Proper functioning of ecosystems is essential for human life on earth. Human food production for example relies on a certain stability of the climate, soil functioning and pest control, which are to a great degree regulated by ecosystems. At the same time the functioning of ecosystems is threatened by human actions, altering habitats, using pesticides, and emitting greenhouse gasses, among several more interferences with natural systems. This interface between ecosystem impacts and social processes is one of my core interests, which I like to study from interdisciplinary and quantitative approaches.
My current research as a Postdoctoral researcher at ITC, University of Twente, focusses on how food system processes affect local and distant land use change. Land use change is not only influenced by physical conditions such as climate and soil, but also by various social interactions, for example in the commodity chain. By improving our understanding of how distant disasters and polices influence food production and land use change elsewhere, I hope to help find ways to improve resilience in the food system.
Previously, during my PhD research at the Dutch National Institute for Public health and the Environment (RIVM), I studied effects of livestock production on human health and the environment. An important part of this was synthesizing 17 different environmental and human health impacts of Dutch livestock production. In addition, I studied health effects of persons living close to livestock farms in more detail.
I have plenty of interdisciplinary experience, stemming from the bachelor program Bèta-Gamma, with which I started my academic career. Through this interdisciplinary background I am very aware of the value of bringing together researchers from various disciplines in the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering. This is not only valuable because resilience is such a broad concept but also because the great societal challenges that we currently face require analysis from multiple perspectives, and benefits greatly from cross-fertilization of knowledge, also from outside academia.