Wednesday 7
The value of place-based research in an era of big data
Tobias Plieninger, Claudia Bieling, Joern Fischer
› 11:30 - 12:30 (1h)
The value of place-based research in an era of big data
Tobias Plieninger  1, *@  , Claudia Bieling  2@  , Joern Fischer  3@  
1 : University of Copenhagen
2 : University of Freiburg
3 : Leuphana University Lüneburg
* : Corresponding author

Large-scale quantitative modeling, meta-analysis and systematic review techniques have been so strongly on the rise in the social-ecological literature that some have proclaimed an era of „continental-scale ecology“, founded on „big data“. Though such upscaling is certainly needed to solve global environmental problems, there have been concerns that a corresponding neglect of place-based, empirical research may result in a loss of context, intuition and real-world relevance. This session explores the role of in-depth landscape- and regional-scale studies in an era of large-scale modeling and mathematics. Focusing on land management and ecosystem services, it brings together perspectives on the value of place-based research from various schools of thought (landscape research, spatial analysis and modeling, ecological economics, social-ecological resilience, historical ecology). Based on personal experiences of social-ecological research at various spatial scales, contributors elaborate on the following questions:

  • Which kinds of knowledge can “big data” generate, and which ones not?
  • Which kinds of knowledge can “place-based research” generate, and which ones not?
  • How can place-based knowledge complement “big data” analysis?
  • What approaches allow place-based knowledge to become more rigorous and more transferable to other contexts?

Following short input statements by the discussants, participants in the session will have a debate that will include a collection of approaches to synthesize generalizations that go beyond local-scale case study-specific insight.


List of discussants:

  • Matthias Bürgi (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research)
  • Joern Fischer (Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany)
  • Berta Martín López (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)
  • Peter Verburg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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