Bálint Czúcz

The relevance of habitat quality for biodiversity and ecosystem service policies
by Bálint Czúcz, Ildikó Arany, Miklós Kertész, Ferenc Horváth, András Báldi, András Zlinszky and Réka Aszalós

Bálint Czúcz, PhD is a research fellow at the Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has MSc degrees in Meteorology (2001) and Horticulture (2003), and he has done his PhD studies on modelling the climatic adaptation and vulnerability of natural ecosystems in Hungary at the Corvinus University of Budapest (2011).

His main research fields include quantifying the ecological impacts of climate change, and measuring the state of ecosystems as well as their services to humanity. He is involved in several national and international projects on ecosystem service mapping and assessment, including OpenNESS (Operationalisation of natural capital and ecosystem services: from concepts to real-world applications, www.openness-project.eu) and BioVeL (Biodiversity Virtual e-Laboratory, www.biovel.eu), but also research projects on vulnerability analysis due to climate change in Hungary as well as indices for structural biodiversity and land use.

He is the representative of Hungary in the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services (MAES) expert working group of the EU. His keynote will address the various ecological concepts of habitat quality, the implementation of this in several  case studies from local to national scale, and finally the perspective of habitat quality assessment in international policy of the EU and IPBES.

Heiko Balzter

Beyond Copernicus: New remote sensing approaches to habitat quality mapping and monitoring
by Heiko Balzter, Pedro Rodriguez-Veiga, James Wheeler, Ramesh Ningthoujam, Virginia Nicolas-Perea, Geoff Smith, Stephanie Palmer, Dimitris Stratoulias and Viktor Toth

Professor Heiko Balzter was awarded the degree of Dipl. Ing. agr. (equivalent to an MSc) in 1994 from Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany, and the Dr. agr. (PhD) from the same University in 1998.

He is a research professor and director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Before joining the University he was Head of Section for Earth Observation in the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood, UK, where he worked from 1998-2006. His research interests include interactions of the water cycle with ecosystems across multiple spatial and temporal scales, pressures from climate change and land use change on ecosystem services, and the effects of spatial patterns and processes upon biological populations in evolving, three-dimensional landscapes. Prof. Balzter has extensive expertise in Earth observation and remote sensing of the land surface and forests in particular.
Prof. Balzter is recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, fellow of the Higher Education Academy, member of the American Geophysical Union, British Ecological Society, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society and Chartered Management Institute, as well as fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and the Royal Statistical Society. He is coordinator of the European Centre of Excellence in Earth Observation Research Training GIONET, leads the UK National Reference Centre for Land Cover in the GIO-land project (GMES initial operations of the land monitoring core service) responsible for the UK CORINE land cover component and the verification and enhancement of the High Resolution Layers (HRL) and actively involved in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) research in preparation of the launch of NovaSAR-S.

He won the President’s Cup for the Best Paper at the annual Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society conference 2009 and serves on the International Geosphere/Biosphere Programme (IGBP) UK National Committee, European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) of the European Science Foundation (ESF), LULUCF Scientific Steering Committee for the Department for Energy and Climate Change, AATSR Science Advisory Group to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Peer Review College.