My scientific research broadly focusses on the nexus of land use, food production, biodiversity indicators and conservation planning. Specifically, I am very much interested in

  • (a) how we can bring the best-available biodiversity data into decision making processes and under which circumstances win-win situations arise.
  • (b) the influence of temporal lags in our understanding of biodiversity change and effectiveness of conservation interventions.
  • (c) providing scientists and practitioners with robust environmental datasets and accurate biodiversity indicators.
  • (d) the creation of spatial and temporal scenarios and predictions of what-if assumptions and plausible future for humankind and wildlife on this planet.

I enjoy thinking about and implementing novel approaches to better quantify the natural and anthropic world. Here I regularly use and combine remote-sensing, ecology and machine learning techniques.

You can find a full list of my scientific contributions here and key people I often collaborate with at the bottom.


Improving biodiversity indicators

On the ground management and policy practitioners require robust information on whether interventions and changes in behaviour result in measurable differences in biodiversity. Working mainly with the PREDICTS and other global biodiversity databases I have investigated how we if and how we can establish linkages between local biodiversity change and remote sensing data, thus enabling cost-effective monitoring.

Difference in local biodiversity after a land change. Figure from Jung et. al. (2019)
Difference in local biodiversity after a land change. Figure from Jung et. al. (2019)

Keywords: biotic-lag | remotesensing | indicators | model-based integration

Selected manuscripts:

  • Jung, M., Scharlemann, J. P. W., & Rowhani, P. (2020). Landscape-wide changes in land use and land cover correlate with, but rarely explain local biodiversity change. Landscape Ecology, 35(10), 2255–2273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-020-01109-2

  • Jung, M., Rowhani, P., & Scharlemann, J. P. W. (2019). Impacts of past abrupt land change on local biodiversity globally. Nature Communications, 10(1), 5474. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13452-3

  • Jung, M., Rowhani, P., Newbold, T., Bentley, L., Purvis, A., & Scharlemann, J. P. W. (2019). Local species assemblages are influenced more by past than current dissimilarities in photosynthetic activity. Ecography, 42(4), 670–682. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04031


Integrated conservation and land-use planning

Funding for biodiversity is often limited and management for conservation or restoration has to be implemented in a way that is cost efficient and ideally beneficial to multiple assets, e.g. biodiversity as well as ecosystem services. I have used linear programming and optimization tools to derive delineations of global areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Through future projects I am looking forward to expand on this work, particular the intersection between mapping synergies and tradeoffs between stakeholder preferences, land-use constrains, and the restoration of lost ecosystem service and biodiversity value.

Global joint priorities for conserving biodiversity, carbon and water assets. Figure from Jung et. al. (2021)
Global joint priorities for conserving biodiversity, carbon and water assets. Figure from Jung et. al. (2021)

Keywords: conservation-planning | joint-optimization | spatial prioritization | integer programming

Selected manuscripts:

  • Jung, M., Arnell, A., de Lamo, X., García-Rangel, S., Lewis, M., Mark, J., …, Visconti, P. (2020). Areas of global importance for conserving terrestrial biodiversity, carbon and water. Nat Ecol Evol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01528-7

  • Fastre, C., Mogg, S., Jung, M., & Visconti, P. (2019). Targeted expansion of Protected Areas to maximise the persistence of terrestrial mammals. BioRxiv, 3124, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1101/608992v2


Mapping of land systems and ecosystems

To make adequate decisions and quantify the influence of environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem services requires the best-available data. In various research projects I have led or been involved in creating new global and national datasets for the scientific community. Usually these data are created by either intersecting and harmonizing existing datasets or by applying innovative machine learning algorithms on remote-sensing imagery and climate variables. You can find some of the datasets that I created in the Data section.

A global map of terrestrial and marine habitat types. Figure from Jung et. al. (2020)
A global map of terrestrial and marine habitat types. Figure from Jung et. al. (2020)

Keywords: Forest | habitats | ecosystems | remote-sensing | food production systems | fragmentation

Selected manuscripts:

  • Jung, M., Dahal, P. R., Butchart, S. H. M., Donald, P. F., De Lamo, X., Lesiv, M., … Visconti, P. (2020). A global map of terrestrial habitat types. Scientific Data, 7(1), 256. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-00599-8

  • Hengl, T, Jung, M., & Visconti, P. (2020). Potential distribution of land cover classes (Potential Natural Vegetation) at 250 m spatial resolution (Version v0.1) [Data set]. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3631254


Scenarios and predictions

As scientists we should highlight pathways to improve the current state instead and in most instances, political decisions and actions have to be undertaken today, if we are improve the situation in the future. In terms of scientific policy-advise this equates to the creation of (spatial-explicit) scenarios that highlight the costs and opportunities of actions that can be undertaken. Working at IIASA I have become increasingly interested and involved in the creation of biodiversity-relevant scenarios for policy advise using integrated assessment models (IAMs).

Plausible scenarios of bending the curve of biodiversity loss while maintaining sufficient food provision. Figure from Leclère et. al. (2020)
Plausible scenarios of bending the curve of biodiversity loss while maintaining sufficient food provision. Figure from Leclère et. al. (2020)

Keywords: scenarios | bending-the-curve | planetary boundaries | half-earth | integrated-assessment

Selected manuscripts:

  • Leclère, D., Obersteiner, M., Barrett, M., Butchart, S. H. M., Chaudhary, A., De Palma, A., […], Jung, M., […] Young, L. (2020). Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2705-y

  • Newbold, T., Hudson, L. N., Arnell, A. P., Contu, S., De Palma, A., Ferrier, S., […], Jung, M., […] Purvis, A. (2016). Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288–291. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf2201

Current and past collaborations

  • Piero Visconti (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria)
  • Tim Newbold (Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, UK)
  • Jörn Scharlemann (University of Sussex, UK)
  • Pedram Rowhani (University of Sussex, UK)
  • Michael Obersteiner (Oxford University, UK)
  • Neil Burgess (UNEP-WCMC, UK)
  • Samantha Hill (UNEP-WCMC, UK)
  • Andy Purvis (Natural History Museum London, UK)
  • Myroslava Lesiv (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria)
  • Steffen Fritz (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria)
  • Luca Santini (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)