiversity.

Contact: Prof. Frank Waetzold



The Naturschutzstiftung Heidekreis participates together with partners from science, agriculture, environmental NGOs and administration in an 3 year project funded by the Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) . Goal of the project is the protection and enhancement of grasslands in the area of the Allerniederung in the Saxonian Heidekreis. Within this project the software DSS-Ecopay will be used to select and specify biodiversity enhancing grassland measure as well as support the selection process of the fields where the measures are to take place. .

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In order to stimulate conservation in agricultural landscapes programmes have been developed (e.g. in the context of agri-environmental schemes) with which farmers are compensated for carrying out agricultural activities in a biodiversity-enhancing manner. An important requirement for the design of such programmes is that they are cost-effective, i.e. that for existing financial resources the conservation output is maximised. The aim of the SOKO Bio project was to develop a software-based decision support tool based on an ecological-economic modelling procedure to design cost-effective compensation payments for measures to conserve endangered grassland species in the German Federal States of Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. The software should be able to (I) estimate the effects of selected measures on endangered grassland species in the two federal states for varying budgets, (II) estimate the cost-effectiveness of existing or planned compensation programmes and (III) define management objective functions (e.g. survival probability of various selected species) and maximise them for selected budgets. The software should be easily adaptable to changing economic and ecological circumstances (e.g. climate change). 

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Ecopay 2.0 
Further development of the software Ecopay for determining cost-effective payments for conservation measures to protect endangered species and habitats in grassland for a german-wide use in nature conservation 

In this follow-up project of SOKO Bio Ecopay is further developed in a way that it is possible for a user to apply the software single-handed as decision support for the design of ecologically effective and cost-effective agri-environment schemes in grassland. Thus, the project pursues the following subgoals:

  • improving the user friendliness of Ecopay,
  • demonstration of the possibility to use Ecopay for a region by developing a regional version Ecopay for the region "Osterzgebirge" and
  • demonstration of the application of Ecopay to another German federal state by developing a version of Ecopay for Brandenburg

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The software Ecopay, developed to design cost-effective payments to compensate farmers for measures to conserve endangered species in grasslands, is applied in three regions in Flanders, Belgium. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Research Institute for Nature and Forest(INBO) and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). The software is adapted to the specific conditions of the region and the necessary regional data are integrated in the software. 

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Economics of climate adaptation for biodiversity conservation (Ecoclimb)
Ecoclimb will pioneer research in the emerging and exciting field “economics of climate adaptation for biodiversity conservation”. It will develop exemplarily novel dynamic ecological-economic models to analyse three key conservation policy instruments – incentive payments, offsets and land purchase – in terms of ecological effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in a changing climate taking into account the options enabling migration of species to new climate space and providing climate refugia. Ecoclimb will also identify, apply and compare approaches from economics and ecology to deal with risk and uncertainty in future climatic, ecological and socio-economic conditions. Ecoclimb will work exemplarily in two case study areas, Lower-Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, with a focus on conserving endangered grassland species. Key stakeholders are integrated as partners to provide input to the scientific work. Ecoclimb is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research and lasts from 2018 till 2020. Key partners are BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and UFZ.