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Plants and People in Urban Systems [PAPPUS] - How human and biophysical factors jointly shape biodiversity and human benefits in cities

Urban green space
Photo: David Frey


SNF, Switzerland


03/2023 - 02/2027


In the face of pressures such as urban densification and climate change, there is a growing consensus that cities should be transformed to restore biodiversity, regulate microclimate, and increase human quality of life. Urban green spaces (UGS) can help to achieve these multiple goals primarily due to the properties and types of vegetation grown there. Nonetheless, studies of plant communities in UGS and their effects on plant-related insects are highly fragmented and poorly integrated. There is a lack of interdisciplinary understanding of the mechanisms underlying the preferences and behaviour of different stakeholder groups regarding the composition and management of the set of private, public and semi-public UGS that make up the urban green space.

The project PAPPUS aims to understand how decisionmakers affect plant assemblages present in different UGS, and how their decisions affect the ecological and human benefits that can be realized from UGS in a changing climate. In particular the project aims to know which plant species, traits and assemblages are preferred by different stakeholder groups and why, and to determine what are the consequences of planting and management decisions for plant-associated insects (particularly pollinators and herbivores), for microclimate and, ultimately, for human well-being.

The originality of PAPPUS lies in the strong integration of social, ecological and climatological theories and methods, together with its use of a mechanistic and predictive modelling approach to assess societal preferences and management practices related to vegetation in different UGS and their effects on biodiversity, microclimate, and human benefits. Ultimately, we will gain social, ecological, and microclimatic knowledge needed to ensure that UGS continue to provide crucial co-benefits in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss, and urban densification given differing needs of plants, biodiversity, and humans.


  • University of Montpellier (Dr. Nicolas Mouquet)
  • University of Potsdam (Prof. Bertrand Fournier)
  • Uppsala University (Prof. Terry Hartig)
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (Dr. Marco Moretti, Dr. Marcel Hunziker, Prof. Anna Hersperger)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology EAWAG (Dr. Lauren cook)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne EPFL (Prof. Gabriele Manoli)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ETHZ (Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul)

Link zur Projekt-Webseite:


Urban green space
Photo: David Frey