ecoSERVICES was established in 2004 as a project of DIVERSITAS and became a core project of Future Earth in 2015 to advance the global sustainability agenda through the lense of ecosystem service science.

Future Earth is built on the legacy of the partner global environmental change programmes. DIVERSITAS - an international programme of biodiversity science (1991-2014) was one of them with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

DIVERSITAS undertook successful international collaboration with the aim to promote, facilitate and conduct interdisciplinary biodiversity science and to provide a sound scientific basis for decision-making. It implemented its scientific strategy through a set of projects that embraced a cycle of discovery, observation, analysis, and information sharing on overarching scientific questions related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. Four of these projects, namely agroBIODIVERSITY, bioSUSTAINABILITY, ecoSERVICES and freshwaterBIODIVERSITY, were the precursors of the current ecoSERVICES.

In the transition to Future Earth, in 2014, DIVERSITAS merged the four aforementioned projects into a new, more integrative ecoSERVICES. The goal of this merging was to combine the respective focuses of the projects (except the urban dimension of bioSUSTAINABILITY) so the emergent ecoSERVICES would carry more integrative research under the auspices of Future Earth. The scope of ecoSERVICES nowadays covers terrestrial, freshwater, marine and agricultural systems and addresses biodiversity, ecosystem functions, human well-being and governance issues.


Retrospective: DIVERSITAS' time

Each project contributed with a series of policy outreach and scientific publications that can be accessed on the obsolete website of DIVERSITAS.


Between 2004 and 2013, ecoSERVICES contributed to advance the field of ecosystem services, in particular the economics of ecosystem services and by characterising the role of biodiversity in sustaining ecosystem functioning and services. ecoSERVICES also helped integrate trait-based evolutionary and ecological research.

ecoSERVICES organised or co-organised 18 workshops and 9 symposia, and participated in many more. ecoSERVICES also contributed to capacity building with its project BESTNet (2007-2011; National Science Foundation Grant No. 0639252) on research-capacity development in developing countries and among young scientists; as well as by cooperating with the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context programme for international research training.

Read more on this period of ecoSERVICES here.


agroBIODIVERSITY was set up in 2004 to develop an innovative science agenda for biodiversity in support of sustainable agro-ecosystems. It applied a cross-site analysis of biodiversity, livelihood assets and adaptive landscape management to improve the understanding, management and conservation of agricultural biodiversity.

agroBIODIVERSITY engaged a very successful international network of circa 50 senior scientists for its research and outreach. agroBIODIVERSITY also provided capacity-building opportunities for another circa 40 early-career scientists through exchange visits, field work, meetings and a graduate course.

Read more on this period of agroBIODIVERSITY here.


bioSUSTAINABILITY focused on understanding social-ecological systems and improving their capacity to sustain human well-being across generations. bioSUSTAINABILITY investigated the management practices and the governance capacity of social-ecological systems that allow them to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In effect, bioSUSTAINABILITY focused its activities on urban systems and, most notably, coordinated the production of the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook of the Convention on Biological Diversity that was published in 2012 and released at the Convention's COP11.

The urban activities of bioSUSTAINABILITY will be integrated in a Future Earth initiative that focuses on urban sustainability.

Read more on this period of bioSUSTAINABILITY here.


freshwaterBIODIVERSITY established an international network with the objective of providing long-term effective governance and protection for freshwater biodiversity based on solid scientific guidance. freshwaterBIODIVERSITY advanced understanding of environmental flows and freshwater ecosystem functioning, and the identification and quantification of threats to freshwater biodiversity.

freshwaterBIODIVERSITY was particularly productive in terms of scientific publications and participated in or held over 20 workshops or conferences, that included organising symposia at the World Water Week (Stockholm, Sweden) and a side event at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP10.

Read more on this period of freshwaterBIODIVERSITY here.

August 2015