Ecosystems and Bioresources

Research Area

Ecosystems and Bioresources

Photo forest

About Ecosystems and Bioresources

We address the preservation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and climate regulation, under rising societal demands for bioenergy, food, and biomaterials.

Projects and Centres

Projects and Centres

  • Project title: Whales, waste and sea walnuts: incorporating human impacts on the marine ecosystem within life cycle impact assessment (ATLANTIS)
  • Funded by: European Research Council, Horizon 2020
  • Project timeframe: 2020-2025

Two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans. The marine ecosystem, the biggest ecosystem on Earth, is vulnerable to anthropogenic stressors such as pollution, overfishing, plastics and ocean acidification. Such unsustainable use of our seas is threatening the fragile balance of marine ecosystems. For instance, across all of Europe's regional seas, only 7 % of marine species assessments indicate 'favourable conservation status'. Effects of climate change add to the cumulative impacts. The EU-funded ATLANTIS project will develop models for quantifying impacts on species diversity and ecosystem service losses from marine plastic debris and marine invasive species within the life cycle assessment framework. The findings will help ensure more sustainable decision-making.

Contact: Prof. Francesca Verones

  • Project title: Bioenergy's role in a sustainable future: An assessment of environment, technology, supply chains and uncertainty (BEST)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: March 2019 – August 2022

Most climate change mitigation scenarios are profoundly dependent on future large-scale deployment of purpose-grown bioenergy crops. At the same time, widespread of these bioenergy crops should not come at the costs of competition with food production, ecological damage, supply chain emissions, and emissions induced by land use. This project will evaluate the role of bioenergy in a sustainable future. It will combine life cycle assessment (LCA) and dynamic land use-energy scenario modelling in order to evaluate co-benefits and adverse side-effects of global bioenergy deployment across different environmental impact indicators, and perform comparative environmental assessments of a diverse set of bioenergy technology alternatives.

Contact: Dr. Anders Arvesen ; Prof. Francesco Cherubini

  • Project title: Advancing biofuel pathways with regional climate change implications (BIOPATH)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: June 2019 – May 2022

Biofuels are one of the few options for decarbonization of the transport sector, but their deployment will imply a significant transition in our society, with challenges, opportunities, and unexplored potential synergies. Little information exists on the regional climate dimension of this transition. Regional implications are particularly important as they address the relevant scale for ecosystems and society, and the scale at which most decisions are made. For example, there are opportunities for synergies between biofuel deployment and land management for climate change mitigation and adaptation. BIOPATH is an interdisciplinary project that aims to quantify the regional climate change effects of biofuel pathways and elaborate regional climate metrics to identify synergies with land management. The project will also assess the public perception of biofuels in the Norwegian society and the best policies for the implementation of the win-win strategies.

Contact: Prof. Francesco Cherubini 

  • Project title: Comparative climate impact assessment of the forest based bio-economies of Norway, Sweden and Finland
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: August 2015 - June 2019

Limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C will require major contributions from terrestrial ecosystems, including Scandinavian boreal forest. In this project, we seek to understand regional differences in historical forest management in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and the corresponding different implications for the climate system. Our aim is to discern and better understand land/climate interactions to derive more effective, cross-sectoral climate change mitigation policies based on forest management.

Contact: Professor Francesco Cherubini

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  • Funded by: Research Council of Norway
  • Project timeframe: January 2017 - December 2024

The Bio4Fuels Research Centre ("Forskningssenter for Miljøvennlig Energi", FME) aims to develop solutions for production of sustainable biofuels in Norway that are relevant for the commercial conversion of biomass feedstocks to biofuels and other products.

Contact: Professor Francesco Cherubini

  • Project title: Carbon Footprint of Cities (BYMARKA)
  • Funded by: Research Council of Norway / FRINATEK/FRIPRO
  • Project timeframe: January 2019 - December 2021

This project aims to map out the distribution of regional carbon footprints, globally, in high detail. With the results of this research it will be possible to zoom in on the geodemographic hotspots driving a region’s carbon footprint.

Contact: Researcher Daniel Moran

Soils are the largest reservoir of terrestrial carbon, and relatively small changes in soil carbon content can have an amplified mitigation effect on the Earth’s climate. There are opportunities for win-win solutions for soil carbon storage that benefit both food production and climate mitigation. In CARBO-FERTIL, we will develop the innovations in pyrolysis and nutrient-rich waste recycling leading to biochar-fertilizer products as win-win solution for carbon-storage and food production. We will further evaluate this solution in terms of: 1) economic merit in the agricultural sector, 2) climate change mitigation benefits for Norway, and 3) carbon reporting systems for Norway’s commitments to the Paris agreement. This project will be conducted in tight interactions with multiple stakeholders (industrial actors and farmers).

Contact: Prof. Francesco Cherubini 

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  • Project: BioEnergy Innovation Centre (Forskningssenter for Miljøvennlig Energi FME)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: October 2009 - February 2017

The mission of this Research Centre was to enable a sustainable and cost-efficient bioenergy industry in Norway. The Centre completed its 8 year mandate in February 2017.

Contact: Professor Francesco Cherubini

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  • Project: Contributing to sustainable energy systems in Norway: quantifying life-cycle impacts on biodiversity (CONSENSE)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeline: 2020-2023

The main objective is to assess overall biodiversity impacts of Norwegian electricity production and distribution using a holistic life-cycle perspective, for both the current electricity system and future production scenarios for hydropower and wind energy.

Contact: Professor Francesca Verones

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  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: June 2016 - September 2019

The Footprints 2.0 research project aims to build links between environmental science and economics. We are developing data and software interfaces to connect environmental earth observation data with supply chain and econometric models.

Contact: Associate Professor Francesca Verones

  • Project title: Novel high-performance polymers from lignocellulosic feedstocks (GreenPolymers)
  • Funded by: EEA Financial Mechanism Research Cooperation Grants
  • Project timeframe: 2020 - 2024

This project will investigate novel sustainable platform chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass to produce bio-derived polymers for highly functionalized applications (e.g., automotive industry, coatings, packaging, etc). A stream of wood sugars from forestry residues is used as raw material, so to promote an efficient use of resources and a circular economy perspective.


Contact: Prof. Francesco Cherubini 

  • Project title: Strategies to Mitigate Pressures on Terrestrial Ecosystems from Multiple    Stressors (MTISTRESS)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway – Natural Science Foundation of China
  • Project timeframe: June 2019 - May 2022

Terrestrial ecosystems are sensitive to multiple stressors like land use, land use changes, and climate change, but the combined effects of these stressors on landscape ecology remain largely unexplored. Further, stressors from land use changes are commonly identified as potential trade-offs for ecosystem adaptation in stringent climate change mitigation scenarios. MITISTRESS plans to map land uses and ecosystem stress levels in Norway and the Tibetan Plateau of China to quantify the cumulative effects on ecosystem services under a changing climate. The project will process satellite data, carry out fieldwork in the Tibetan Plateau of China, calibrate and run regional climate and ecosystem models to generate new robust scientific knowledge for the design of land management policies in Norway and China.

Contact: Prof. Francesco Cherubini 

  • Project title: Quantifying climate Impacts of Future Forest management strategies in Norway
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: June 2016 - May 2020

Understanding the site-specific conditions and vegetation characteristics of forests in Norway and their response to management is essential for better predicting the regional and global climate implications. Using high resolution modelling and a broad variety of dataset, this project will provide a quantifiable, holistic understanding of the climate impacts of different future forest management options in Norway.

Contact: Professor Francesco Cherubini

  • Project title: Life cycle effects from removing hazardous substances in sludge and plastic (SLUDGEFFECT)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: 2020-2024

There is a scarcity of research and innovation initiatives regarding practical ways to mitigate the harmful presences of hazardous substances of sewage sludge for a circular economy. The project will explore this in the context of addressing United Nation's Sustainability Goal (SDG) 12, in combination to synergies and trade-offs to other SDGs.

Contact: Professor Francesco Cherubini

  • Project: Developing a Life Cycle Impact Assessment framework for biodiversity impacts
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: April 2015 - January 2019

Working in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), we are developing robust methods for assessing adverse environmental impacts on biodiversity from onshore wind power production and hydropower production.

Contact: Associate Professor Francesca Verones