The Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory of Barcelona (LET) was launched in 2018. LET is a project that seeks to contribute to develop new criteria, concepts, cartography, databases, models and indicators for the functional analysis of the metropolitan system from a socio-ecological perspective, in order to influence public policies and land use planning.

Keywords: Socioecological Transition; Climate Change; Metabolic Efficiency; Landscape Functioning; Biodiversity Conservation; Ecosystem Services; Ecological Economics; Land Use Change; Land Use Planning


Metropolitan areas are introducing in their planning the crucial notion that open spaces constitute a green infrastructure providing a whole series of ecosystem services, on which depend both: the well-being of people habiting its built space depend; and the chance to develop more circular and sustainable economies than current.

In recent years, there has been a growing debate on the interdependence between built and open spaces which revealed the need to know and evaluate interactions that happen, or could happen, between these subsystems. It has been agreed that this challenge requires accounting the material and energy flows moving in both directions, and study how this socio-metabolic exchange configures certain structures of land uses imprinting certain landscapes that must provide vital ecosystem services for the network of cities, affecting in turn global change.

To face this challenge, in 2018 the Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory of Barcelona (LET) is set up.

The LET is launched with three fundamental objectives:

  • Complete and update databases and cartographic information on the most relevant biophysical variables in the metropolis of Barcelona, ​​in accordance with the administrations involved, so that they can be used in the sustainable planning of the territory.
  • Monitor key dimensions (metabolic efficiency, biodiversity conservation, landscape functioning, ecosystem services, global change and social cohesion) and planning tools (green infrastructures, periurban agriculture, etc.) of the metropolitan system.
  • Promote applied research to generate knowledge about the metropolitan socio-ecological system and identify critical / strategic elements for the planning and management of the territory.

The LET is constituted by means of a program contract between the AMB and the IERMB in the corresponding chapter of the Area of Ecology and Territory. Their studies are developed through a collaboration agreement between the IERMB and the CREAF. Within the framework of LET, IERMB and CREAF can develop other collaborative research projects with specific sources of funding. The Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory of Barcelona has an Advisory Board formed by experts in different fields of knowledge.

Conceptual approach

The LET aims to provide criteria and tools for the analysis of metropolitan systems, under the aim of having an impact on public policies and territorial planning. Territory, therefore, is considered as a system.

From the field of land use planning, methodologies provided by Landscape Ecology are increasingly becoming relevant in order to identify land use patterns and their associated ecological processes, as well as their relationship with the maintenance of the biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, it often lacks the perspective of how human activity, beyond disturbing ecosystems, allows the existence of processes that are positive from a metropolitan system point of view (food supply, employment, reduced risk of wildfires, diminishing global energy footprint, etc.).

In this sense, the conceptual and methodological framework of Ecological Economics, and especially the discipline of social metabolism, allows us to embrace a complex vision of the interactions between society and nature. Accounting energy and material flows that move internally and externally to open systems, together with other recent advances from the ecology of the landscape, allow a multi-criteria assessment of the contributions that open spaces make to the metropolitan system as a whole towards designing multifunctional green infrastructures (figure 1).

Conceptual scheme
Conceptual diagram of the contribution of open spaces in the metropolitan socio-ecological system. A. Metabolic efficiency; B. Biodiversity conservation; C. Landscape functionality; D. Global change; E. Ecosystem services (support, regulation, provision, cultural); F. Social cohesion. The importance of green infrastructure to functionally structure the network of cities is highlighted.

Source: Own elaboration from Cardinale et al. 2012

Methodological proposal

Based on the conceptualization of the contribution that open spaces make to the metropolitan system, the model is characterized by a series of indicators that quantitatively evaluate these impacts. The scheme is hierarchical, where there is a main indicator – transversal in all the applications of the model -, specific indicators – for each case of study where applied -, and indicators to deepen in the relation between open and built spaces. The purpose of this model developed by the LET is being able to advise on public policies and land use planning, not only at the local or landscape level, but at the metropolitan and regional as well.

To calculate the indicators, we mainly use tools generated under the framework of Ecological Economics, Landscape Ecology, or arising from their interaction. In turn, all these proposed indicators can be territorialized, which allows its representation using GIS tools when evaluating socio-ecological processes, as well as crossing them with other variables of interest. In relation to data requirements to apply this model, for Landscape Ecology methods sufficiently detailed land cover maps are needed, while requirements for Ecological Economics tools are statistics on the flows that move social metabolism.

Methodological scheme
Multi-criteria methodological scheme to quantitatively evaluate the multifunctional contribution of open spaces in the status of the metropolitan socio-ecological system.

Dimension Main indicator Specific indicators Rural-urban indicator
Integrated socio-ecological evaluation A. Metabolic Efficiency A1. Energy efficiency A2. Energy reused Au1. Urban waste reuse for agriculture
A3. Energy redistributed
B. Biodiversity Conservation B1. Energy-Landscape Analysis B2. Biodiversity Bu1. Biodiversity in urban public spaces
C. Landscape Functionality C1. Landscape Complexity C2. Landscape heterogeneity Cu1. Urban green infrastructure connectivity
C3. Ecological connectivity
D. Global change D1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions D2. Global Agriculture Footprint Du1. Global footprint of food importation to cities
E. Ecosystem services Support E1A. Nutrient Cycling E2A. Water metabolism Eu1A. Urban water reuse for periurban agriculture
Regulation E1B. Carbon sink E2B. Carbon sequestration Eu1B. Air regulation of periurban agriculture
Provision E1C. Food production E2C. Total agriculture production Eu1C. Urban food sovereignty
Cultural E1D. Identity and Cultural Value E2D. Landscape Frequentation Eu1D. Social use of periurban agricutlure
F. Social cohesion F1. Agricultural employment F2. Farm income Fu1. Social inequality along agro-food chains

Model development

The LET is developing three interrelated methodologies, at regional, landscape and local scales, for the analysis of the metropolitan socio-ecological system. These methodologies allow a multi-scalar, multi-criterial and multi-actor diagnosis of the metropolis as well as the generation of planning scenarios that, in turn, facilitate the implementation of a decision support system based on the conception of the territory as a system itself.

Multi Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM)
It is a quantitative method to analyse complex socioecological systems and simulate scenarios. For each case study there is a first corresponding conceptualisation in order to maintain coherence between scales and dimensions (for example, economy, demography, resources, waste, etc.). It allows the sustainability analysis of a territory through the assessment of the link among energy, water, waste, food and land use. In the LET we apply this methodology to perform an analysis of the green infrastructure in relation to other sectors (such as residential, transportation, industrial, etc.) and, therefore, integrated into the metropolitan socio-ecological system.

Socioecological Integrated Analysis (SIA)
It is a quantitative method, designed at landscape scale, which aims to evaluate the contribution of open spaces in the metropolitan socio-ecological system through several interrelated dimensions (metabolic efficiency, biodiversity conservation, landscape functioning, climate change, ecosystem services, social cohesion). This methodological approach focuses on the society-nature interaction, the exchange of flows and how this interaction is kept over time from a reproductive perspective. The indicators obtained can be territorialized by means of cartographic tools (GIS) and intersected with other variables of interest, which allows a multi-criteria analysis of the metropolitan green infrastructure.

Energy-Landscape Optimization (E-LO)
It is a quantitative method designed to optimize the interaction between social metabolism and land uses (circular economy) at the local level (for example, for a municipality). It allows to develop prospective planning scenarios specific to metropolitan green infrastructure based on declared social objectives (such as the relationship between climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, food production, etc.), obtaining the best territorial metabolic configuration according to a reproductive strategy (maintenance of the assets) and, therefore, sustainable.


Throughout these two years of life, the LET has been working on the development of several lines of work framed in the socioecological conceptual paradigm raised and making use of the proposed models. The lines of work are as follows:

Information Repository
With the aim of becoming a hub in socio-ecological data of the metropolis, we developed the geographic information system “LET’s GIS” to facilitate access and exchange of territorial information relevant to the knowledge, management and planning of the territory.

Multi-criteria assessment
The scope of the proposed models is that they can be applied to different analysis contexts and objectives. This implies that the models must be applied specifically and adapted to the challenges they face in each context. Through multicriterial tools, the LET is contributing to the territorial planning of the Barcelona metropolitan area, thus facilitating deliberation processes for evidence-based policymaking.

Socioecological Indicators
Through development of the models, LET has produced a board of socio-ecological indicators for monitoring the contribution of green infrastructure to the metropolitan system as a whole, and for evaluating policies.

Ideas lab
In line with the objective of becoming a populariser knowledge space of the metropolis, the LET has initiated a follow-up of information transfer actions. This is to ensure that citizens, technicians, politicians and any agent interested in metropolitan studies with a socio-ecological perspective, can access to knowledge.

Citizen science
A specific methodology for transfer and research that is becoming relevant in recent years is that which allows the citizen to be an active agent in the generation of knowledge. This is why in 2019 the LET began a project to monitor the biodiversity of diurnal butterfly species in the network of metropolitan parks and beaches.

Model Impacts
The LET plans to achieve the following impacts on the socio-ecological evaluation of the metropolis:

  • Strengthen the criteria and methods for the treatment of the territory as a socio-ecological system.
  • Complete databases and knowledge about significant territorial variables.
  • Develop a support system for planning and management of the metropolis.
  • Collaborate in the design of policies and metropolitan governance.
  • Facilitate the transfer of ecological and territorial knowledge to citizens.nce of ecological and territorial knowledge to the citizens.

The LET team is made up of researchers and technicians from the Barcelona Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies (IERMB) and the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), postdoctoral and pre-doctoral researchers linked to LET, and associated researchers from other institutions that collaborate on specific projects.


Joan Marull  

Director of the Department of Ecology and Territory of the Barcelona Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies (Autonomous University of Barcelona). His main field of activity is territorial and urban planning from a systemic approach. Currently, his research focuses on studying social metabolism, ecological economics, landscape ecology and territorial efficiency; as well as the application of satellite technology in the analysis land-use change. Its transdisciplinary approach integrates the study of the socioecological processes that take place in the territory, to guide research, management and policies at multiple spatial and temporal scales.


Joan Pino  

Doctor in Biology and Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Technology. Since 2006 he has been a professor of Ecology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and since 1997 he has been a CREAF researcher. He has published more than 80 scientific publications, including articles in journals of high international impact, other journals and book chapters. His research focuses on landscape ecology, especially on the links between structure and dynamics of landscapes with the richness and composition of biodiversity, and the implications of these results for territorial planning. He also works on the ecology of biological invasions, particularly in the analysis of the invasive capacity of species and the risk of invasion of territories and habitats. In all these lines of research, he has applied a spatially explicit perspective that includes the generation and analysis of cartography in digital format. He coordinates several databases of biodiversity and series of historical cartography.

Postdoctoral researchers

Yolanda Melero 

Doctor in biology for the University of Barcelona, and currently postdoctoral researcher at CREAF where she studies the effect of urban environments on metapopulational dynamics. The expected rise of built-up areas will cause an increase in functional distances and a decrease of biological connectivity among populations thus reducing their survival. Her research focuses on these effects and how different amounts and configurations of green areas in the metropolitan areas could improve the persistence and viability of populations. Previously, she worked on behavioural ecology at the University of Barcelona and on population dynamics at low densities (compensation and Allee effects) at the University of Aberdeen.

Roc Padró 

Forestry Engineer (2012), MsC in Soils and Water Management (2012)thForestry Engineer (2012), MsC in Soils and Water Management (2012), Doctor in Economic History for the University of Barcelona (2018) and currently research technician in the area of Ecology and Territory at the IERMB. During last years he has been developing socio-ecological modeling of agro-ecosystems, particularly in the creation of prospective scenarios with non-linear programming within the framework of Ecological Economics. His research has been focused on the agrarian relations between society and nature and the biophysical and information metabolism of this interaction under an historical perspective. He has previously worked in the field of soil science and agronomic field studies on taxonomy, soil characterization and microfauna.

Tarik Serrano

PhD in Environmental Sciences, MsC in Ecological Economics and currently research technician in the area of Ecology and Territory at the IERMB. His research topics have focused in the development of analytical methods using the Multi-Scale Integrated Analisis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM). Specifically, Tarik worked on the analysis of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, especially applied to rural systems, and incorporating Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Tarik worked in projects studying different countries like India, Lao, Guatemala, USA, Ecuador and diverse European countries.

Pre-doctoral researchers

Asef Darvishi

Ph.D candidate of Environmental Science at Shahid Beheshti Univercity (SBU) of Iran, his main field of research is landscape and land use planning. He is interested in researches about land use and landscape ecology, ecological economics, landscape change modelling as well as interested on energy efficiency and green economy. He has been Research assistant at SBU, co-worker in a spatial planning project in Birjand province (Iran), co-worker in a land use-planning project in Qazvin province (Iran) and co-worker in a land use-planning project in Gilan province (Iran).

María José LaRota-Aguilera

Biologist and MsC in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin (USA). She is currently developing her doctoral research on Earth Ecology in the CREAF (Autonomous University of Barcelona). Her research interests focus on the study of the sustainability of socio-ecological systems on the agricultural frontier of the Cauca River Valley (Colombia), through an integrated analysis including methodologies from Landscape Ecology, Ecological Economics and Rural Sociology. During recent years, she worked with various rural social communities and processes in southwest Colombia, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the strengthening of community processes of rural development and territorial planning in multicultural contexts.

Marta Elena Montaño

Civil Engineer with master’s degree in Geography at Pedagogical and Technological University of Tunja – Colombia. Currently, she develops her doctoral studies on Ethnobiology and Biocultural Studies at the University of Cauca. Her research interests focus on the study of territorial sustainability in the indigenous territory of the Indigenous territory of Puracé (Colombia), through an integrated analysis that incorporates methodologies for the analysis of bio-cultural relations by linking concepts Andean philosophy, ethnobiology and landscape ecology. She has 20-year experience with indigenous communities and more than 8 years with rural and Afro communities, invested in generating environmental and productive processes that contribute to the construction of intercultural territories, for the survival andwell-being of communities.

Silvia Pili

Geographer and Ph.D candidate of Environmental and Landscape at Roma (Italy), her main interests concern land use changes, landscape ecology and the lost and fragmentation of open spaces due to the urban and infrastructural expansions. She works with GIS software in order to extract spatial statistics, landscape metrics and to carry out quantitative, qualitative and multitemporal analysis.

Maryam Yousefi

PhD candidate of Environmental Science, land use planning in Shahid Beheshti University (SBU). Currently, her research focuses is on the study of conceptualizing carrying capacity based on landscape ecology. She has been working as Payam Noor University Lecturer, research assistant at SBU, co-worker in a spatial planning project in Birjand province (Iran), co-worker in a land use-planning project in Qazvin province (Iran), co-worker in a land use-planning project in Gilan province (Iran) and as part-time employee in the international student office of SBU. She is now an active member of the Young Researchers Club. Her research interests are landscape ecology, land use planning, Geography Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing and Complex System – System Dynamics.

Associated researchers

Claudio Cattaneo

He holds a PhD in Environmental Science, is associate professor of Ecological Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and director of the ICTA-UAB master in Political Ecology, Degrowth and Environmental Justice. He is member of “Research and Degrowth” and of the Can Masdeu eco-community, in the hills of Barcelona. His research interests are related to social metabolism, agroecology, energy-landscape integrated analysis and analysis of the squatters movement. He his author of several papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and editor of the book “The Squatters Movement in Europe, Pluto Press”. He has a 15 year teaching experience in Ecological Economics.

Vittorio Galletto

Degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, 1996). Master in Applied Economics (UAB, 1999) and PhD in Economics (UAB, 2014). The areas in which he works are the regional and urban economy, local production systems and innovation. Before joining the IERMB, he worked at the Department of Applied Economics at the UAB as associate professor and researcher. He has also worked in the private sector in consulting companies carrying out local economic development projects for different city councils and other public institutions. Since July 2009, he has been part of the team of the Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies of Barcelona as a researcher and since 2011 he is the Head of Regional and Urban Economic Department.

Cristina Madrid

PhD in Environmental Sciences and Management. Researcher at the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, ICTA-UAB and former Marie Curie Fellow at Yale University. Her research focusses on the participatory assessment of political strategies and technological innovations as tools for the ecological transition, with emphasis on those that influence the water and the WEF nexus. Currently she is working on the integration of methods like Life Cycle Assessment and institutional analysis within the MuSIASEM framework in urban settlements and for the EU energy transition. Her analyses are developed with open source software like QGIS, OpenLCA, Python and R.

Andrea Montero

Doctor of Economic History from the University of Barcelona. Professor and researcher at the History School and the Historical Research Center of Central America, University of Costa Rica. During last years she has been linked to research projects in Agrarian and Environmental History. Her work has been focused on the study of coffee, banana and livestock agrarian systems in Costa Rica from a historical perspective.

Ola Stedge

PhD in Industrial Ecology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and currently postdoctoral ‘Maria de Maeztu’ researcher in ICTA. There he is studying the urban metabolism of the food system of the Oslo region, Norway, which forms part of ERC project URBAG. His main research interests is focused on the ecological and socioeconomic sustainability of food systems at the city, regional and country scale. Now he is doing a stay with the LET team to learn and apply the socioecological methodologies developed in the laboratory.


Francesc Coll

Degree in Geography in  the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2005) and MsC in Geographic Information Technology (2007) at the Geographical Information and Remote Sensing Laboratory (LIGIT) also at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has worked on spatial analysis, mapping, digitization and photointerpretation, maintenance of databases and cartographic databases, providing technical support to the different projects of the IERMB. He has been part of the IERMB team since 2007 and is currently responsible for the area of cartography.

Javier Gordillo

Geographer from the University of Valencia (2014) and Master’s Degree in GIS and Remote Sensing from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2015). I started my career collaborating with the VVSIG network of the MATRIX Foundation in the elaboration of a semi-automatic method to generate geomorphological maps from a Topographic Index Index. I have also participated in several projects of collaborative cartography in free environments such as OpenStreetmap. Since the end of 2015 I have been responsible for the maintenance of databases, digitization and mapping for different projects within the CREAF as a specialist in GIS and spatial databases. From 2017 my focus has been on mapping work focused on the area of ​​territorial planning: I have worked on the quantification and mapping of biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services throughout Catalonia and I have participated in the updating and refinement of the Terrestrial Connectivity Index (ICT) in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona in the framework of the Urban Planning Plan.

Jordi Llobet

Computer Engineer (2007) in the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainability (2010) also at the UPC. Between 2008 and 2010 he was holding a scholarship at the UPC’s Sustainability Center (current Sustainability Institute). During the 2010-11 academic year he was internship at the Sustainability Research Institute in the University of Leeds and collaborated as computer consultant and researcher at the company Organisational Sustainability. He is currently part of the IERMB team.

Manel Pons

Master’s Degree in Statistics (UPC, 2012), Bachelor’s Degree in Research and Market Techniques (UB, 2006), Diploma in Statistics (UB, 2002). Since 2002, he is researcher at the IERMB and since 2008 he has been an associate professor at the University of Barcelona within the Department of Applied Economics of the Department of Econometrics, Statistics and Spanish Economy. Specialist in the techniques of gathering, quality, management and analysis of data and information through multivariate techniques.

Advisory board

Carles Castell

Doctor in Biology, Master in Environmental Management in the Rural Areas and Master in Management. He was a researcher at the UAB and at the CREAF on Mediterranean ecosystems. He developed research in the Provincial Council of Barcelona in analysis, planning, management and monitoring programs in protected natural areas. He was Head of the Territorial Planning Office and is currently the Head of External Collaboration. He has published scientific and informative books, scientific articles and collaborates in postgraduate courses. He presided EUROPARC-Spain until 2017. He is currently Coordinator of the Work Program of this organization and member of the European work group on Health and Natural Spaces.

Konstantinos Kourkoutas

Currently the coordinator of the CORE on Smart and Sustainable Cities, a multidisciplinary research cluster of more than 30 research groups, centers and institutes of the UAB sphere, managed through the Research Strategic Development Unit of the Rectorate. He also deals with initiatives impulsing urban open innovation schemes, promotion of quadriple helix schemes, and citizen co-creation and engagement. As well as coordinating questions related to Living Labs and the Campus Living Lab of the UAB. He holds a PhD from the Urbanism Department of the Polytechnic University of Catalunya where he worked in multiple National and European research programs on sustainable urban and regional developement, a Masters Degree in Architecture from UPC as well, and a BS in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, USA.

Salvador Rueda

Director of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona since its foundation in 2000. Graduate in Biology and Psychology from the University of Barcelona, Diploma in Environmental Engineering from the Ministry of Industry, Energy, Universities and Research and Diploma in Energy Management from the Polytechnic University from Barcelona. He is an expert in territorial and urban planning and researcher, as well as disseminator, of the urban ecology. He has contributed in the administration and in the academy to the ecological approach of urbanism proposing tools such as superblocks. Likewise, he has developed planning works in strategic and territorial planning, urban green spaces, mobility and urban metabolism (energy, water, air pollution, noise and waste) among others.

Enric Tello 

Doctor in Geography and History, Professor of the Department of Economic History, Institutions, Policy and World Economy of the University of Barcelona (UB). He leads at the UB an interdisciplinary research team on Sustainable Farm Systems (SFS) coordinated with the UPO’s History of Agroecosystems Laboratory in Seville. From 2012 to 2018 both teams have been part of the international SFS project together with the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, and several universities in Canada, the United States, Colombia and Cuba. The SFS project has developed new models to evaluate from a circular bioeconomic perspective the degree of dependence on external inputs of agroecosystems, the profiles adopted by energy cycles and nutrients flows that farmers move across the territory, the type of biocultural landscapes that give rise, as well as its capacity to host biodiversity and provide ecosystem services of all kinds to society.

Gara Villalba

Associate professor of the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Her bachelor’s degree is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998), and her PhD from the University of Barcelona (2003), both in chemical engineering. Her research is dedicated to the study and optimization of resource metabolism from a systemic approach based on Industrial Ecology tools such as Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Analysis. Recent studies focus on analyzing and optimizing the food-energy-water nexus of urban systems. She was recently awarded an ERC Consolidator grant from Horizon 2020 of the European Commission called Integrated System Analysis of Urban Vegetation and Agriculture (2019-2024).

The LET has structural funding from the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, which allows to tackle both applied research studies commissioned by the administration but competitive research projects at the state and international levels as well. LET also collaborates in different research networks. The participation of LET researchers in various case studies at the local and worldwide level can be seen in the map.

Research projects


CLEARINGHOUSE “Collaborative Learning in Research, Information-sharing and Governance on How Urban forest-based solutions support Sino-European urban futures”. Co-funded by the European Commission (H2020) and China (2019-2022).

PHUSICOS “According to nature- solutions to reduce risks in mountain landscapes”. Funded by the European Commission, 776681 H2020-SC5-2016-2017 (2018-2022).

SPONFOREST “Unraveling the potential of SPONtaneous FORest ESTablishment for improving ecosystem functions and services in dynamic landscapes”. Funded by the European Commission, PCIN-2016-174 BIODIVERSA 3 (2017-2019).

“Sustainable farm systems: long-term socio-ecological metabolism in western agriculture”. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, SSHRC-CRSH_895-2011-1020 (2012-2018).

GroundTruth 2.0 “Environmental knowledge discovering of human sensed data”. Funded by the European Commission, 689744 H2020 SC5-17-2015 (2016-2018).

MAGIC “Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security”. Funded by the European Commission, 689669 H2020 WATER-2b-2015 (2016-2018).

“Study on job creation in a post-growth economy”. Funded by the European Commission, European Parliament Greens/EFA (2015-2016).

“Integrated Analysis of rural development policies for the Change of Productive Matrix”, Funded by the Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Ecuador (2015-2016).

“Application of MUSIASEM approach to three cases in the agrifood sector”. Funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, GCP/GLO/445/GER(GIZ) (2013).

SMILE “Synergies in Multi-scale Inter-Linkages of Eco-social systems”. Funded by the European Commission, #217213 EU-FP7 (2008-2012).

DECOIN “Development and comparison of sustainability indicators”. Funded by the European Commission, #044428 EU-FP6 (2006-2009).

COCONUT “Understanding effects of land use changes on ecosystems to halt loss of biodiversity due to habitat destruction, fragmentation and degradation”. Funded by the European Commission, 044346 EU-FP6 (2006-2008).

BIOPRESS “Linking pan-European landcover change to pressures on biodiversity”. Funded by the European Commission, EVK2-2002-00590 EU-FP5 (2003-2006).

“Environmental restoration of the final stretch of the River Besos”. Funded by the European Commission, European Regional Development Fund, ERDF-2000ES16CPE061 (1997-2000).


“Agroecological history for designin sustainable landscapes. Case studies from the Mediterranean world”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, RTI2018-093970-B-C32 (2019-2021)

uBMS “Observatorio ciudadano de la biodiversidad de mariposas en la ciudad”. Finançat per la Fundación Biodiversidad, Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica (2018).

“¿Sistemas agrarios sustentables? Una interpretación histórica de la agricultura en España desde la perspectiva biofísica”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, HAR2015-69620-C2-1-P (2016-2018).

FORASSEMBLY “Vertebrate-dispersed woody species assembly in new Iberian forests: effects of species niches, landscape structure and dispersers behaviour”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, CGL2015-70558-P (2016-2018).

“Sistemas agrarios sostenibles y transiciones en el metabolismo social: desigualdad y cambio institucional en España”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, HAR2012-38920 (2013-2015).

NOVFORESTS “Implications of climate, landscape and biological interactions in the formation of novel Iberian forests”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, CGL2012-33398 (2012-2015).

“Diagnóstico y diseño metodológico para la integración multidisciplinar de la conectividad ecológica en la planificación territorial y urbanística”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, CSO2011-23653 (2012-2013).

MONTES “Spanish woodlands and global change: threats and opportunities”CSD2008-00040. Finançat pel Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (2009-2013).

“Historia ambiental de los paisajes agrarios del mediterráneo: orígenes, fuerzas económicas motoras, agentes sociales rectores e impactos ecológicos de la transformación del territorio”. Finançat pel Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, HAR2009-13748 (2010-2012).

“Caracterización y efectos de la contaminación química sobre la vegetación del frente litoral de Barcelona”. Finançat per la Comisión Interministerial de Ciencia y Tecnología, CICYT-970112 (1997-2001).

Studies for the administration

“Criteris i mètodes per a una proposta d’ordenació urbanística dels espais oberts integrada al Pla Director Urbanístic de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2019).

“Biodiversitat a la xarxa de parcs i platges de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona. El cas de les papallones diürnes”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2019).

“Creació i desplegament del Laboratori Metropolità d’Ecologia i Territori de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2018-2019).

“Model socioecològic dels espais oberts. Factors estratègics pel planejament del territori”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2018-2019).

“Model econòmic-ecològic de les xarxes de ciutats. Aplicació a l’àmbit metropolità”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2018-2019).

“Anàlisi del paper dels solars urbans en la millora de la connectivitat de les poblacions de papallones de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Barcelona (2018).

“Estudi de la funcionalitat ecològica i la biodiversitat de l’AMB en el marc del DIE del PDU”. Finançat per Barcelona regional (2018).

“Transició socioecològica de l’agricultura metropolitana: Factors estratègics pel planejament del territori”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2017).

“New Models and Indices of Urban Network Sustainable Progress”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2017).

“Obtenció de mapes de cobertes del sòl i d’hàbitats CORINE i anàlisi dels canvis per a la conca del Besòs, dins l’Avaluació de l’estat de Qualitat dels Sistemes Fluvials de la Conca del Besòs (1997-2017)”. Finançat pel Consorci Besòs-Tordera (2017).

“Mapa de cobertes del sòl de 2015 de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2017).

“Modelització de la dinàmica de poblacions de papallones als jardins de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Barcelona (2017).

“Agricultura urbana i periurbana a l’àmbit metropolità de Barcelona: beneficis econòmics, socials i ambientals”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2016).

“El funcionament del metabolisme urbà metropolità: Indicadors d’eficiència territorial”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2016).

“Identificació dels Espais Intersticials i de Marge (EIM) de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona”. Finançat per Barcelona Regional i l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2016).

“El territori com a sistema: Implicacions per a un model de desenvolupament sostenible”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2016).

“El funcionament del metabolisme urbà metropolità: Indicadors d’eficiència territorial”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2015).

“El paper de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona en el sistema europeu de ciutats: La megaregió Barcelona-Lió”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2015).

“Realització del Mapa de Cobertes del Sòl de 1956 de Catalunya (MCS56_CAT): Estudi general i pilot a l’ENP de les Muntanyes de Prades”. Finançat pel Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat, Generalitat de Catalunya (2014-2015).

“Desenvolupament i anàlisi d’indicadors dels serveis ecosistèmics de la província de Barcelona en el marc del SITxell”. Finançat per la Diputació de Barcelona (2014).

“Serveis ecosistèmics de la infraestructura verda de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona: primera diagnosi”. Finançat per Barcelona Regional i l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2014).

“Factors estratègics de la megaregió Barcelona-Lió en el context europeu”. Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Barcelona (2014).

“Land Use Change and Landscape Functionality in the Great Montreal Area”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Montreal, Canadà (2013-2014).

“Reflexió Estratègica Metropolitana. Documents sectorials”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2013-2014).

“Sistema d’Indicadors de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (2013).

“Anàlisi dels canvis en la connectivitat ecològica de la província de Barcelona en el marc del SITxell”. Finançat per la Diputació de Barcelona (2013).

“Anàlisi de les pressions actuals sobre la biodiversitat a l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona i de llurs tendències futures”. Finançat per Barcelona Regional (2013).

“Indicadors econòmics, ambientals i socials per a l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona. Adaptació a l’Estratègia Europa 2020”. Finançat pel Pla Estratègic Metropolità de Barcelona (2013). ISBN: 978-84-9850-485-9.

“Elaboració d’un model matemàtic que permeti cartografiar els canvis històrics dels usos del sòl a Mallorca (1850-2005). Anàlisi de dinàmiques socio-ecològiques”. Finançat per la Universitat de Barcelona (2013).

“Diagnosi de l’estat de conservació de la biodiversitat a l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona”. Finançat per Barcelona Regional (2012).

“Land use changes, landscape ecology and their driving forces. A case study in Olzinelles Valley (Catalonia)”. Finançat per la Universitat de Barcelona (2012).

“Great Plains Landscape Ecology Pilot Project”. University of Saskatchewan, Canadà (2012).

“Factors territorials de competitivitat de Santa Coloma de Gramenet: de La Sagrera al Besòs”. Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Santa Coloma (2012).

“Anàlisi de la connectivitat ecològica d’Andalusia”. Finançat per la Junta de Andalucía (2011).

“Implicacions territorials del Bid Rend Model a la Província de Barcelona”. Finançat per la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2011).

“Cartografia i anàlisi del canvi en les cobertes del sòl del Parc Natural de Collserola entre 1956 i 2005”. Finançat pel Consorci del Parc Natural de Collserola (2011).

“Pla Territorial de Connectivitat Ecològica de Catalunya”. Finançat pel Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat, Generalitat de Catalunya (2010).

“Applicazione degli indicatori di paesaggio per il Piano di Indirizzo Territoriale della Toscana”. Finançat per la Regione Toscana, Italia (2009).

“Aplicació dels índexs climàtics de la vinya a Catalunya”. Finançat per la Universitat de Barcelona (2009).

“Anàlisi de l’expansió al medi natural de les plantes ornamentals més plantades als jardins de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Barcelona (2009).

“El tractament del territori com a sistema. Metabolisme social, transformació del paisatge i ordenació del territori”. Indicadors del paisatge. Reptes i perspectives. Finançat per l’Observatori del Paisatge de Catalunya (2009). ISBN: 978-84-613-1327-3.

“Sviluppo degli aspetti metodologici ed applicativi legati alla sperimentazione e diffusione di alcuni modelli per la vatutazione di idoneità ambientale e di biodiversità potenziale a supporto delle attività di pianificazione sostenible del territorio periurbano e alla deframmentazione degli habitat”. Finançat per Agencia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale, Piemonte, Italia (2008).

“La Matriu Territorial. Criteris ecològics i mètodes paramètrics per al tractament del territori com a sistema, la seva planificació i avaluació ambiental estratègiques”. Barcelona Regional (2008).

“Obtención do Índice de Conectividade Ecolóxica (ICE) de Galicia mediante metodoloxías paramétricas”. Finançat per la Consellería de Medio Ambiente e Desenvolvemento Sostible, Dirección Xeneral de Conservación de Natureza, Xunta de Galicia (2008).

“Realització del Mapa de Cobertes del Sòl de 1956 de la Província de Barcelona i anàlisi dels canvis recents”. Finançat per la Diputació de Barcelona (2007).

“Propostes per a garantir la connectivitat ecològica en l’àmbit de Montcada i Reixac. Modelització de la connectivitat ecològica”. Consorci Parc Natural de Collserola, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona Regional (2005).

“Aproximació paramètrica al mosaic territorial de la regió metropolitana de Barcelona. Aplicació en el planejament territorial i l’avaluació ambiental estratègica”. Finançat per la Comissió d’Ordenació Territorial Metropolitana i la Ponència Tècnica del Pla Territorial Metropolità, Generalitat de Catalunya (2005).

“Indicadors per a la valoració del Patrimoni Natural de Catalunya”. Barcelona Regional (2002-2005).

“Anàlisi de la fragmentació dels boscos i les infraestructures a la Plana del Vallès”. Finançat per la Fundació Abertis (2005).

“L’Índex de Vulnerabilitat de la matriu Territorial: Desenvolupament conceptual i cartogràfic per a Catalunya”. Departament de Política Territorial i Obres Publiques i Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge de la Generalitat de Catalunya (2004).

“Metodologies paramètriques per a l’avaluació ambiental estratègica del planejament territorial”. Departament de Política Territorial i Obres Publiques i Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge de la Generalitat de Catalunya (2004).

“El territorio como sistema. Conceptos y herramientas de ordenación”. Finançat per la Diputació de Barcelona (2003). ISBN: 84-774-962-X.

“Proposta de traçat de la línia d’alta velocitat al Vallès Oriental (Montmeló-Montornès-La Roca). Finançat pel Consorci Comarcal del Vallès Oriental (2002).

“Mapa d’usos del sòl de l’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona 1:25.000. 1997-2000”. Finançat per Barcelona Regional i l’Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (2001).

“Pla de Millora Energètica de Barcelona”. Finançat per l’Agencia d’Energia de Barcelona (2003).

“Estudi de diagnosi i desenvolupament de l’Espai Agroforestal de Llevant (EAL, Barcelona)”. Finançat pel Consorci de Municipis de l’EAL (2000).

“Atles ambiental de la regió de l’àrea metropolitana de Barcelona. Balanç de recursos i problemes” (2000). Finançat per l’Ajuntament de Barcelona. Ariel Ciencia ISBN: 84-344-8025-5.

Research networks

International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) formed by research centers of twenty-six countries around the world: Historical Landscape Ecology

Ibero-American Network for Agroecological Development (DRUSAF) formed by research centers of four countries (Universidad Javeriana, Colombia; Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Ecuador; Universidad Pablo de Olavide, España; Universidad de Barcelona, España; LET): Red por el Desarrollo Rural Sostenible y la Agricultura Familiar (DRUSAF)

Research Group Consolidated by the Generalitat of Catalonia (Universitat de Barcelona; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; LET): Economy, Energy and Ecological Impacts (EEEI)

Research Group Consolidated by the Generalitat of Catalonia (CREAF; CSIC; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; LET): Biodiversity and Evolution in Mediterranean Ecosystems (BEEMed)

Strategic Research Network of the Autonomous University of Barcelona: UAB Labs

Map of the institutional relations that the LET has with other organizations and the collaborations that have been established over the last years. The dimension of the circle is proportional to the number of institutions in each State as well as the number of the same.

The LET produces technical reports comissioned by the administration (in this section the Strategic Plan 2019-2022 of the LET is also included) and publishes scientific articles as a result of its research. The map shows case studies from around the world in which the LET has participated, as well as its associated publications.

Scientific articles

Melero Y.; Stefanescu C.; Palmer S.C.F.; et al. 2020; “The role of the urban landscape on species with contrasting dispersal ability: Insights from greening plans for Barcelona”. Landscape and Urban Planning.

Marco I.; Padró R.; Tello E.; 2020. “Dialogues on nature, class and gender: Revisiting socio-ecological reproduction in past organic advanced agriculture (Sentmenat, Catalonia, 1850)”. Ecological Economics.

Serrano-Tovar T.; Suárez B.; Musicki A.; et al. 2019. “Structuring an integrated water-energy-food nexus assessment of a local wind energy desalination system for irrigation”. Science of The Total Environment

Marull J.; Cattaneo C.; Gingrich S.; et al. 2019. “Comparative Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis (ELIA) of past and present agroecosystems in North America and Europe from the 1830s to the 2010s”. Agricultural Systems

Rojas C.; Munizaga J.; Rojas O.; et al. 2019. “Urban development versus wetland loss in a coastal Latin American city: Lessons for sustainable land use Planning”. Land Use Policy

Waylen K.A.; Blackstock K.L.; van Hulst F.J.; et al. 2019. “Policy-driven monitoring and evaluation: Does it support adaptive management of socio-ecological systems?”. Science of the Total Environment

Marull, J.; Herrando, S.; Brotons, Ll.; et al. 2019. “Building on Margalef: Testing the links between landscape structure, energy and information flows driven by farming and biodiversity”. Science of the Total Environment

Marull, J.; Farré, M.; Boix, R.; et al. 2019. “Modelling urban networks sustainable progress”. Land Use Policy

Padró, R.; Marco, I.; Font, C.; et al. 2019. “Beyond Chayanov: A Sustainable Agroecological Farm Reproductive Analysis of Peasant Domestic Units and Rural Communities (Sentmenat; Catalonia, 1860)”. Ecological Economics

Talema, A., Poesen, J., Muys, B.; et al. 2019. “Survival and growth analysis of multipurpose trees, shrubs and grasses to rehabilitate badlands in the sub-humid tropics”. Land Degradation and Development

Guardiola M.; Stefanescu C.; Pino J.; 2018. “Do asynchronies in extinction debt affect the structure of trophic networks? A case study of antagonistic butterfly larvae–plant networks”. Oikos

Bagaria, G.; Rodà, F.; Clotet, M.; et al. 2018. “Contrasting habitat and landscape effects on the fitness of a long-lived grassland plant under forest encroachment: Do they provide evidence for extinction debt?”. Journal of Ecology

Cattaneo, C.; Marull, J.; Tello, E. 2018. “Landscape Agroecology. The Dysfunctionalities of Industrial Agriculture and the Loss of the Circular Bioeconomy in the Barcelona Region, 1956–2009”. Sustainability

Marull, J.; Tello, E.; Bagaria, G.; et al. 2018. “Exploring the links between social metabolism and biodiversity distribution across landscape gradients: a regional-scale contribution to the land-sharing versus land-sparing debate”. Science of the Total Environment

Marull, J.; Cunfer, G.; Sylvester, K.; et al. 2018. “A landscape ecology assessment of land-use change on the Great Plains-Denver (CO, USA) metropolitan edge”. Regional Environmental Change

Rojas, C.; Munizaga, J.; Rojas, O.; et al. 2018. “Urban development versus wetland loss in a coastal Latin American city: Lessons for sustainable land use Planning”. Land Use Policy

Schwarza, N.; Moretti, M.; Bugalho, M.N.; et al. 2017. “Understanding biodiversity-ecosystem service relationships in urban areas: A comprehensive literature review”. Ecosistem Services.

Marull, J.; Font, C. 2017. “The Energy–Landscape Integrated Analysis (ELIA) of Agroecosystems”. In: Fraňková E.; Haas W.; Singh S. (eds) “Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems”. Human-Environment InteractionsSpringer

Marull, J.; Delgadillo, O.; Cattaneo, C.; et al. 2017. “Socioecological transition in the Cauca river valley, Colombia (1943–2010): towards an energy–landscape integrated analysis”. Regional Environmental Change

Marco, I., Padró, R., Cattaneo c., et al. 2017. “From Vineyards to Feedlots : A Fund-Flow Scanning of Sociometabolic Transitions in the Vallès County (Catalonia) 1860-1956-1999.” Regional Environmental ChangeRegional Environmental Change

Padró, R.; Marco, R.; Cattaneo, C.; et al. 2017. “Does Your Landscape Mirror What You Eat? Long-Term Socio-Metabolic Analysis of a Local Food System in the Vallès County (Spain, 1860-1956-2000).” In: Fraňková E.; Haas W.; Singh S. (eds) “Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems”. Human-Environment InteractionsSpringer

Fan, P.; Ouyang, Z.; Basnou, C.; et al. 2017. “Nature-based solutions for urban landscapes under post-industrialization and globalization: Barcelona versus Shanghai”. Environmental Research

Doblas-Miranda, E.; Alonso, R.; Arnan, X.; et al. 2017. “A review of the combination among global change factors in forests, shrublands and pastures of the Mediterranean Region: Beyond drought effects”. Global and Planetary Change

Bela, G.; Peltola, T.; Young, J.C.; et al. 2016. “Learning and the transformative potential of citizen science.” Conservation Biology

Melero, Y.; Stefanescu, C.; Pino, J. 2016. “General declines in Mediterranean butterflies over the last two decades are modulated by species traits”. Biological conservation

Cervera, T.; Pino, J.; Marull, J.; et al. 2016. Understanding the long-term dynamics of forest transition: From deforestation to afforestation in a Mediterranean landscape (Catalonia, 1868–2005)”. Land Use Policy

Marull, J.; Font, C.; Padró, R.; et al. 2016. “Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis: A proposal for measuring complexity in internal agroecosystem processes (Barcelona Metropolitan Region, 1860-2000)”. Ecological Indicators

Dupras, J.; Marull, J.; Parcerisas, L.; et al. 2016. “The impacts of urban sprawl on ecological connectivity in the Montreal Metropolitan Region”. Environmental Science and Policy

Marull, J.; Font, C.; Tello, E.; et al. 2016. “Towards an Energy–Landscape Integrated Analysis? Exploring the links between socio-metabolic disturbance and landscape ecology performance (Mallorca Island, Spain, 1956-2011)”. Landscape Ecology

Tello, E.; Galán, E.; Sacristán, V.; et al. 2016. “Opening the Black Box of Energy Throughputs in Agroecosystems: A Decomposition Analysis of Final EROI into Its Internal and External Returns (the Vallès County, Catalonia C. 1860 and 1999).” Ecological Economics

Basnou, C.; Vicente, P.; Espelta, J.M., et al. 2016. “Of niche differentiation, dispersal ability and historical legacies: What drives woody community assembly in recent Mediterranean forests?” Oikos

Clotet, M.; Basnou, C.; Bagaria, G.; et al. 2016. Contrasting historical and current land-use correlation with diverse components of current alien plant invasions in Mediterranean habitats. Biological Invasions

Marull, J.; Tello, E.; Fullana, N.; et al. 2015. “Long-term bio-cultural heritage: exploring the intermediate disturbance hypothesis in agro-ecological landscapes (Mallorca, c. 1850–2012)”. Biodiversity and Conservation

Gurrutxaga, M.; Marull, J.; Domene, E.; et al. 2015. “Assessing the Integration of Landscape Connectivity into Comprehensive Spatial Planning in Spain”. Landscape Research

Marull, J., Otero, I., Stefanescu, C. et al. 2015. “Exploring the links between forest transition and landscape changes in the Mediterranean. Does forest recovery really lead to better landscape quality?”. Agroforestry Systems

Otero, I; Marull, J.; Tello, E.; et al. 2015. “Land abandonment, landscape, and biodiversity: questioning the restorative character of the forest transition in the Mediterranean”. Ecology and Society

Marull, J.; Font, C.; Boix, R. 2015. “Modelling urban networks at mega-regional scale: Are increasingly complex urban systems sustainable?”. Land Use Policy

Smaniotto, C.; Norton, C.; Domene, E.; Hoyer, J.; Marull, J.; Salminen, O. 2015. “Water as an Element of Urban Design: Drawing Lessons from Four European Case Studies”. In: Leal Filho, W.; Sümer, V. (eds) “Sustainable Water Use and Management. Green Energy and TechnologySpringer

Molowny-Horas, R.; Basnou, C.; Pino J. 2015. “A multivariate fractional regression approach to modeling land use and cover dynamics in a Mediterranean landscape”. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems

Girado-Beltran, P.; Andreu, J.; Pino, J. 2015. “Exploring changes in the invasion pattern of alien flora in Catalonia (NE of Spain) from large datasets”. Biological Invasions.

Basnou, C.; Iguzquiza, J.; Pino, J. 2015. “Examining the role of landscape structure and dynamics in alien plant invasion from urban Mediterranean coastal hàbitats”. Landscape and Urban Planning

Basnou, C.; Pino, J.; Terradas, J. 2015. “Ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure in the urban environament”. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources

Ravera F.; Scheidel A.; Dell’Angelo J.; Gamboa G.; Serrano-Tovar T.; et al. 2014. “Pathways of rural change: An integrated assessment of metabolic patterns in emerging ruralities”. Environment, Development and Sustainability.

Serrano-Tovar T.; Giampietro M. 2014. “Multi-scale integrated analysis of rural Laos: Studying metabolic patterns of land uses across different levels and scales”. Land Use Policy.

Marull, J.; Tello, E.; Wilcox, P.T.; et al. 2014. “Recovering the landscape history behind a Mediterranean edge environment (The Congost Valley, Catalonia, 1854–2005): The importance of agroforestry systems in biological conservation”. Applied Geography

Reyes-García V.; Salpeteur M.; Calvet-Mir L.; et al. 2013. “Coupling technology with traditional knowledge and local institutions to deal with change in rural households: A focus on the semi-arid tropics”. Science et changements planétaires/Sécheresse.

Marull, J.; Galletto, V.; Domene, E.; et al. 2013. “Emerging megaregions: A new spatial scale to explore urban sustainability”. Land Use Policy

Rojas, C.; Pino,J.; Basnou, C.; et al. 2013. “Assessing land-use and -cover changes in relation to geographic factors and urban planning in the metropolitan area of Concepción (Chile)”. Implications for biodiversity conservation. Applied Geography

González-Moreno, P.; Pino J.; Gassó, N., et al. 2013. “Landscape context modulates alien plant invasion in Mediterranean forest edges”. Biological Invasions

González-Moreno, P.; Pino, J.; Carreras, D.; et al, 2013. “Quantifying the landscape influence on plant invasions in Mediterranean coastal habitats”. Landscape Ecology

Rojas, C.; Pino J.; Jaque, E. 2013. “Strategic Environmental Assessment in Latin America: A methodological proposal for urban planning in the Metropolitan Area of Concepción (Chile)”.   Land Use Policy

Basnou, C.; Álvarez, E.; Bagaria, G.; et al. 2013. “Spatial patterns of land use changes across a Mediterranean metropolitan landscape: Implications for biodiversity management”. Environmental  Management

Batriu E.; Ninot J.M.; Rovira P.; et al. 2013. “Plant communities partially reflect environmental gradients in humanized landscapes: A case study in the Llobregat delta marshes”. Phytocoenologia.

Pino, J.; Marull, J. 2012. “Ecological networks: Are they enough for connectivity conservation? A case study in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region (NE Spain)”. Land Use Policy

Parcerisas, Ll.; Marull, J.; Pino, J.; et al. 2012. “Land use changes, landscape ecology and their socioeconomic driving forces in the Spanish Mediterranean coast (El Maresme County, 1850–2005)”. Environmental Science and Policy

Gassó, N.; Pino, J.; Font, X.; et al. 2012. “Regional context affects native and alien plant species richness across habitat types”. Applied Vegetation Science

Reyes-Garcia V.; Aubriot O.; Ariza-Montobbio P.; et al. 2011. “Local Perception of the Multifunctionality of Water Tanks in Two Villages of Tamil Nadu, South India”. Society and Natural Resources.

Marull, J.; Pino, J.; Tello, E.; et al. J. 2010. “Social Metabolism, Landscape Change and Land Use Planning. A case study in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region”. Land Use Policy

Krauss, J.; Bommarco, R.; Guardiola, M.; et al. 2010. “Habitat fragmentation causes immediate and time-delayed biodiversity loss at different trophic levels”. Ecology Letters

Gérard, F.; Pétit, Smith, G.; et al. 2010. “Land cover change in Europe between 1950 and 2000 determined employing aerial photography”. Progress in Physical Geography

Pino, J.; Font, X.; De Cáceres M.; et al. 2009. “Floristic homogenization by native ruderal and alien plants in NE of Spain: the effect of environmental differences on a regional scale”. Global Ecology and Biogeography

Pino, J.; Vilà, M.; Álvarez, N.; et al. 2009. “Niche breadth rather than reproductive traits explains the response of wetland monocotyledons to land cover change”.  Applied Vegetation Science.

Guirado, M.; Pino, J.; Rodà, F. 2008. “Quercus and Pinus cover are determined by landscape structure and dynamics in peri-urban Mediterranean forest patches”. Plant Ecology

Santos, K.C.; Pino J.; Rodà, F.; et al. 2008. “Beyond the reserves: the role of non-protected rural areas for avifauna conservation in the metropolitan area of Barcelona (NE of Spain)” Landscape & Urban Planning

Marull, J.; Pino, J.; Tello, E. 2008. “The Loss of Territorial Efficiency: An Ecological Analysis of Land-Use Changes in Western Mediterranean Agriculture (Vallès County, Catalonia, 1853-2004)”. Global Environment

Marull, J.; Pino, J.; Mallarach. J.M. 2007. “A land suitability index for strategic environmental assessment in metropolitan areas”. Landscape and Urban Planning

Guirado, J.; Pino, F.; Rodà. 2007. “Comparing the role of site disturbance and landscape properties on understory species richness in fragmented periurban Mediterranean forests”. Landscape Ecology

Mallarach. J.M.; Marull, J. 2006. “Impact assessment of ecological connectivity at the regional level: recent developments in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area”. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal

Guirado, M., Pino, J., Rodà, F. 2006. “Understory plant species richness and composition in metropolitan forest archipelagos: Effects of patch size, adjacent land use and distance to the edge”. Global Ecology and Biogeography

Pino, J.; Segui, J.M.; Alvarez, N. 2006. “Invasibility of four plant communities in the Llobregat delta (Catalonia, NE of Spain) in relation to their historical stability”. Hydrobiologia

Marull, J.; Mallarach. J.M. 2005. “A GIS methodology for assessing ecological connectivity: application to the Barcelona Metropolitan Area”. Landscape and Urban Planning

Pino, J.; Font, X.; Carbó, J.; et al. 2005. “Large-scale correlates of alien plant invasion in Catalonia (NE of Spain)”. Biological Conservation

Pino, J.; Rodà, F.; Ribas, et al. 2000. “Landscape structure and bird species richness: implications for conservation in rural areas between natural Parks”. Landscape and Urban Planning

Map of the case studies in which the LET has participated (green) or is participating (grey). By clicking on the symbols you can access the corresponding articles.

According to the conceptual and methodological scheme of LET, we present below the description and methodology for the indicators proposed representing each dimension of the socio-ecological model of open spaces. Select the indicator for a detailed description. The indicators that have no link but are underlined are in process of elaboration, while those in red are already available.

You can also monitor the first results for the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona of applying the socioecological model of open spaces developed by the LET, as well as the assessment of scenarios for the Urban Master Plan of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona. The indicators currently available are in green, in orange indicators whose only have an approximation, and in red indicators for which data is not yet available.

A. Metabolic efficiency

The main indicator used is energy efficiencyThe metabolic efficiency dimension is represented by the main indicator A1 that measures the energy efficiency of metropolitan agriculture. This indicator, which is the External Final Energy Return On Investment (EFEROI), determines the amount of energy obtained in agricultural spaces according to the amount of external energy invested. Thus, higher values indicate crops that have a higher return per unit of investment., in terms of quantity of product obtained per each external energy input unit (EFEROI; indicator A1). These data result from the metabolic balance. In this dimension we also consider the study of the patterns of metabolic flows at a territorial level, from the point of view of the energy interactions between the different subsystems, provisioning the funds assets (biodiversity, soil fertility, livestock). Thus, we propose to use as secondary indicators the energy reused (E; A2) and the energy redistributed (I; A3), which are calculated considering the circularity of energy flows. As an indicator of the interaction between rural and urban systems, the percentage indicator of urban waste reuse for agriculture (Au1) is proposed.



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
A1. Energy efficiency
Methodology Diagnosis Scenarios Table Graphic Map
A2. Energy reused
A3. Energy redistributed
Au1. Urban waste reuse for agriculture

B. Biodiversity conservation

Based on recent studies that relate data on landscape ecology, social metabolism and observed biodiversity, ELIA indicator is a good predictor of species richness in the metropolitan area. This main energy-landscape integrationThe dimension conservation of biodiversity is represented by the main indicator B1 that corresponds to the value of the Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis. This evaluates the socio-ecological conditions for the establishment of associated biodiversity based on landscape patterns and processes (landscape complexity) and flows of agrarian metabolism (energy reinvested and redistributed). High values indicate therefore suitable conditions for associated biodiversity. indicator (B1) combines data from the energy balance (E, I) with landscape patterns and processes (Le, explained in section C). If information about certain bio-indicator species or taxa is available, it can also be used as biodiversity indicator (B2). As an indicator of the rural-urban interaction, biodiversity in urban public spaces, such as parks and beaches (Bu1) is considered.



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
B1. Energy-landscape integration
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
B2. Biodiversity
Bu1. Biodiversity in urban public spaces

C. Landscape functioning

Regarding landscape patterns and processes, we propose landscape complexityThe dimension of landscape functioning is represented by the main indicator C1, which is the landscape complexity. This, evaluates the functional structure of the landscape (patterns and processes) based on the conjunction between ecological connectivity and the heterogeneity of covers. High values of this indicator imply greater complexity of landscape. (Le; C1) as the main indicator that explains the interaction between the two secondary indicators that also aim to analyze: land use heterogeneity (H; C2), and the ecological connectivityThe dimension of landscape functioning includes a secondary indicator C3 that is eco-landscape connectivity and is measured by the Ecological Connectivity Index. It is a basic functional attribute of the territorial matrix. It evaluates the potential relationships between functional ecological areas, considering both the affinity between land covers and the effect of anthropogenic barriers (urban areas and transport infrastructures). Thus, high values of C3 correspond to a high ecological connectivity. index (ICE; C3). The latter, while evaluating how landscape patterns affect connectivity processes, requires a series of measures to affect anthropogenic barriers. Both indicators are determined from land cover maps. Regarding the interaction between urban and rural spaces the measure of connectivity of urban public spaces, can assess their ability to accommodate biodiversity (Cu1).



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
C1. Landscape complexity
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
C2. Land-use heterogeneity
C3. Ecological connectivity
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
Cu1. Connectivity of urban public spaces

D. Global change

In terms of climate change, the calculation of greenhouse gas emissionsThe global change dimension is represented by the main indicator D1 that are greenhouse gas emissions. In this case, a first approximation is made calculating the amount of total non-renewable external inputs to maintain forestry, livestock and agriculture based on its energy value, which comes from the metabolic balance calculated by the AMB. A higher value of this indicator would then be associated to more intensive processes and dependent on imports and therefore to a likely higher intensity of total emissions. (GHG, D1) is proposed as the main indicator. To get this indicator the metabolic balance is fundamental because it allows to define the emissions derived from the imports of external inputs and take into account not only the processes in agrarian spaces but their impacts on external territories as well. As secondary indicator, it is proposed the global ecological footprint (D2), in terms of land cost of agrarian sustainability. In interaction with urban metabolism, this indicator has the potential of identifying changes in global metabolism based on the global footprint of food imports to cities (Du1).



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
D1. Greenhouse effect emissions
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
D2. Global ecological footprint
DU1. Global footprint of food imports to cities

E. Ecosystem services

For this dimension we consider a greater number of sub-dimensions and indicators due the large amount and relevance of ecosystem services in the provision of goods and services that are useful for society and its regulation. We distinguish four main types of ecosystem services: support, regulation, provisioning and cultural.

In relation to supporting services, we propose an indicator that evaluates the recirculation of nutrientsThe dimension of supporting services is characterized by the main indicator recirculation of nutrients. Thus, it evaluates the amount of phosphorus recirculated within the agricultural system by analyzing it in interaction with other uses and livestock. Therefore, high values refer to high ability of the metropolitan system to face the closure of nutrient cycles. (E1A), which calculates the amount of nutrient flows that have internal origin in relation to total nutrient flows, which facilitates characterizing the integration among the different elements that take part of the agro-ecosystem. These ecosystem services can be complemented by water efficiency (E2A), given the relevance of water metabolism in Mediterranean environments. Regarding urban-rural relations we propose to calculate the urban water reuse for open spaces (Eu1A).

As regards regulatory ecosystem services, we introduce the carbon sinkThe dimension of the regulatory ecosystem services is represented by the carbon sink and identifies the total amount of organic carbon stored in the open spaces. Thus, it only takes value for those agrarian surfaces where there is a minimally developed soil (in edaphic terms), considering both belowground and avobeground carbon. In this case, fine-grained data allows a much more localized identification of values thanks to the available geospatial information. (E1B) as the main indicator that expresses the ability of the region for climate change mitigation. Based on the metabolic balances, and by means of information from both the IPCC and complementary local databases, we can calculate the carbon sink variation, in terms of the amount of CO2 emitted or captured per unit of surface, using a secondary indicator of carbon sequestration (E2B). In terms of relation with urban systems we propose to calculate the contribution of urban parks in air quality (Eu1B).

As provisioning ecosystem services, based on the metabolic balance, we propose an estimate of agricultural productionThe dimension of provisioning ecosystem services is represented by the main indicator E1C which is agricultural production. This value is calculated given its predominance with respect to the rest of the productions (firewood, livestock) and its territorial effect. High values will show those productive areas in agricultural terms supplying the metropolis. (E1C), as well as total agriculture production (E2C), calculated in terms of dry matter per unit area. The existence of this secondary indicator allows to consider the contribution of non-food products that are also relevant in terms of provisioning. We propose a rural-urban indicator of proximity, as a measure of food sovereignty in the metropolis (Eu1C).

Finally, in relation to cultural ecosystem services, we use the main indicator of bio-cultural value of the landscape (E1D), and the secondary indicator of potential use of open spaces (E2D). As a rural-urban indicator we use the urban frequentation of open spaces (Eu1D).



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
E1A. Recirculation of nutrients
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
E2A. Efficiency in the use of water
Eu1A. Reuse of purified water in open spaces
E1B. Carbon sink
Methodology Diagnosis  Scenarios Table Graphic Map
E2B. Carbon sequestration
Eu1B. Contribution of urban parks to the quality of the air
E1C. Food production
Methodology Diagnosis Scenarios Table Graphic Map
E2C. Total agricultural production
Eu1C. Food sovereignty in the metropolis
E1D. Bio-cultural value of the landscape
E2D. Potential use of open spaces
Eu1D. Urban frequentation of open spaces

F. Social cohesion

The last dimension considered as a contribution of open spaces in the metropolitan system refers to social aspects. The aim is to incorporate the perspective of how these spaces contribute not only to the socioecological but also the socioeconomic performance. The main indicator we consider is the agricultural employmentThe dimension of social cohesion is represented by the main indicator agricultural employment. It characterizes the potential of complete Agrarian Work Units (AWU) that would be required in the open spaces of the metropolitan area, which can be approximated to a measure of the potential jobs in these areas. Thus, more intensive crops and agricultural activities are identified with higher values (F1). The calculation can be made based on the needs of workers for crop and livestock unit. On the other hand, beyond the generation of work, it is important that these open spaces improve welfare of agrarian population, so we propose as secondary indicator the income per unit of agricultural exploitation (F2). Finally, the indicator of social inequality along the food chain (Fu1) is considered.



Sistema d’Indicadors Metropolitans de Barcelona
F1. Agricultural employment
Methodology Diagnosis Scenarios Table Graphic Map
F2. Income per farm unit
Fu1. Social inequality in the food chain
Socioecological Integrated Analysis
Map with the main indicators of the Socioecological Integrated Analysis for the metropolis of Barcelona

The Geographic Information System of the LET aims to become a system to support the planning and management of the territory, as one of the key elements of the socio-ecological evaluation of the metropolis. This tool aims to allow the visualization, query, download and analysis of geographic information regarding socio-ecological variables in the metropolitan and regional areas of Barcelona. On the map you can access geo-referenced information or directly on the LET’s GIS website


The main functions of LET’s GIS are:

  • To be a reference tool for visualization, query, analysis and downloading of geographic data of the metropolitan system of Barcelona, ​​accessible to individuals and technicians of the administration or public institutions.
  • Be a repository of data of significant indicators, generated within the framework of the integrated socio-ecological evaluation of the metropolis.
  • Collect data and reference cartography of the territory already published in different organizations and institutions that facilitate the consultation for the metropolitan area.
  • Have information on the different territorial units that make up the metropolitan area (36 municipalities), the metropolitan region (164 municipalities), or regions and specific areas such as the B30 (23 municipalities).
  • Ensure that data is apply standards and specifications so that they meet the concept of interoperability of geographic information.
  • Have an inventory of metadata that documents geographic resources and allows interoperability of data collected from organizations that provide information to the platform.
  • Prepare the metadata based on the international standard ISO19115 “Geographic Information Metadata” and more specifically with the NEM profile.
  • Develop a Planning Support System, at different spatial scales, that links the metabolic-territorial models developed by the LET with the GIS platform, and obtains quantitative and cartographic results of the models, facilitating the evaluation of territorial policy scenarios that are developed in the metropolis of Barcelona.

Target audience

The goal of the platform is to be useful for different user profiles.

As a planning support tool, it is intended to be oriented to a professional profile, mainly members of the public administration. As a knowledge tool of the metropolitan system to members of the scientific community and students.

Therefore, complying with the global conceptual model of the LET, the GIS platform intends to fulfill the function of being a tool to provide criteria for the analysis of the metropolitan system, with the objective of influencing public policies and territorial planning.

On the other hand, the geographical viewer, that is interactive and that displays the information in a simple and clear way within the platform, also allows the private user or professionals from other sectors to consult and download the information they want. So therefore it allows to become a reference in the search for geographic information of the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona and the transfer of knowledge to citizens.

Webpage under construction

Co-financed by:

One of the fundamental objectives of LET is to promote the debate and applied research in order to improve knowledge about the metropolitan socio-ecological system of Barcelona and, by extension, other metropolises in the world, identifying the critical and strategic elements for the territorial planning and management. That is why LET participates in postgraduate courses, hosts doctoral theses and conducts communications at the local level and conferences at an international level (the most significant ones are detailed). Last but not least, a “lab of ideas” is set up consisting of the LET Seminars and the LET Workshops, which are regularly announced on this page and in which everyone interested is invited to participate. (send an email if you wish to receive updated information:


Màster Metròpoli en Estudis Urbans i Metropolitans (


Possibilities of doing the PhD at LET (


The LET Seminars are public and aim to bring together new concepts and methods to progress towards an integrated analysis of the metropolitan socio-ecological system. They are aimed at predoctoral, postdoctoral and research students in general. They consist of 20-30 minutes of presentation and 30-40 minutes of discussion, in order to promote the debate of ideas. Each guest speaker presents an abstract of 250-300 words (with annexes, if necessary). The language of the presentation is preferably (but not only) in English. The seminars are related to the module “The Metropolitan System: Ecology and Territory” of the Master’s Degree in the UAB. It can be performed on-site or by Skype. Confirmation of assistance is desirable (


LET Workshops are public and aim to bring together topics of special interest, because of their innovation potential or current interest, in the planning and management of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, based on the paradigm of treating the “territory as a system “. They consist of a 30-minute presentation by an expert in the subject and a 60-minute round table where scientists, technicians, managers and interested stakeholders can debate and try to reach a consensus. After these workshops a collection of the main ideas and proposals will be summarized in a Report of the Workshops of the LET. You need confirmation of assistance (

“Criteria and methods for a planning proposal of open spaces integrated in the Urban Master Plan of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area”. (pending fixing a date)

“Towards a Socioecological Integrated Analysis (SIA) of Ecosystem Services at Landscape Scale. Implications for Land Use Policy in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area”. (pending fixing a date)

“The biodiversity in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Scientific criteria and management tools”. (pending fixing a date)


  • 3rd World Congress of Environmental History 2019 (Florianopolis, Brazil, 22-26/07/2018). Marull, J., Tello, E. “Land-use patterns and biodiversity location: The role of agricultural mosaics (land sharing) and nature protected areas (land spring) in Catalonia (1956-2009) and Costa Rica (1986-2014)”.
  • 10th World Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology 2019 (Milano, Italy, 1-5/07/2019). Marull, J. “Land use planning through socio-ecological perspectives. Application for the Barcelona Metropolitan Area Masterplan”.
  • Simposio de la Sociedad Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Historia Ambiental 2018 (Liberia, Costa Rica, 16-20/07/2018). Montero, A., Marull, J. “Agro-ecosistemas cafetaleros, funcionamiento ecológico del paisaje y biodiversidad”.
  • 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology (Jyväskylä, Finland, 12-15/06/2018). Melero, Y., Stefanescu C., Pino, J. “Butterflies in the city: ecological filtering of urban landscape”
  • X Jornadas sobre información de Biodiversidad y Administraciones Ambientales (Palma, Spain, 11/2017). “Preparing for climate change. Spanish demo case blog – GBIF”.
  • ALTER Net conference 2017: Nature and society: synergies, conflicts and trade offs (Gent, Belgium, 05/2017). Pino, J. “Biodiversity dynamics in forested metropolitan landscapes: the role of landscape context and land use legacy”.
  • European Landscape Ecology Congress 2017 (Ghent, Belgium, 12-15/09/2017). Marull, J. “The Energy–Landscape Integrated Analysis of agroecosystems”.
  • European Society for Environmental History Biennial Conference 2017 (Zagreb, Croatia 28-30/06/2016), Tello, E., Padró, R., Marco, I., Díez, L., Caravaca, J., Galán, E. “Sustainable Farm Systems? Why and How to Apply the Energy Flow Analysis of Cultural Landscapes in Past and Present Agricultures”.
  • Opening conference of the European Federation of Urban Forests (Barcelona, 09/2016). Pino, J. “The ecological values of metropolitan forests: the case of Barcelona”.
  • Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Project 2016 (Beijing, China 23-27/10/2016). Marull, J. “Long-term Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis: application to the Barcelona Metropolitan Region (1850-2010) at different spatial scales”.
  • Old and New Worlds: the Global Challenges of Rural History. International Conference (Lisboa, Portugal 27-30/01/2016), Aguilera, E., MacFayden, J., Padró, R., Gingrich, S., Marco, I., Guzmán, G., Cunfer, G. “Intensification and specialization in the old and new worlds: a quantitative analysis of changes in regional agroecosystem energy flows during industrialization”.
  • World Economic History Congress 2015 (Kyoto, Japan, 3-7/08/2015). Tello, E.; Marull, J.; Font, C.; Fullana, N.; Domene, E. “An Intermediate Disturbance-Complexity model of agricultural and forest mosaics”.
  • XII Congreso Nacional de la AETT 2015 (Coimbra, Portugal, 06/2015). Pino, J. “New Iberian forests: community assembly rules and ecosystem functions”.
  • World Congress of Environmental History 2014 (Guimaraes, Portugal, 09-12/07/2014). Font, C.; Marull, J.; Tello, E.; Galan, E. “Landscape Patterns and Energy Use: A Proposal for Measuring Complexity in Internal Agro-Ecosystem Processes”.
  • European Conference UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme on Biological and Cultural Diversity 2014 (Florence, Italy, 08-11/04/2014). Marull, J.; Tello, E.; Fullana, N.; Font, C.; Domene, E. “Exploring the ‘intermediate disturbance hypothesis’: Could cultural landscapes increase environmental resilience?”.
  • Regional Studies Association International Conference 2013 (Los Angeles, USA, 16-18/12/2013). Marull, J.; Domene, E.; Font, C.; Galletto, V. “Megaregions: a new unit of analysis to explore urban sustainability”.
  • Open Landscapes – Ecology, Management and Nature Conservation 2013 (Hildesheim, Germany, 29/09-03/10/2013). Marull, J. “Looking backwards into a Mediterranean edge environment: The importance of cultural landscapes in biological conservation”.
  • Conference on Sustainability and Human Development 2013 (London, United Kingdom, 03-04/07/2013). Domene, E.; Marull, J. “Exploring sustainability in Euro-Mediterranean megaregions. A methodological proposal for a new scale of urban planning”.
  • European Urban Research Association Conference 2012 (Vienna, Austria, 20-22/09/2012). Marull, J.; Galletto, V.; Domene, E. “Megaregions: a new unit of analysis to explore urban sustainability”.
  • International Regions Benchmarking Consortium Conference 2011 (Vancouver, Canada, 20-22/09/2011). Marull, J. “Improving European mega-regions towards sustainability”.

LET aims to be an open space for public participation. Citizen science involves participation of people interested in scientific research. It seeks to share criteria and methods, collect data and results with population by means of emerging technologies. In turn, this improves the basic scientific training of population, the sustainable management of resources and the acquisition of responsible habits and attitudes towards the metropolitan socio-ecological system. For this reason, at the initiative of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, LET launched in 2019 a citizen science project on Biodiversity in the Network of Parks and Beaches of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. Daytime Butterflies as Biodiversity Indicators.


The new paradigm of global conservation demands a management of biodiversity beyond the limited protection of endangered species and protected areas. There is a consensus about the potential of the metropolis as a refuge for native biodiversity, as well as the importance of a new urban design approach that fosters the presence of this biodiversity. Therefore, it is proposed to transform the metropolis into viable ecosystems for our species. However, knowledge about metropolitan biodiversity is still limited. Butterflies are one of the best biodiversity indicators. Given the growing interest of citizens to participate in environmental projects, LET proposes to create a network of volunteers to identify existing butterflies in three urban parks, three periurban parks and two beaches in the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona. Thus, relevant data will be obtained to evaluate the biodiversity in our metropolis involving the citizens on their value. This project is a first step beyond the creation of a Metropolitan Observatory of Urban Butterflies (mBMS). For more information, please contact to this e-mail adress:

Description of the project

This new citizen science initiative aims to know the biodiversity of the urban parks and beaches network of the metropolitan area. For this, we decided to study the diversity of butterflies, a very sensitive insect that gives a lot of information to be able to value and improve the biodiversity of different habitats, also of the metropolitan ones. The initiative is impeded by the LET, the Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory formed by the IERMB, the CREAF and the AMB. This 2019 the project starts with 6 parks and 2 beaches in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

The selected parks and beaches are the Muntanyeta Park (Sant Boi de Llobregat), the Fontsanta Park (Sant Joan Despí and Esplugues de Llobregat), the Turonet Park (Cerdanyola del Vallès), the Pinetons Park ( Ripollet), the Torrent de la Font i del Turó de l’Enric Park (Badalona), the Tramvia Park (Montgat i Tiana), as well as the Castelldefels Beach and the Gavà Beach. Now we launched a campaign to attract volunteers to participate in the project. People who sign up will receive specific training to learn to identify butterflies and be able to follow-up every 15 days during spring, summer and autumn.

This is the first step towards the creation of the Metropolitan Observatory of Urban Butterflies, which has three main goals:

  • To know the biodiversity of the network of parks and metropolitan beaches, using as a object of study the diurnal butterflies, an insect that provides a lot of information to be able to value and improve the biodiversity of different habitats, also of the metropolitan ones.
  • Evaluate the results of the management of the biodiversity in the parks and metropolitan beaches.
  • Start the first phase in the study of the diversity of butterflies in the Mediterranean dry meadows, an environment especially rich in biodiversity.

Participate in the project

Volunteers make a field visit every fifteen days from March until October to one or more selected parks in the metropolitan area of Barcelona during which they identify and count the species of butterflies they observe. Becoming a volunteer is not difficult. You do not need to be an expert to identify the species of butterflies present in your city, but you must want to learn and have some free time: spend a little time every 15 days in your garden from March until the end of october. When you register you have the option to select the parks or beaches that interest you most, we will try to assign the selected parks or beaches (unless they are already registered by other volunteers, in which case we will contact you to propose alternatives). In the following address you can see everything you need to participate:

Guides of butterflies

In these guides of butterflies of the metropolitan parks the species of butterflies that can be observed in the metropolis of Barcelona are specified. The guides are part of the uBMS project (the Urban Butterfly Citizen Observatory), and are based on the Catalan butterfly monitoring guide CBMS. They can be consulted in the following links:

Map with the species of butterflies observed in the different parks and beaches of the metropolis of Barcelona

Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory of Barcelona

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Bellaterra Campus

Plaça del Coneixement, MRA building, 2nd floor

08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)

tel.: 93 586 88 80

fax: 93 581 44 33


20/02/2020 – Next Wednesday, February 26th new session of the “LET’s Seminar”. In this ocasion, Marta Elena Montaño, civil engineer and master in geography who is doing her PhD in Ethnobiology and Biocultural Studies, will present her scientifi developments. The session, under the title “Modeling the incidence of traditional production systems in the sustainability of the landscapes of the Indigenous Reserve of Puracé” will focus on the socio-environmental transformations in the management of the territory that occurred throughout the twentieth century. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Marta Elena Montaño

11/02/2020 – New article of the LET on the optimization of energy flows in farms in historical perspective. The research proposes a method to understand how farmers’ objectives can contribute structuring cultural landscapes and how information as a structure in energy flows within agricultural systems can be measured. The article has been published in Ecological Indicators and is named”How farmers shape cultural landscapes. Dealing with information in farm systems (Vallès County, Catalonia, 1860)”. Complete article available in the following link:

22/01/2020 – Next Thursday, January 30th it will take place the first session of the year of the “LET’s Seminar”. In this session, that will focus on the history of social metabolism in the biocultural landscapes of Mallorca, will be carried by Nofre Fullana, PhD student and technical manager of the Associació de la Producció Agrària Ecològica de Mallorca. The title of the session is “Transició socioecològica dels agroecosistemes a l’illa de Mallorca. Fluxos energètics, multi-EROI i aproximació a l’ELIA (Manacor, 1860,1956 i 2012)”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Nofre Fullana

09/01/2020 – New published article leaded by members of the LET on urban biodiversity. The research focuses on the dispersal ability of butterflies and the role of managing green areas in the cities based on empirical data gathered in Barcelona. The article has been published in Landscape and Urban Planning under the title “The role of the urban landscape on species with contrasting dispersal ability: Insights from greening plans for Barcelona”. Complete article available in the following link:

02/12/2019 – This Thursday, December 5th at the Department de Territori i Sostenibilitat, two members of the LET will speak on the seminar “Eines i oportunitats per a l’avaluació ambiental i la planificació de la infraestructura verda”. The event will focus on the contribution of ecosystems to human well-being and the strategic role of open spaces as infrastructure that contributes to socio-ecological systems. For more information you can check the following link: Jornada Serveis Ecosistèmics

18/11/2019 – Monday, November 25th at 3 pm at the IERMB will take place a new session of the “LET Seminars”. On this occasion the presentation will be given by Lorena Maristany, professor and researcher of the Department of Urban Planning and Planning of the ETSAV (UPC). In the seminar, the researcher will present the main results of her doctoral thesis, which is called “Metropolitan open spaces: criteria, objectives and strategies for the territorial project. The case of the urban region of Barcelona”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Lorena Maristany

23/10/2019 – The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of the Spanish government has granted the LET with the project RTI2018-093970-B “BIOLANDSCAPEs – Agroecological History for Designing Sustainable Landscapes. Case studies of the Mediterranean World”. This project will be carried out in collaboration with the Universidad Pablo de Olavide and the Universitat de Barcelona. The objective is to apply an agroecological vision in the design of sustainable landscapes, based on a more circular operation of agricultural activities. For more information you can consult the following link: BIOLANDSCAPEs Project

08/10/2019 – Monday, October 14th at 3 pm at the IERMB will take place a new session of the “LET Seminars”. On this occasion Ola Stedge, post-doctoral researcher who is starting a short stay at the LET, will make a presentation that bears his name “The metropolitan food system quantified and georeferenced: The spatial opportunities for (peri-)urban food production and recycling of nutrients in the Oslo region”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Ola Stedge

16/09/2019 – Monday, September 23th at 3 pm at the IERMB, new session of the “LET Seminars”. The seminar will be given by Parisa Torabi, a student of an Erasmus-Mundus Master’s Degree Program in Mathematical Modeling in Engineering, coordinated by the University of l’Aquila, and who has done her final Master’s work within the LET. The presentation she will give is called “Agroecosystem’s Energy-Landscape Optimization for Land-Use Planning”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Parisa Torabi

04/09/2019 – The PhD student and LET member Maria José La Rota has won the 2019 Santacana Scholarship funded by the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Barcelona. The objective of her proposal, that will carry out in collaboration with the team of the Ecology and Territory Area of the IERMB, is to generate horizons of sustainable metropolitan development under a strategic vision transdisciplinary and socially inclusive in the governance process. This will be done through the application of an “Integrated Socio-Ecological Analysis of the Metropolitan Green Infrastructure of Barcelona: Assessment of Scenarios and Strategic Elements for Urban and Territorial Planning”. For more information you can consult the following link: PEMB News

30/08/2019 – Two members of the LET have participated in the white book “Natura: ús o abús?” edited by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. In the chapter, which is called “Canvis recents in the covers of the sòl i in the dynamics of the country of the Països Catalans: implications for the conservation of natural heritage”, action proposals are made to ensure the maintenance of agroforestry mosaics, to improve the ecological connectivity and the integration of metropolitan landscapes into the green infrastructure. You can consult the chapter in the following link: IEC Chapter

02/08/2019 – A new article of an investigation in which members of the LET have participated has been published. The research is focused on the water-energy-food nexus for a case study in Gran Canaria. The article has been published in Science of the Total Environment under the title “Structuring an integrated water-energy-food nexus assessment of a local wind energy desalination system for irrigation”. Check it in open in:

05/07/2019 – New publications of the LET on the usefulness of the Integrated Socioecological Analysis for the evaluation of the territorial planning and its application in the Urban Master Plan of the AMB. The articles suggest how modeling, through tools of landscape ecology and social metabolism, can contribute to the management of green infrastructure. Consult them openly in the Anuari Metropolità de Barcelona 2018 “Del barri a la metròpoli”

03/06/2019 – New scientific article of the LET on the long-term socioecological transitions in western agricultural systems in a compared perspective among metabolism and landscape ecology, published in Agricultural Systems: “Comparative Energy-Landscape Integrated Analysis (ELIA) of past and present agroecosystems in North America and Europe from the 1830s to the 2010s”. Complete article available in the following link:

28/05/2019 – Monday, June 3th at 3pm at the IERMB, sixth session of the “LET Seminars”. Tarik Serrano, PhD in Environmental Sciences and member of the LET team, will present the seminar “Methods for the integrated analysis of social metabolism in rural systems. Cases of Mauritius, Ecuador and Gran Canaria”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Tarik Serrano

21/05/2019 – Thursday, 23th of May at 11 am in the Aula Magna of the Faculty on Biology in the UB will take place the workshop “L’home en la Biosfera. El llegat de Margalef per un món més sostenible”, as a commemoration of the centenary of the birth of the ecologist Ramon Margalef. In this, Joan Marull and Enric Tello will present the conference “A voltes amb Ramon Margalef: energia, informació i paisatge”. For further information check the link: Workshop Margalef

07/05/2019 – We added two new scientific articles in which members of the LET have participated: A first article published in Land Use Policy with the title “Urban development versus wetland loss in a coastal Latin American city: Lessons for sustainable land use Planning “and a second published in Science of the Total Environment under the name” Policy-driven monitoring and evaluation: Does it support adaptive management of socio-ecological systems? “. To access the articles consult the following links: or be

02/05/2019 – Tuesday, May 7th at 10am in the plenary room of the AMB will take place the public presentation of the Metropolitan Laboratory of Ecology and Territory of Barcelona. The event is open but confirmation of attendance is requested by mail ( or by telephone (93 506 9664, AMB; 93 586 8863, IERMB).More information in the next link: LET presentation

29/04/2019 – Monday, May 6th at 3pm at the IERMB, fifth session of the “LET Seminars”. Victor Matasov and Marina Kozyreva, researchers from the Geography Faculty of the Moscow Statal University, will present the seminar “Long-term reconstructions of human-environment interaction in the forest zone of the European Russia: results and prospects”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Victor Matasov y Marina Kozyreva

25/04/2019 – New scientific article of the LET on the relation among metabolism, landscape structure and biodiversity (butterflies and birds) in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region, published in Science of the Total Environment: “Building on Margalef: Testing the links between landscape structure, energy and information flows driven by farming and biodiversity”. Complete article available in the following link:

11/04/2019 – The LET activates a citizen science project that will allow monitoring the butterflies in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The project starts in 6 parks and 2 beaches spread across the metropolitan territory. The objective is the creation of a Metropolitan Observatory of Urban Butterflies. More information on how to participate in:

08/04/2019 – New scientific article of the LET, led by Joan Marull, in Land Use Policy: “Modelling urban networks sustainable progress”. Complete article available in the following link:

02/04/2019 – Monday, April 8th at 3pm at the IERMB, fourth session of the “LET Seminars”. Maryam Yousefi, PhD student at Shahid Beheshti University of Iran will present the seminar “Reconceptualization of Carrying Capacity Based on Landscape Ecology: Paradigm shifts and new approaches”. Check the abstract in the following link: Abstract Maryam Yousefi

26/03/2019 – Join the LET team! We are looking for a technician with experience in the field of ecology and territory, with skills and interest in basic and applied research. Call open until April 8th. For more information, check this link:

22/03/2019 – New scientific article of the LET, led by Roc Padró, in Ecological Economics: “Beyond Chayanov: A sustainable agroecological farm reproductive analysis of peasant domestic units and rural communities (Sentmenat; Catalonia, 1860)”. Complete article available in the following link:

15/03/2019 – The LET website is under development. It aims to be a dynamic space open to everyone. If you have any comments, please contact us at: Very soon we will announce when and where the formal presentation of the LET (Metropolitan Area) will be made.