People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Land-use change in oil palm dominated tropical landscapes: An agent-based model to explore ecological and socio-economic trade-offs


Thursday March 7th 2019 12:00 - 13:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Kerstin Wiegand
Kerstin Wiegand


Over the last decades, the lowlands of Jambi province in Sumatra (Indonesia) have undergone a major transformation from forests towards a cash crop-dominated landscape of rubber and oil palm plantations. EFForTS is a collaborative project of more than 160 researchers that investigate the ecological and socio-economic effects of such transformation focusing on smallholder systems. The goal of the project is to understand and possibly find ways how to support biodiversity and ecosystem functioning while serving human needs. Here, I will give some general background on the project and then focus on EFForTS-ABM, an integrated ecological-economic land-use change model. EFForTS-ABM is spatially-explicit and follows a combined agent-based and grid-based approach. Household agents own agricultural fields within a forested landscape and take economically-driven farming decisions that affect diverse ecological and socio-economic functions. EFForTS-ABM is equipped with EFForTS-LGraf, a landscape generator that not only generates input maps for EFForTS-ABM, but serves also as a stand-alone tool for specific landscape-scale analyses. Model structure and parameterization are based on field data from multiple EFForTS projects. Our guiding question is what kind of landscape mosaic optimizes the ensemble of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and economic benefit. 



My interests revolve around spatial ecology, biodiversity, as well as ecological-socioeconomic land use systems. My first project was a population viability analysis of an Australian gecko species. In the last 20 years, my work has broadened to savannas, forests, grasslands, and agricultural landscapes. My methodological emphasis is on (spatially explicit, individual-based) simulation models and spatial statistics (point pattern analysis, of location of individuals). After having worked at a range of universities and research institutes across Germany, USA, and Israel, I’m professor for ecosystem modelling at the University of Goettingen (Germany) since 2009. 


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