Diversity in landscapes and ecosystems is generally assessed as positive stabilizing systems and their respective functions and ecosystem services. It creates a variety of processes in different action fields that contribute to resilience in a system. Therefore, diversity plays a key role in steering sustainability. Coupled human-nature systems are characterized by the interrelationships between humans, societies, and nature systems.

To allow for topical and relevant research against this complex background, this research field focuses specifically on the interaction between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, considering (i) diversity of landscapes and their functions, and (ii) diversity of land-use and management. The latter is the key component of global change, comprising not only climate change but also the increase in human population, resource availability and use, energy demand, mobility, intensification of agriculture, loss of biodiversity, and others.

The scope of this thematic focus area includes conceptual work, for example, studying the interrelation between diversity and system stability. Questions such as “How many shocks can a system cope with before it crashes?” will be addressed within this topic area. Other conceptual work could address the identification, attributes, and thresholds for resilience in selected human-nature-systems.