Category Archives: Biodiversity

Maintaining Plant Biodiversity in Cities

Using Urban Design for a Better Green Infrastructure in Zurich

By Kevin Vega

What evidence was useful for policymaking?

Understanding the effects of urban design on plant species composition in cities is essential to maintaining biodiversity overall, promoting urban resilience in the face of climate change, and improving life quality for residents. Functional ecosystems can benefit pollinators, reduce urban flooding, and improve air quality –all while looking aesthetically pleasing.

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How can biodiversity-ecosystem function research (BEF) be used to inform ecosystem managers and policy-makers?

Ecosystem researchers currently do different types of BEF research. How can these studies be used in policymaking? A recent analysis with involvement of Prof. Nina Buchmann from ETH Zurich and member of PSC came up with recommendations:

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How can policymakers decide if protected areas (=PA) in the Alps will be able to secure high-species richness under climate future change?

Protected areas like the Swiss National Park should conserve native plant and animal species in the Alps now and in the future. With upcoming climate change the habitats of species shift and the spatial distribution of alpine biodiversity is changing.

Can researchers predict if protected areas can uphold conservation goals under these changing conditions? How can policymakers decide if they need to update the boundaries of existing protected areas or if new ones need to be created in specific areas to conserve alpine biodiversity?

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Dramatic Loss of Food Plants for Insects

The diversity of food plants for insects in the canton of Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years or so. This means that bees, flies and butterflies are increasingly deprived of their food base, a team of researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Zurich (Reto Nyffler, Michael Kessler) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL has demonstrated. The results are transferable to the whole of Central Europe, with minor regional restrictions.

Source: https://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2020/Loss-of-Plants.html

Stefan Abrahamczyk, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Michael Nobis, Reto Nyffeler, Michael Kessler: Shifts in food plant abundance for flower-visiting insects between 1900 and 2017 in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland, Ecological Applications, 23 April 2020. DOI: 10.1002/eap.2138