Nature and Society


SoBio: Social Science and Biodiversity

In order to be able to prevent the decline of biodiversity and ensure the sustainable management of ecosystems, there is a need to understand the socio-economic processes and structures which can directly or indirectly impact upon these systems.

The overall aim of SoBio was to stimulate social research relevant to the management of biodiversity and ecosystems, and especially to the development of successful policies in this field, by creating an overview of existing knowledge, assessing its relevance for policymaking and policy implementation, and identifying current priority needs for additional policy-relevant knowledge. Additionally, SoBio also aimed at promoting the networking and cooperation of European social scientists who focus on ecosystem and biodiversity management, and at promoting the interaction between these social scientists and policymakers.


SoBio covered a variety of European countries, involving leading researchers from Germany, Hungary, Norway, Spain, Romania, the Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom. ECNC had the responsibility for overall project implementation, acting as the principal contractor and the coordinator of SoBio. 
  • TERRA Environmental Policy Centre, Spain
  • Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), Norway
  • University of Bucharest (UNIBUC-ECO), Romania
  • Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany
  • University of Central Lancashire, Department of Environmental Management, Preston, United Kingdom
  • Central European University, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Budapest, Hungary
  • Institute of Landscape Ecology (ILE SAS), Slovak Republic

Expert Committee
An Expert Committee oversaw the project in order to guarantee that all activities under the project met the highest standards of quality. The Expert Committee was involved in consultation processes on all major deliverables of the project. They also concentrated on the monitoring of scientific quality, methodological accuracy and validity of results. Members of the Expert Committee were:

  • Dr Chunglin Kwa, Amsterdam School for Social Research, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Mr Peter Skoberne, Ministry of Environment and Regional Planning, Slovenia
  • Dr Henk Siepel, Alterra, the Netherlands
  • Dr David Carss, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, United Kingdom


This project was a Coordination Action project funded under the EU Commission's Sixth Framework Programme, Priority, ?Global Change and Ecosystems?.

Dissemination was continuous throughout this project. The project had a dedicated website and an electronic discussion forum was created to promote interaction and discussion. A workshop was held in the second half of the project to discuss the project and its findings. The project concluded with the establishment of a research programme for social researchers specializing in society and biodiversity. A pfd version of the final project report 'Social Science and Biodiversity: Why is it important? A guide for policymakers' can be downloaded for free.