NL Biodiversity and Society

Pollination by bee

Dutch organisations are increasingly interested in projects that are not only biodiversity-friendly, but ideally strengthen biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by it. The NL Biodiversity and Society group mission is to generate scientific knowledge and facilitate societal partners to strengthen biodiversity. We do scientific research, develop biodiversity tools, and give advice to partners. We combine science, policy and practice. Our expertise areas are: pollinators and pollination, spatiotemporal shifts in biodiversity, biodiversity monitoring and biodiversity tools. 

Expertise areas

Pollinators and Pollination

Pollinators are crucial for the natural environment and for human food production. We aim to use the results of our research directly in societal projects and include citizen science and awareness in our work, for example in the project Nederland Zoemt. Research subjects we work on include pollinator declines and shifts, the structure of plant-pollinator networks and communities, crop pollination, the main causes of pollinator shifts and developing predictions and scenarios for pollinators and pollination under climate- and land use change. We are currently working on gaining a better understanding of climate and land use impacts on plant-pollinator networks and crop pollination, the interaction between figs and fig wasps, developing pollinator monitoring schemes and technology and improving species distribution modelling tools for societal impact. 

Spatiotemporal shifts in biodiversity

We make use of state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as Species Distribution Modelling (SDM), Artificial Intelligence and statistical tools to detect patterns and causes of biodiversity change through time focussing on The Netherlands and EU. We currently work on gaining more insight in the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors that drive biodiversity change and the impacts of climate change. Model outcomes are also used in prediction of biodiversity recovery of natural areas, in planning for sustainable agriculture and for nature-inclusive cities and infrastructure.

Biodiversity monitoring

Understanding the responses of biodiversity to current and future pressures requires that species, interactions and systems can be monitored. We study the effectiveness of different monitoring methods across species groups to gain insight in system-level responses to agricultural interventions in human-dominated landscapes. This involves both standard and novel techniques such as image recognition and DNA-barcoding and is linked to the ARISE program for species identification infrastructure.

Biodiversity tools

Based on the above we develop tools to enable end-users to act positively for biodiversity and give advice to societal partners. Current examples include our urban ecology research and solutions, defining nature quality, our tools for improving green infrastructure for pollinators and plants and combining solar parks and biodiversity and our decision-tools for selection of garden plants for bees and butterflies, for example the ‘Bijenplanten app’ (Dutch).



The team achieves societal impact by liaising with societal partners and in co-created development of knowledge and tools that make a difference. 

Within the scientific domain several universities and institutes are currently partners. For policy and practice we are actively working with (semi)governments, companies and NGOs. Internationally, we are strongly connected to the pollinator and pollination community both the scientific work and the society and policy arena (e.g. CBD, FAO and Promote Pollinators).

Moreover, team members play central roles in several networks aimed at biodiversity  research and biodiversity recovery or circular economy. Special attention deserves our role in the Dutch Delta Plan for Biodiversity Recovery where Prof. Koos Biesmeijer is board member as well as chair of the Working Groups on Knowledge and Innovation as on Biodiversity Monitoring, and the EU Life IP All4Biodiversity project of which Francisca Wit is project leader.


work here

The team combines scientific research with societal relevance regarding policy and practice.The NL Biodiversity and Society group is led by prof. Koos Biesmeijer and consists of a team of researchers, PhDs, postdocs and guest researchers, policy officers and students. The team liaises with societal partners from their deep understanding of  biodiversity and natural systems.

Students do internships on a broad range of subjects diverging from ecological scientific research to testing methods of citizen science. Students acquire competences like: species recognition, general fieldwork skills, data analysis using statistics and modelling and public outreach skills.


Our programmes
& research themes

A selection of the main topics we are working on.

bulb cultivation in connection with the landscape

Bloeiende Bollenstreek

In this project, entrepreneurs, companies, local authorities and research organizations collaborate to contribute to a profitable, nature-inclusive bulb cultivation.
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Deltaplan Biodiversiteitsherstel

Deltaplan Biodiversiteitsherstel

Initiative composed of thirteen divergent parties, which aims to restore Dutch biodiversity to such an extent that the natural capital and our ecosystem services are preserved.
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Groene cirkels

Groene Cirkels

New way of working together with companies and local governments combined in one big network. Working together to achieve a circulair and sustainable economy.
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DIOPSIS camera v2

DIOPSIS Insect Camera

Better insect counting methods are desperately needed, given the recent observations that insect populations have declined dramatically in recent decades, with all the consequences that this entails in ecosystems. Since the beginning of 2019, EIS…
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Eucera longicornis


Makes information about bees and their food plants publicly available to improve and enrich wild bee research all over the world.
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logo Dutch National Pollinator Initiative

Nationale Bijenstrategie

As Naturalis Biodiversity Center we are an advising partner of the Dutch National Pollinator Initiative which brings together all of the bee supporting initiatives. For more information see:
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logo Nederland Zoemt

Nederland Zoemt

Citizen science project in which measures taken for bees and pollinators are promoted. Cooperation with different partners and different targetgroups in the Netherlands.
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Solar panels

Solar park diversity

Cooperation with Solar park Shell Moerdijk where we investigate how we can improve the park's insect-diversity by testing different seed mixtures sown under the solar panels.
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Pollinator Ecology

Naturalis aims to be a breeding ground for international scientific talent. Therefore, students have a special position in our organisation.

Bombus ruderarius