27.02.2019 01.03.2029
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Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity - A FONA Flagship Initiative

Biological diversity is declining rapidly worldwide. This development is based on serious gaps in knowledge and measures that urgently need to be addressed. The BMBF is meeting this challenge with a long-term Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity. This will significantly advance biodiversity research, bundle research activities more effectively, and make a sustainable contribution to combating the ongoing loss of biological diversity.

One of the greatest challenges of our time is the loss of biodiversity. This entails the extinction of species, the decline of their genetic diversity, and the degradation and alteration of ecosystems. Biodiversity is of existential importance to us humans. It provides us with food, water, and medicine. It contributes to regulating our climate and the quality of our air and water, and provides us with opportunities for recreation and rejuvenation. Biodiversity is the basis of our quality of life. The total global economic value of these so-called ecosystem services is estimated at 125 trillion US dollars per year. Thus, the decline in biodiversity also entails considerable economic losses.

In recent decades, species diversity has declined sharply worldwide and in Germany. Many of the general causes are known, including intensive land use (e. g. for agriculture), high use of fertilizers and pesticides, loss of habitat, (e. g. for housing or the expansion of transportation infrastructure), and climate change. However, what remains unclear is the extent to which individual drivers contribute to biodiversity loss, how they interact, and how indirect social and economic drivers affect one another. Furthermore, our understanding of the degree of biodiversity loss and subsequent impacts only extends to individual species and landscape types, which has made targeted countermeasures virtually impossible. Overall, previous national and international efforts to protect biological diversity appear ineffective, as species loss is progressing at a rapid pace.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for scientifically substantiated options for action and targeted strategies to reverse the trend in species loss and secure ecosystem services that are vital to our well-being. The BMBF Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity aims to create the necessary scientific foundation for this. To this end, the research initiative is divided into three strategic focus areas:

  1. develop innovative technologies and methods to improve and boost the efficiency of biodiversity monitoring.
  2. enhance our systemic understanding of the causes, dynamics, and consequences of biodiversity changes, and
  3. generate systemic solutions and a 'repertoire of measures' in cooperation with prospective users.

The aim is to enable decision-makers from politics, business, and society to substantially counteract the loss of biodiversity by providing options for concrete action as well as a "policy toolbox" of applicable measures.

With this initiative, the BMBF is contributing to achieving international goals that Germany has committed to, such as the Aichi goals of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It also makes a central contribution to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the National Strategy for Biological Diversity (NBS), and the High-Tech Strategy 2025 of the Federal Government. The research initiative is the fourth flagship initiative of the Research for Sustainable Development (FONA) framework programme of the BMBF.

In addition to calls for proposals by subject matter, fast-track measures will allow urgent research questions to be promptly identified and addressed accordingly.

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