Research Design


The research unit is structured in eight interconnected sub-projects that are organised in an ecological, a social, a social-ecological, and an integration cluster consisting of two sub-projects each.


The ecological cluster will quantify the ecological consequences of ecosystem restoration in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function at both the site and landscape level. The social cluster aims to understand the social context, mechanisms and outcomes of ecosystem restoration for individual people and communities with a particular focus on governance, environmental justice and social cohesion. In the social-ecological cluster, we will analyse how ecosystem restoration changes people’s interactions with the natural environment by examining livelihoods, food security and nature’s contributions to people.


Finally, the integration cluster will establish a living lab where we will conduct ecological and socioeconomic experiments with local stakeholders to identify new ways to improve ecosystem restoration. Additionally, we will integrate all findings of the research unit on an ongoing basis as part of the integration cluster using social-ecological system approaches and scenario planning.

Overview of the research design with the eight different clusters


Learn more about the subprojects by clicking on the respective image.

SP1: Biodiversity Impacts
SP2: Landscape Context
SP3: Restoration Governance for Environmental Justice
SP4: Social Cohesion
SP5: Food Security and Livelihoods
SP6: Nature’s Contributions to People
SP7: Living Lab
SP8: Synthesis – Social-Ecological Restoration in Western Rwanda