PRODIGY - Diversity Makes a Difference


Soil biodiversity governing tipping points in the Amazon

The crossing of tipping points in ecosystems leads to abrupt and mostly irreversible shifts between alternative system states. Changes in the soil ecosystem have effects on the associated systems, i.e. almost all ecological, but also economic and social systems. Sufficient food production can only be ensured if appropriately used soils are able to provide their full functions. If a tipping point in the soil is exceeded, people may no longer be able to feed on their land. There is thus a danger that changes in the state of economic and social systems will also occur if their resilience is low.

In order to prevent a tipping point in soils from being exceeded, it is first essential to understand soil functions and their resilience to disturbances. To promote this understanding, the PRODIGY project investigates biodiversity-related functions. Our hypothesis is that these functions are permanently guaranteed if many organisms with slightly different functional properties are present and thus prevent the corresponding functions from being endangered by crossing a tipping point. This natural safety net is called functional redundancy.

PRODIGY therefore focuses on biodiversity-driven processes for controlling soil functions. With competent management they can be implemented in ecosystem services (ESS) and are therefore suitable both for the definition of sustainable management options through functional diversity management and for the scientific elucidation of the functioning of core processes in ecosystems and regions characterised by ongoing anthropogenic transformation.

Period: 2019 - 2022
Funded by: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


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Contact for Project Inquiries:  Dr. Jan Göpel

iES Landau - Institute for Environmental Sciences, Universtiy of Koblenz-Landau

Head of Project: Prof. Dr. Hermann F Jungkunst iES Landau - Institute for Environmental Sciences, Universtiy of Koblenz-Landau
Coordination: Dr. Jan Göpel iES Landau - Institute for Environmental Sciences, Universtiy of Koblenz-Landau
Deputy Project Spokesman: Prof. Dr. Oliver Frör iES Landau - Institute for Environmental Sciences, Universtiy of Koblenz-Landau
Vice Spokesman Natural Sciences: Dr. Jens Boy Institute for Soil Sciences, University of Hannover
Vice Spokeswomen Social Sciences: Dr. Regine Schönenberg Institute for Latin American Studies, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Foster Brown
  • Dr. Helmut Eger
  • Dr. Imme Scholz
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Coy, Director Institute for Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • Prof. Dr. Tsai Siu Mui, Director Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA), University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil 
  • Prof. Dr. Whendee Silver, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Carlos Eduardo Peligrino Cerri
  • Dr. Mónica Moraes R., Director Ecological Institute, University of San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia
  • Prof. Dr. Gary Libecap, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • University of Koblenz Landau, Campus Landau (Lead)
  • Leibniz University Hannover
  • Free University Berlin
  • University of Kassel – CESR
  • University of Bonn
  • University of Hamburg
  • Herencia Consortium
    • Herencia (Bolivia)
    • Universidade Federal do Acre (UFAC, Brazil)
    • Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC, Peru)
  • Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónica (CINCIA, Peru)
  • Asociación Boliviana para la investigación y conservación de ecosistemas Andino Amazonicós (ACEAA, Bolivia)
  • Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa, Brazil)
  • Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM, Brazil)
  • Instituto de Mudanças Climáticas (IMC, Brazil)
  • Universidad Amazónica de Pando (UAP, Bolivia)