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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Lectures 2016

 

Most of our public lectures are available on video!



Don Waller

Ecological factors driving long-term change in temperate forest plant communities

THESys Lecture Series

Thurs, 28 April 2016, 17 ct, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium)


Various stresses alter the composition, structure, and function of many ecosystems. Temperate forests are often assumed to resist these stresses because they are adapted to disturbances and support low plant diversity. Long-term data, however, are scarce and forests tend to change slowly, making it difficult to test this assumption. Our resurveys of hundreds of sites initially surveyed by John Curtis and his students in the 1950s reveal several patterns of long-term ecological change across Wisconsin's forests. Species differ in how they have shifted in distribution and abundance over the past 50-60 years.  Both alpha and beta diversity have declined across most sites, but sites differ in the nature and extent of change. We use these differences among species and sites to infer the drivers of ecological change in these forests. Climate change, ecological succession, habitat fragmentation, invasions of non-native species, overabundant deer, and atmospheric N deposition all appear to be affecting these forests, but their relative strength varies among species, sites and landscapes. We are now assessing the roles of plant functional traits and phylogenetic relatedness in the forces driving community assembly and disassembly.

Dr. Don Waller is an ecologist in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who teaches courses in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. His research focuses on threats to plant and animal diversity, the impacts of deer browsing and invasive species, and the fate of small populations. His research in evolutionary biology and population genetics focuses on the evolution of mating systems and the genetic threat of inbreeding. He works with environmental organizations, land trusts, and state and federal resource agencies and scientists to inject science more effectively into forest and game management. He co-authored Wild Forests: Conservation Biology and Public Policy (Island Press 1994), co-edited The Vanishing Present: Shifts in Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife (Univ. of Chicago Press 2008), and has authored or co- authored over 100 journal articles. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Evolution and former President of the Society for the Study of Evolution.

Location: Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium), Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3, 10117 Berlin

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Patrick Meyfroidt

Land use competition for food, climate and environment: Local to global trade-offs

THESys Lecture Series

Thurs, 19 May 2016, 17 ct, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium)


Land is a nexus for crucial societal and environmental challenges including food security, access to clean water and air, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change. These multiple stakes create increasing competition for uses of the land. Developing and implementing solutions to achieve sustainable land uses is central for human well-being, and requires in-depth understanding of complex trade-offs and synergies associated with different trajectories of land systems change.

Patrick Meyfroidt will discuss some of the major trade-offs in contemporary land systems and their inter-relations. First, how to cope with contradictory discourses about the need to increase global food production versus targeted ways to improve food security for the most food-insecure? Building on that, what are the trade-offs between expansion and intensification as ways to meet the demand for land-based agricultural and forestry products? Third, what prospects and questions do labor-intensive, agro-ecological agriculture aimed at reducing land use expansion and fossil fuel use raise about rural livelihoods and societal complexity? The conclusion will reflect on the need to navigate between local and global scales to balance these trade-offs.

Patrick Meyfroidt is a researcher at Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. He holds a PhD in geography (2009) and a degree in sociology from UCL. His main research interests are centered on the dynamics of land systems, including the role of globalization and distant linkages in land use change, forest transitions, cross-scale analyses of land system changes and social-ecological feedbacks from environmental change on perceptions and behaviors. He is starting an ERC project exploring the processes that condition and shape the emergence of agricultural frontiers in Southern Africa.

Location: Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium), Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3, 10117 Berlin

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Climate change: life and death

THESys Lecture Series

Thurs, 30 June 2016, 17 ct, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium)

What can philosophy contribute to climate policy? The need for thinking about fairness and justice is widely recognized, in determining how the effort to reduce climate change should be distributed between countries. This lecture argues that there is also an important need for value theory, in evaluating the harm that climate change will do and in determining what effort should be put into reducing it. Among other applications of value theory, we need to judge the value of changes in the world's human population. Climate change and climate policy will have major effects on population. If climate change is extreme - as is possible - it will even cause a collapse in the population. Yet policymakers have so far paid no attention to evaluating these changes. The philosophy of population ethics is needed to close this gap.

Prof. John Broome, University of Oxford, is Emeritus White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy and Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College. 

Location: Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Auditorium), Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3, 10117 Berlin

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Have a look at the poster!
 


See overview.