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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Global Land Use Change and its influence on Biodiversity Loss

Laura Kehoe is a former doctoral researcher at the Biogeography and Conservation Biology lab in the Geography Department at Humboldt-University Berlin. Her research interests include land use effects on biodiversity across a range of taxa, studying alternative development pathways across future land use scenarios and investigating the root causes of biodiversity loss, such as over-consumption and population growth. Her doctoral project is affiliated with the Global Land Project and funded by the Einstein Foundation. She completed the Graduate Program. The Date of defence was November 2016.


Photo: Hand made globe by Jan Huling; see: http://janhuling.com

Hand made globe by Jan Kuling

Land use is essential for human well-being but is also one of the main drivers of the current biodiversity crisis. As land use increases rapidly in the coming decades due to human population growth, surging consumption and the growing importance of bioenergy, the question of how future land use change may affect global biodiversity patterns becomes increasingly important.

This project seeks to investigate the influence of future land use change on biodiversity by (1) synthesizing knowledge on land use effects on biodiversity across a range of taxa by compiling indicators on the current extent and intensity of global land use, (2) adapting species-area models to assess the biodiversity outcome of a variety of available future land use projections, (3) disentangling the trade-offs between agricultural expansion and agricultural intensification for the world’s biodiversity, and (4) studying alternative development pathways across a range of future land use scenarios.

The project is funded by the Einstein Foundation and carried out in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Environmental Research Centre (UFZ) in Leipzig, the Institute for Social Ecology in Vienna, and the University of Göttingen.

Our research has the overall goal of aiding in the identification of pathways to balance human resource use with the conservation of biodiversity, and is strongly motivated by providing solutions to conservation problems. We develop and apply approaches grounded in spatial ecology, spatial statistics, geographic analyses, and remote sensing.

Laura, originally from Ireland, has a background in Art & Graphic Design and a Bachelors in Psychology and Philosophy. She then switched to the natural world and received a Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. Since her Masters, Laura has worked with various local communities in Bolivia, Zambia, South Africa, Mexico and the Republic of Guinea with numerous projects which share a common goal of attempting to conserve the earth's remaining biodiversity through local community projects. Laura speaks Spanish, French, basic German, embarrassingly little Irish and some Pular.




Laura Kehoe, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 (0)30 2093 - 9470
E-mail: laura.kehoe@geo.hu-berlin.de