BACI: 2015-2019


BOKU- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences - Insitute of Social Ecology, Vienna (SEC)

The Institute of Social Ecology Vienna (SEC) is part of the Department of Economics and Social Sciences (WiSo) at University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), directed by Christoph Görg. It has a permanent staff of 25 researchers (3 professors) and 5 administrative personnel.

Research and teaching at the Institute of Social Ecology deals with the interrelationship of social and natural systems in the context of sustainable development. Research is structured into five main fields (i) Social Metabolism, (ii) Land Use and Colonization of Ecosystems, (iii) Long-term socio-ecological research, (iv) Support for Sustainability Transitions and (v) Integrated Socio-Ecological Modelling. It approaches contemporary environmental problems and scrutinizes systemic interrelations and historical causes in society-nature interaction. The institute’s staff comprises 22 researchers and 7 administrative staff members as well as a number of PhD students. Researchers come from interdisciplinary backgrounds such as biology, ecology, sociology, anthropology, political and technical sciences.

The methodological spectrum includes material and energy flow analysis (MEFA), geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing methods, systemic actor-oriented and organizational analyses, and the study of historical sources. SEC has been involved in Material and Energy Flow Accounting (MEFA) since the early nineties and contributed to developing international methodological standards at OECD and EUROSTAT. It has established extensive consistent databases on the long-term development of material and energy flows and land use, including land-use intensity, from the local, regional to national and global level, partly at high spatial resolution. SEC participates in international research programmes such as SCOPE and MAB, contributes to international research on global environmental change, is involved in international programmes such as the Global Land Project and Future Earth, contributes to the IPCC, is involved in policy consultancy for the Austrian Government, OECD, UNEP and various NGOs.

Flagship projects

European Research Council - ERC Starting Grant for Karl-Heinz Erb

  • LUISE: An integrated socioecological approach to land-use intensity: Analyzing and mapping biophysical stocks/flows and their socioeconomic drivers. 2010-2015. – (EU ERC Starting Grant for Karl-Heinz Erb)

Marie Curie Action - Research Fellowship Programme

  • CASTLE: Careers in Sustainability Excellence, 2012-2016. – (SP3 People; prime contractor: EFI)

Horizon 2020

  • BACI: Detecting changes in essential ecosystem and biodiversity properties – towards a Biosphere Atmosphere Change Index, 2015-2019. – (prime contractor: MPG)

7th FWP (Seventh Framework Programme) selected

  • DESIRE: DEvelopment of a System of Indicators for a Resource efficient Europe, 2012-2016. – (prime contractor: TNO)
  • ROBIN: Role of biodiversity and ecosystems for the mitigation of climate change, 2011-2015. – (prime contractor: CEH NERC)
  • VOLANTE: Visions of land use transitions in Europe, 2010-2015. – (prime contractor: ALTERRA)


BOKU is leading WP7 on socioeconomic drivers and consequences. Furthermore, BOKU is involved in research in WP5, WP6 and WP8. The Institute will contribute its expertize and databases in land system research, for instance, contribute socioeconomic, political and institutional context to the findings and insights of BACI.