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.


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)


Matea Osti profile picture

Matea Osti

Project Officer (BEC)

Amela Ploskic profile picture

Amela Ploskic

Program Assistant (BEC, IBF)

Laura Graham profile picture

Laura Graham

IIASA-NERC Research Fellow (BEC)

Richard Cornford profile picture

Richard Cornford

Research Scholar (BEC)


Wildlife seen through ruins

11 May 2023

Nature is changing as land abandonment increases

When people leave their rural lives behind to seek their fortunes in the city or agriculture is no longer profitable, the lands they toiled on are often left unused. A new perspective piece in Science shows that these abandoned lands could be both an opportunity and a threat for biodiversity, and highlights why abandoned lands are critical in the assessment of global restoration and conservation targets.
View of Hintersee lake in Bavarian Alps, Germany

01 March 2023

European conservation leaders gather to boost collective dialogue for a Trans-European Nature Network

More than 70 leading EU policy and governmental decision makers came together to lay the foundation for a bold new vision for Europe's nature protection in the first NaturaConnect stakeholder event this year.


Multi-colored bird and tropical flowers

20 April 2023

2030 nature targets agreed in December may already be slipping out of reach

IIASA researcher Richard Cornford and colleagues discuss the need for urgent action to stop biodiversity declines, and caution that ambitious targets to stop these declines by 2030 may already be slipping out of reach, in an article just published in The Conversation.  

28 March 2023

The future of biodiversity monitoring in Europe

Policy Brief #37, March 2023. Increasing the policy impact and effectiveness of biodiversity monitoring in Europe: current state and gaps.
Globe on moss
Group of happy cyclists on a summer bicycle trip in the park.

16 December 2022

100 times around the world: why you should bike to work

Florian Hofhansl reports on the IIASA Social and Cultural Association (SOCU)’s participation in the 2022 edition of the Lower Austria cycling initiative – Niederösterreich radelt.