Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics deals with the question how human activities can be shaped within the boundaries and conditions of ecological systems. For this purpose, an holistic perspectives is taken to understand the relationships between economy, society and nature and to develop sustainable solutions.

How we work: 

To implement our understanding of Ecological Economics, we work together with researchers from various scientific disciplines and practice partners (inter- and transdisciplinary). Our partners are individual and organisational stakeholders from politics, administration, science, economy, and civil society. We use a great variety of qualitative and quantitative methods by which we compile insights for the scientific debate as well as problem-solving solutions for practice. In numerous projects, we accompany local and regional processes (among others in the region of the north-western German coast, sub-Saharan Africa) within the global context. Our societally relevant research topics are: climate protection and adaptation, sustainable land use and urban development, biodiversity, social-ecological systems, governance, participation as well as social learning.

For adressing these issues, we value an open, respectful and humorous atmosphere within our team, which is strengthened with regular team activities. 


New project on urban agriculture in Tanzania and South Africa

Since 2017, the ECOSOLA project examines the current role and the future potential of small-scale urban and peri-urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam and the Western Cape region. Within this research cooperation, the work groups Ecological Economics (Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner) and Landscape Ecology (Prof. Dr. Michael Kleyer) collaborate with the Planungsgruppe Grün in Bremen, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. The funding for this project is collaboratively provided by the BMBF (€ 488,902) and by the DAAD (€ 314,683). Press release (in German)


Project on organically bred types of fruit

In the interdisciplinary project EGON, we research how regional fruit production can be secured, how innovative organic breeding concepts can be developed and how open access to newly created types can be granted. The research groups ecological economics, economy of the commons (Prof. Sievers-Glotzbach) and biodiversity and evolution of plants (Prof. Albach) will collaborate with two external partners (association "Saat:gut e.V." and Versuchs- und Beratungsring "Öko-Obstbau Norddeutschland" (ÖON)) in the project funded by the state government of Lower Saxony with 564.000€ from 2017. 


New interdisciplinary research project on salinisation 

The project SaltSa on salinisation in North-West Germany will connect scientific modeling with social science analysis and participation of local actors. DFG funds the research project with 475,000 € in the next three years.


New publications by Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner:

  • Grothmann, T., Petzold, M., Ndaki, P., Kakembo, V., Siebenhüner, B., Kleyer, M., Yanda, P., & Ndou, N. (2017): Vulnerability Assessment in African Villages under Conditions of Land Use and Climate Change: Case Studies from Mkomazi and Keiskamma. Sustainability 9, 976, doi: 10.3390/su9060976. Open access:

  • Siebenhüner, B., Rodela, R., & Ecker, F. (2016): Social learning research in ecological economics: A survey. Environmental Science & Policy, 55(1), S. 116-126. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.09.010.

New books by Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner and colleagues:

  • Antes, R./ Müller, M./ Siebenhüner, B. (Hrsg.) (2016): Umweltmanagement im Nachhaltigkeits- und Verhaltenskontext. Festschrift für Hans-Ulrich Zabel, Marburg: Metropolis.
  • Von Gleich, A./ Siebenhüner, B. (Hrsg.) (2015): Regionale Klimaanpassung im Küstenraum. Marburg: Metropolis.

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Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner has been elected new speaker of board of directors of CENTOS (Oldenburg Center For Sustainability Economics and Management).