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Conservation Biology

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Head: Dr. Kurt Bollmann

We study the relationship between threatened species and their habitat with the objective to develop evidence-based instruments for conservation. The viability of populations of habitat specialists is often limited due to restricted availability of suitable habitat or discontinuous distribution. We focus on selected animal species of conservation concern (forest birds, bats, insects) and analyse species-habitat relationships at a scale ranging from single subpopulations to entire metapopulations. We strive towards standardised recording of elusive species with novel techniques, assessing environmental variables and combining these field data with data from remote sensing. We determine limiting factors (habitat, climate, resources) and predict species occurrence and habitat suitability with modelling techniques.

These models allow to predict species occurrence patterns and to delineate evidence-based priority areas for conservation. Our long-term collaboration with federal and cantonal stakeholders of forest and nature conservation enables the combination of research results with conservation requirements (e.g. species action plans, forest biodiversity expert panel, scientific counsel for bat protection). One focus of our research is forest biodiversity given the large extent and high importance of forests for biodiversity conservation in Switzerland.