Current research

  • Animals, biogeochemical cycles, & climate

    Animals, from zooplankton to elephants, are an integral part of ecosystems and help maintain ecosystems' health and functioning by influencing the transfer of nutrients and energy on land and in the sea. Animals can affect biogeochemical cycles including carbon, green house gas fluxes, and ultimately climate. In my research I explore the global importance of animals and try to quantify and value the ecosystem services that they produce. In my EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie project "MegaBiCycle", I have studied the global role of terrestrial herbivores and produced a financial valuation of wild animal carbon services.

  • REMAP - Global model of mammals populations

    REMAP (REproducing MAmmal Populations) is a global model simulating the population dynamics and biomass of all terrestrial mammalian herbivores. Currently REMAP includes up to 37 Herbivore Functional Types, which are groups of species with similar diet, digestive system, and body mass. REMAP can be coupled with global vegetation models to study the ecology and functional role of mammals in ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles; a description of REMAP can be found in our publication in which we use REMAP to estimate the global biomass of mammalian herbivores.

  • OceanICU: global importance of the biological carbon pump

    OceanICU is a Horizon Europe project aiming to understand the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle. I am participating in OceanICU by studying the spatial distribution of the carbon services provided by the biological carbon pump, from plankton to whales, with the goal of quantifying and valuing these services to help decision making that involve managing natural resources, conservation, national economies, and climate finance. I work at the intersection of climate policy, finance, and ecology to assess the tradeoffs that humanity faces when managing and conserving natural resources.

News and press coverage

Publications - CV


Berzaghi F, Zhu D, Alroy J, Ciais P Trait-based mechanistic approach highlights global patterns and losses of herbivore biomass functional diversity. Functional Ecology.

Santini L, Berzaghi F, Benitez-Lopez A. Total population reports are ill-suited for global biomass estimation of wild animals. PNAS.


Schmitz OJ, Sylvén M, Atwood TB, Bakker ES, Berzaghi F, Brodie JF, Cromsigt JP, Davies AB, Leroux SJ, Schepers FJ, Smith FA, Stark S, Svenning J-C, Tilker A, Ylänne H. Trophic rewilding can expand natural climate solutions. Nature Climate Change.

Berzaghi F, Bretagnolle F, Durand-Bessart C, Blake S. Megaherbivores modify forest structure and increase carbon stocks through multiple pathways. PNAS.


Chami R, Cosimano T, Fullenkamp C, Berzaghi F, Español-Jiménez S, Marcondes M, Palazzo J. The Value of Nature to Our Health and Economic Well-Being: A Framework with Application to Elephants and Whales. In L. Paganetto (Ed.), Economic Challenges for Europe After the Pandemic (pp. 117–162). Springer International Publishing..

Berzaghi F, Cosimano T, Fullenkamp C, Scanlon J, Fon TE, Tunga Robson M, Forbang JL, Chami R. Value wild animals’ carbon services to fill the biodiversity financing gap. Nature Climate Change.

Berzaghi F, Chami R, Cosimano T, Fullenkamp C. Financing conservation by valuing carbon services produced by wild animals. PNAS.


Yang H, Ciais P, Chave J, Huang Y, Ballantyne A, Yu K,

Berzaghi F, Wigneron JP. Coarse woody debris are buffering mortality-induced carbon losses to the atmosphere in tropical forests. Environmental Research Letters.


Berzaghi F, Wright IJ, Kramer K, Oddou-Muratorio S, Bohn FJ, Reyer CPO, Sabate S, Sanders T, Hartig F. Towards a New Generation of Trait-Flexible Vegetation Models. Trends in Ecology & Evolution.


Berzaghi F, Longo M, Ciais P, Blake S, Bretagnolle F, Vieira S, Scaranello M, Scarascia-Mugnozza G, Doughty CE. Carbon stocks in Central African forests enhanced by elephant disturbance. Nature Geoscience.


Berzaghi F, Engel J, Plumptre A, Mugabec M, Kujirakwinjad D, Ayebarec S, Bates J. Comparative niche modeling of two Laniarius bush-shrikes and the conservation of mid-elevation Afromontane forests of the Albertine Rift. The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

Berzaghi F, Verbeeck H, Nielsen MR, Doughty CE, Bretagnolle F, Marchetti M, Scarascia-Mugnozza G. Assessing the role of megafauna in tropical forest ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles - the potential of vegetation models. Ecography.

Vacchiano G, Ascoli D, Berzaghi F, Lucas-Borja ME, Caignard T, Collalti A, Mairota P, Palaghianu C, Reyer C, Sanders T, Schermer E, Wohlgemuth T, Hacket-Pain A. Reproducing reproduction: How to simulate mast seeding in forest models. Ecological modeling, 376, 40-53.


Andersen JH, Berzaghi F, Christensen T, Geertz Hansen O, Mosbech A, Stock A, Zinglersen K, Wisz M. Potential for cumulative effects of human stressors on fish, sea birds and marine mammals in Arctic waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 184, 202-206.


Wisz M, Andersen JH, Berzaghi F(eds), Christensen T, Clausen DS, Johansen KL, Geertz-Hansen O, Hedeholm R, Nymand, Zinglersen KB. A catalogue of available data describing ecosystem components and human stressors in the sea west of Greenland. Working Document for Nordic Council of Ministers, 38 pp.

Short Bio

I hold a PhD in Ecology, main topic "modelling plant-animal interactions in tropical forests". Before becoming interested in Ecology, I completed a Master's degree in Computer Science and, among others things, worked on educational and commercial videogames. Thanks to my diverse background and mix of skills I have worked across ecosystems and taxa, from African elephants to Greenland fishes, and had the opportunity to experience life and cultures in countries around the world. I also enjoy teaching and science outreach activities.