Keynote speakers

Throughout the week five keynote speakers addressed the conference theme "Ecosystem services in a changing world: moving from theory to practice". Perspectives on this theme from science, policy and practice backgrounds were presented.

Below an overview is given of the keynote speakers. Click the presentation titles below to view the presentations in PDF.


Mapping ecosystems and their services: a challenge in a rapidly changing world

  • Evangelia Drakou - Assistant Professor at the University of Twente, The Netherlands

Rethinking marine ecosystem services within the ocean-human-land system

  • Markus Fischer - Professor, Director of the Institute of Plant Sciences and director of the Botanical Garden at the University of Bern, Switzerland

 The IPBES Regional Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia: trends, drivers and options for decision-making

Integrated Ecosystem Assessment and Rating System (IERS)

  • Jakub Wejchert - Policy Officer at the Biodiversity Unit, DG Environment, at the European Commission, Brussels

Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services: EU policy and perspectives   (presentation can't be made available online)


 Benjamin Burkhard-  is a geographer and landscape ecologist teaching and working with transdisciplinary human-environmental system analyses in various national and international R&D projects. He is Full Professor of Physical Geography and head of the Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology at Leibniz University Hannover. He is currently Coordinator of the EU H2020 project ESMERALDA and involved in many other international and national projects, research initiatives and networks. His main research focus is on landscape ecology, landscape structures, and process analyses, mapping of ecosystem service supply and demand and applications in environmental management. He is Secretary of the Ecosystem Services Partnership ESP and Deputy Secretary General of the International Association of Landscape Ecology IALE. His publication record includes numerous peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and nine edited Special Issues and one edited book on mapping ecosystem services. Burkhard is editor-in-chief of One Ecosystem – Ecology and Sustainability Data Journal. His teaching activities include classes on human-environmental system analysis, ecosystem services, agro-ecology, landscape sciences, Physical Geography and GIS at BSc, MSc and Ph.D. level. He supervised numerous BSc, MSc and Ph.D. theses.

Evangelia Drakou is an Assistant Professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She specializes in mapping and quantifying human-nature interactions with a particular interest in those occurring in the marine realm and the land-ocean interface. Valia is a biologist and obtained her Ph.D. in Landscape Ecology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2009. She worked for four years at the Joint Research Center of the European Commission with the intention to make research that has policy impact. She returned to Academia in 2014, by joining the University of Brest and Ifremer in the northwest of France. She is an active member of ESP and leads the Marine Working Group and the Greek National Network. 

Markus Fischeris Professor of Plant Ecology and Director of the Institute of Plant Sciences and the Botanical Garden, University of Bern, Switzerland. He also leads a research group at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. His research expertise comprises drivers and ecosystem-service consequences of biodiversity change, ecology and evolution of rare and invasive species, conservation biology, global mountain ecology and work at the science-society and science-policy interfaces. He combines experiments and field work with conceptual, synthesis and assessment work from local to global scales.

He is speaker of the Priority Program “Biodiversity Exploratories” of the German Science Foundation DFG, chair of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment GMBA (a global research project of Future Earth), member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, chair of the Senate Commission for Fundamental Issues of Biodiversity of the German Science Foundation DFG, serves on several editorial boards, and was awarded the Highly Cited Researcher status in 2016 and 2017. He served as co-chair and chapter coordinating lead author of the IPBES Regional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia. Currently, he serves a member of the Multidisciplinary Expert panel of IPBES.

Simone Quatrini - is member of the executive committee of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) and co-chair of ESP’s development committee. Between 2014 and 2018, he coordinated the establishment of the LDN Fund at the United Nations Global Mechanism of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). His work and main research interests revolve around resource mobilization, sustainable investment, public-private partnerships and blended finance for sustainable development.

Jakub Wejchert - is a Policy Officer at the Biodiversity Unit, DG Environment, at the European Commission, Brussels. His current responsibilities include contributing to the development of natural capital accounting at EU and international level and developing policy on ecosystem condition, services, values, and valuation. He also coordinates marine activities in the unit, with an emphasis on marine and coastal ecosystem restoration and conservation. He has worked for DG ENV for 14 years in the number of areas including on eco-innovation, sustainable consumption, and production, as well contributing to the development of EU proposals and negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals. He holds a Ph.D. and BA (Mod) in Natural Sciences, from Trinity College Dublin, and recently completed a Diploma with the University of Cambridge on ecological monitoring.


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