The BEC Group develops and applies state-of-the art ecological knowledge, methods, and tools to understand ecosystem functioning, biodiversity change, and feedbacks in coupled social-economic-ecological systems. We use this knowledge to develop management options to achieve biodiversity and sustainability goals  

The BEC group is the institute’s hub of applied ecology and conservation research. The group provides the needed ecological and conservation insights to help IIASA promote institutional, demographic, behavioral, technological, social, and economic changes that achieve development goals sustainably. 

The group’s key research areas include:

  • Ecological responses to natural and anthropogenic drivers of change, for example, land and water management and climate change.
  • How to prioritize conservation efforts to maximize positive impacts at scales from local to global (e.g., habitat restoration and conservation, and species management plans).
  • How species and ecosystems contribute to selected ecosystem services and human wellbeing.

Models, tools, datasets


Integrated model for BiodIversity distribution projectionS (ibis.iSDM)

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Plant Functional Acclimation and Trait Evolution (PlantFATE)


Chamois picture taken near the Rax

Designing a resilient and coherent Trans-European Network for Nature and People (NaturaConnect)

Wetland calm pond surrounded by golden vegetation and brilliant colors of fall foliage forest

European Union Biodiversity and Climate strategies Assessment (EU BIOCLIMA)




Resilience of Ecosystem Services provided by Intact and Sustainably managed Terrestrial ecosystems (RESIST)


Jutta Beher profile picture

Jutta Beher

Research Scholar (BEC)

Jodey Peyton profile picture

Jodey Peyton

External Relations Officer (CER); Guest Research Scholar (BEC)

Martin Jung profile picture

Martin Jung

Research Scholar (BEC)

Amela Ploskic profile picture

Amela Ploskic

Program Assistant (BEC, IBF)


Red amazonian tree frog on a green branch at night

17 November 2023

Prioritizing land to avoid species extinction

Amid an alarming surge in global habitat destruction and species extinction, new research by an international team of scientists proposes a new global approach to choosing protected lands which could reduce species extinction risk twice as efficiently as current methods.
Rubber tree plantation

02 November 2023

Rubber trees and deforestation: quantifying the impact of rubber production on tropical forests and biodiversity

Two new studies produced by an international team, including a scientist working in partnership with IIASA, demonstrate that the impact of the global rubber trade on forests and biodiversity has been substantially underestimated and new sustainable solutions are urgently needed to address this problem.
Scenic summer nature landscape in Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Salzburg, Austria

28 June 2023

Martin Jung receives 2023 European Early Career Conservation Award

Martin Jung, a researcher in the Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation Research Group of the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program has received the Society for Conservation Biology’s 2023 European Early Career Conservation Award for his outstanding contributions to conservation science.


11 November 2023

IIASA trailblazers: Celebrating excellence in 2023

Options Magazine, Winter 2023: IIASA has a long history of being home to some of the most exceptional systems thinkers of our time. In the last year, several IIASA researchers were again honored with various awards and appointments.
Morning fog over rain forest in Colombia

14 July 2023

Ambitious ecological restoration and deforestation control strategies could support Colombia’s climate and biodiversity targets

IIASA researchers Juliana Arbelaez-Gaviria and Eleanor Warren-Thomas have coauthored a new policy brief published with the Colombia team of the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium, an initiative under the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) and part of the UN Sustainable Development and Solutions Network (UNSDSN). The brief outlines how deforestation and ecological restoration in Colombia may impact carbon, biodiversity, and agricultural production by 2030.