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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-09-15 - 2020-01-14

Despite the growing evidence of species’ vulnerability to climate change, adaptation of wildlife to this change still remains a gap. Therefore, UN Environment’s “Vanishing Treasures” Programme supports climate change adaptation of vulnerable mountain species such as Royal Bengal tiger in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas (Bhutan), snow leopard in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and mountain gorilla in the Virunga region (Rwanda and Uganda). The Programme is funded by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and aims to generate maximum synergy between climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation by improving the adaptive capacity of mountain ecosystems while maintaining related ecosystem services, protecting mountain flagship species who are key to ecosystem functioning, and promoting alternative livelihoods for local communities. Further objectives of the Programme include: • To train wildlife managers in protected areas in climate-smart wildlife conservation, including adaptation to climate change through nature-based solutions; • To improve communication between climate research and biodiversity conservation practitioners to ensure that the conservation sector appropriately responds to recommendations for adaptive action; • To promote & develop a green infrastructure approach including restoration of habitats & corridors, creation and maintenance of buffer zones & stepping stones, rehabilitation of swamps and water catchment areas while increasing agricultural productivity or providing alternative forms of income to local communities facing the impacts of climate change.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-08-01 - 2021-07-31

Traditionally managed grasslands are an important habitat, not only for maintaining a high level of plant diversity, but also for maintaining the diversity of numerous important pollinator groups. Due to their high diversity of flowering plants, traditionally managed meadows are of considerable cultural and aesthetic importance. Intensification in agriculture has led to a decline in traditionally managed meadows in recent decades, resulting in a loss of species-rich habitats. This trend raises two central questions: (i) How can we transform grassland to counter the loss of biodiversity caused by intensive farming and (ii) how can biodiversity in grassland be increased or restored? The provision of a broad spectrum of flowering plants could be an essential part of the promotion and maintenance of a stable pollinator community in grassland. This can be achieved by sowing wildflower strips. In this project we investigate the effectiveness of wildflower strips to obtain different pollinator groups. In addition, important grassland dwellers such as grasshoppers and true bugs, which are important primary and secondary consumers in grassland, are included in the study. The aim of our investigations is to find out whether newly established wild flower strips are suitable as an alternative habitat for the mentioned insect groups in intensive grassland, and whether the applied wildflower strips can improve the landscape aesthetics. Thus, it is examined whether and to what extent the applied wildflower strips optimize the diversity of the selected insect groups. We compare these flower strips with intensively and extensively managed meadows in the Biosphere Reserves. In addition, the perception of the wildflower strips in terms of recovery effect with the involvement of the local population is examined. This serves as an important basis for the development of sustainable tourism and recreation in Biosphere Reserves.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-03-01 - 2021-02-28

Vienna is not only the capital of nearly two million inhabitants but also a hotspot of biodiversity. Thereby urban green areas and their management are highly relevant. The public transport operator Wiener Linien, is in charge of large areas along the traffic routes, which may be important as habitat and migration corridor for numerous plants and animals. Therefore, the question arises which diversity can be observed on those areas referring to the indicator groups plants, wild bees, butterflies and grasshoppers and how can the management of these areas be improved. To answer these questions the species composition of 20 sampling sites will be recorded and analysed. A set of measures for an optimized management of these areas will be developed along with stakeholders involved in the implementation.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations