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)


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Juliette Martin

Research Scholar (BEC, EQU)

Matthew Lewis profile picture

Matthew Lewis

Researcher (BEC)

Jutta Beher profile picture

Jutta Beher

Research Scholar (BEC)

Piero Visconti profile picture

Piero Visconti

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar (BEC)


Beautiful landscape panorama showing a meadow and a path leading into a forest, with autumn colors and blue sky

29 November 2022

New global targets for protecting and restoring nature can help tackle climate change

IIASA researchers contributed to a recent report published by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) calling for coordinated action on climate change and nature loss.
Panorama of green European lanscape

10 November 2022

Protecting and connecting nature across Europe

Europe needs healthy ecosystems that benefit biodiversity and people and are resilient to climate change. The Horizon Europe NaturaConnect Project will support European Union governments and other public and private institutions in designing a coherent, resilient and well-connected Trans-European Nature Network.


28 February 2023 Brussels

First NaturaConnect Stakeholder Event


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.

Tropical jungle

20 September 2022

Achieving socio-ecological resilience in the Anthropocene: opportunities and challenges

Florian Hofhansl writes about an upcoming IIASA research initiative and its successful inauguration at a recent conference of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.

Great Egret taking flight in wetland

28 January 2022

Effective management matters to protect Europe’s water birds in the face of climate change

New research suggests that the effective management of protected areas in Europe can help to advance the range shifts of wintering water birds toward the north as the climate warms.