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Research seminar

Biodiversity Futures

Add to calendar 2024-05-10 11:00 2024-05-10 13:00 Europe/Rome Biodiversity Futures Sala del Capitolo, Badia Fiesolana and Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


10 May 2024

11:00 - 13:00 CEST


Sala del Capitolo, Badia Fiesolana and Zoom

This event organised by the Environmental Challenges and Climate Change Governance Interdisciplinary Research Cluster features a presentation by Helena Freitas (University of Coimbra) on the 'Biodiversity Futures' programme.

An estimated 5 to 10 million species inhabit Earth, yet only 2 million have been formally identified, with 30-50% at risk. Safeguarding biodiversity is crucial for ecosystem health and human well-being, demanding accelerated knowledge production and community involvement. Digital tools, notably artificial intelligence, expedite biodiversity understanding by streamlining data collection, analysis, and dissemination. The "Biodiversity Futures" program addresses this, focusing on big data, remote sensing, participatory science, and more to confront global biodiversity challenges.

Helena Freitas is Full Professor of Biodiversity and Ecology at the University of Coimbra and has been awarded the EEF Ernst Haeckel Award for her contributions to European ecological science, in 2023. At present, she serves as the Coordinator of the Centre for Functional Ecology, overseeing initiatives at the intersection of science, societal wellbeing, and environmental sustainability. Her expertise encompasses a wide array of scientific areas, including Mediterranean ecosystems, conservation biology, microbial ecology, and policy. Currently, Helena has been fostering applied ecological research, leading several EU projects in agroecology, the agrifood sector and landscape management. She holds the UNESCO Chair in Biodiversity Safeguard for Sustainable Development since 2014 and has led a large EEA Grant initiative highlighting the value of the 12 Portuguese UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Beyond academia, Helena has served in management and political roles and held key positions in environmental organizations (founder and president of the League for the Protection of Nature and the Portuguese Society of Ecology, and vice-president in the European Society of Ecology). Acknowledged for her many contributions, Helena Freitas has received numerous honours, including the Comenda of the Order of Infante D. Henrique in 2000, and the Inspiring Portugal Award for Personality of the Year in Sustainability in 2022.

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