Postdocs/ Senior lecturers   >   Dr. Laura Sutcliffe
Dr. Laura Sutcliffe

Phone: +49 551 39 5712
Fax: +49 551 39 5701

Research interests

My research looks at ways to monitor and conserve biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, focussing on the factors affecting plant diversity at local and landscape scales. I work in both highly intensive cropping systems and High Nature Value Farmland in many EU countries, but with a special focus on Germany and Romania. I am particularly interested in agri-environment schemes as one way to promote biodiversity-friendly management of landscapes, as well as environmental policy more broadly and the role of nature conservation advice to farmers.

Current project

External projects

With the Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity (IFAB-Mannheim):

Curriculum vitae

2016-present: Post doc at the Dept. Plant Ecology and Ecosystem Research (Göttingen)

2015-present: Employee at the Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity (IFAB) in Mannheim, Germany.

2015-2016: Research associate at the Chair of Vegetation Science and Nature Conservation, University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK), Göttingen

2013-2015: Research associate at the Dept. Plant Ecology and Ecosystem Research (Göttingen), freelance translation and consultancy in the field of nature conservation

2010-2013: PhD on the subject of "Conservation, governance and biodiversity of semi-natural grasslands in Southern Transylvania (Romania)" within the interdisciplinary PhD course "Biodiversity and Society" (Dept. Plant Ecology and Ecosystem Research, University of Göttingen)

2009-2010: Environmental policy intern at the UK government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the independent charitable organisation the Natural Capital Initiative.

2007-2009: MSc Biodiversity and Ecology, University of Göttingen

2006-2007: Field Assistant for Landcare Research (New Zealand) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

2003-2006: BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Part II Zoology) at the University of Cambridge, UK


First author:
Sutcliffe L.M.E.
, & Leuschner C. (2022) Auswirkungen von Biodiversitätsmaßnahmen auf die Segetalflora auf intensiv bewirtschafteten landwirtschaftlichen Flächen - Ergebnisse aus dem F.R.A.N.Z.-Projekt. Naturschutz und Landschaftsplanung 54 (06): 22-29. DOI: 10.1399/NuL.2022.06.02

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Schraml A., Eiselt B., Oppermann R. (2019) The LUCAS Grassland Module Pilot – qualitative monitoring of grassland in Europe. Palearctic Grasslands 40: 27-31.

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Germany M., Becker U., Becker T. (2016) How does size and isolation affect patches of steppe-like vegetation on slumping hills in Transylvania, Romania? Biodiversity and Conservation  25: 2275. doi:10.1007/s10531-016-1108-8

Sutcliffe, L.M.E., Batáry, P., Kormann, U., Báldi, A., Dicks, L.V., Herzon, I., Kleijn, D., Tryjanowski, P., Apostolova, I., Arlettaz, R., Aunins, A., Aviron, S., Balezentiene, L., Fischer, C., Halada, L., Hartel, T., Helm, A., Hristov, I., Jelaska, S.V., Kaligarič, M., Kamp, J., Klimek, S., Koorberg, P., Kostiuková, J., Kovács-Hostyánszki, A., Kuemmerle, T., Leuschner, C., Lindborg, R., Loos, J., Maccherini, S., Marja, R., Máthé, O., Paulini, I., Proença, V., Rey-Benayas, J., Sans, FX, Seifert, C., Stalenga, J., Timaeus, J., Török, P., van Swaay, C., Viik, E. & Tscharntke, T. (2015) Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland. Diversity and Distributions 21: 722-730.

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Batáry P., Becker T., Orci K.M., Leuschner C. (2015) Both local and landscape factors determine plant and Orthoptera diversity in the semi-natural grasslands of Transylvania, Romania. Biodiversity and Conservation 24(2): 229-245.

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Akeroyd J., Page N., Popa R. (2015): Combining approaches to support High Nature Value farmland in Romania. Hacquetia 14 (1), 53-63.

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Öllerer K., Roellig M. (2014) Wood-pasture management in Southern Transylvania (Romania): from communal to where? In: European wood-pastures in transition: a social-ecological approach (eds T. Hartel & T. Plieninger). Routledge, Abingdon, UK.


Biurrun I., Pielech R, Dembicz I [...] Sutcliffe L.M.E [...] Dengler J. (accepted) Benchmarking plant diversity of Palaearctic grasslands and other open habitats. Journal of Vegetation Science.

Loos J., Gallersdörfer J.,Hartel T., Dolek, M., Sutcliffe L.M.E. (2021) Limited effectiveness of EU policies to conserve an endangered species of High Nature Value Farmland in Romania. Ecology and Society. 26 (3): 3.

Wietzke A, Albert K, Bergmeier E, Sutcliffe L.M.E., van Waveren CS, Leuschner C (2020) Flower strips, conservation field margins and fallows promote the arable flora in intensively farmed landscapes: Results of a 4-year study. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 304: 107142, doi:

Vassilev K., Ruprecht E., Alexiu, V., Becker T., Beldean M., Biță-Nicolae C.,, Csergő A., Dzhovanova, I., Filipova E., Frink J. P., Gafta D., Georgieva M., Markus S. Germany, Irina Goia, Media Gumus, Hennekens S. M., Janišová M., Knollová I., Koleva V., Kostadinova S., Kuzmanović N., Loos J., Mardari C., Michl T, Neblea, M. A., Nicoară R. I., Novák P., Öllerer K., Onete M., Palpurina S., Paulini I., Pedashenko H., Pușcaș M., Roman A., Šibík J., Sîrbu C., Stancu D., Sutcliffe L.M.E., Szabó S, Tomescu C, Totev E., Tsvetanov B, Turtureanu P. D.,  Vassileva P., Velev N. & Dengler J. (2018) The Romanian Grassland Database (RGD): historical background, current status and future perspectives. Phytocoenologia. 48 (1): 91-100.

Walentowski, H., Falk, W., Mette, T., Kunz, J., Bräuning, A., Meinardus, C., Zang, C., Sutcliffe, L., Leuschner, C. (2017) Assessing future suitability of tree species under climate change by multiple methods: a case study in southern Germany. Annals of Forest Research 60(1): 101-126. DOI:10.15287/afr.2016.789

Pe’er G., Zinngrebe Y., Hauck J., Schindler S., Dittrich A., Zingg S., Tscharntke T., Oppermann R, Sutcliffe L.M.E., Sirami C., Schmidt J., Hoyer C., Schleyer C., Lakner S. (2017) Adding some green to the greening: improving the EU’s Ecological Focus Areas for biodiversity and farmers. Conservation Letters, 10(5), 517–53. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12333

Kudernatsch T., Huber D., Sutcliffe L.M.E., Walentowski H., KirchnerM., FeggW., Franz H. (2016) Vegetationsveränderungen alpiner Kalk-Magerrasen im Nationalpark Berchtesgaden während der letzten drei Jahrzehnte [Vegetation changes of alpine calcareous grasslands in the Berchtesgaden National Park (SE-Germany) during the last three decades - in German]. Tuexenia 36:205-221.

Roellig M., Sutcliffe L.M.E., Sammul M., von Wehrden H., Newig J., Fischer J. (2016) Reviving wood-pastures for biodiversity and people: A case study from western Estonia. Ambio 45:185-195.

Turtureanu, P.D., Palpurina, S., Becker, T., Dolnik, C., Ruprecht, E., Sutcliffe, L.M.E., Szabó, A., Dengler, J. (2014) Scale- and taxon-dependent biodiversity patterns of dry grassland vegetation in Transylvania (Romania). Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 182:15-24 (DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2013.10.028).

Akeroyd J.R., Sutcliffe L.M.E., Popa R. & Page N. (2013) The LIFE project STIPA: Saving Transylvania’s important pastoral agro-ecosystems. Conference proceedings “Steppe Habitats of Europe: threats, conservation measures and protection”, pp. 341-350.

Sutcliffe L, Paulini I, Jones G, Marggraf R, Page N. (2013): Pastoral commons use in Romania and the role of the Common Agricultural Policy. International Journal of the Commons 7(1): 58-72

Batáry P, Sutcliffe L, Dormann CF, Tscharntke T (2013) Organic Farming Favours Insect-Pollinated over Non-Insect Pollinated Forbs in Meadows and Wheat Fields. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54818. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054818

Ashford OS, Foster WA, Turner BL, Sayer EJ, Sutcliffe L, Tanner EVJ (2013) Litter manipulation and the soil arthropod community in a lowland tropical rainforest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 62: 5-12

Sutcliffe L.M.E., Röllig M, Hartel T (2013) An analysis of local institutions governing common pasture use for biodiversity and society in Transylvania, Romania. In: Jan Friedrich, Aurélie Halsband und Lisa Minkmar (eds.). Societal Dimensions of the Conservation and Utilisation of Biological Diversity, Conference Proceedings. pp 297-302.

Dengler, J., Becker, T., Ruprecht, E., Szabó, A., Becker, U., Beldean, M., Bita-Nicolae, C., Dolnik, C., Goia, I., Peyrat, J., Sutcliffe, L.M.E., Turtureanu, P.D., Uğurlu, E.: (2012) Festuco-Brometea communities of the Transylvanian Plateau (Romania) – a preliminary overview on syntaxonomy, ecology, and biodiversity. Tuexenia 32: 319-359

Sutcliffe L. & Page N. (2012) STIPA: Saving Transylvania’s Important Pastoral Agro-Ecosystems. Bulletin of the EDGG. 14:11-12 (Available online:

Page N., Popa R., Huband S., Balan A., Sutcliffe L. (2012) Romania. In: Oppermann R., Beaufoy G. & Jones G., (eds.) High Nature Value farming in Europe, European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism. Verlag Regionalkultur, Ubstadt. pp. 346-357

Sutcliffe LME & Larkham KS (2011) Monitoring High Nature Value Grassland in Transylvania, Romania. In: Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture. Editor: Barbara Knowles. Publisher: Society of Biology, London, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-900490-40-8 (available online here:

Sutcliffe LME & Larkham KS (2010) High Nature Value grassland assessment in Transylvania: management, monitoring and indicator species. Aspects of Applied Biology 100:43-50.

Sayer EJ, Sutcliffe LME, Ross, RIC & Tanner EVJ (2009) Arthropod abundance and diversity in a lowland tropical forest floor: the role of habitat space vs. nutrient concentrations. Biotropica 42 (2): 194-200

Marr SM, Sutcliffe LME, Day JA, Griffiths CL & Skelton PH (2009) Conserving the fishes of the Twee River, Cederberg: revisiting the issues. African Journal of Aquatic Science 34 (1): 77-85.



External links
Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania with the ADEPT foundation.
The Mozaic association carries out interdisciplinary projects in the field of nature conservation and rural development in Romania, focussing on the region around the city of Cluj
The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) is a Europe-wide network which raises awareness of the importance of low-intensity farming for nature conservation and aims to improve the way public policies respond to the needs of these farming systems
Website of the Mountain Hay Meadows project in Transylvania, coordinated by the NGO Pogany Havas
The Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) is a network of researchers and conservationists interested in Palaearctic natural and semi-natural grasslands.
LUCAS stands for the Land Use and Coverage Area frame Survey. Eurostat has carried out this survey every 3 years since 2006 to identify changes in the European Union in the socioeconomic use of land (for instance, agriculture, forestry, recreation or residential use) and land cover (for instance crops, grass, broad-leaved forest, or built-up area). The latest published LUCAS survey dates from 2015. It provides observations at more than 270 000 points in the field for the 28 EU Member States.

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