I am working as a senior ecologist at Staatsbosbeheer. This organization is commissioned by the Dutch government to manage a sizeable amount of the nature reserves in the Netherland. My focus is on the landscape ecology of coastal areas, especially on the way characteristic species and related biodiversity relate to natural processes such as sedimentation, erosion and changing flows of groundwater and surface water (fresh, brackisch and salt).
In the nineties I have worked with many colleagues on the implementation of the national Nature Management Plan (1990) in the Province of Friesland including the Wadden Sea area. In the same period I worked at the University of Groningen on my thesis on the ecohydrological characteristics of dune slacks on the Wadden Sea islands (1999).
Since 2000 I coordinate multidisciplinairy research on sandy coastal ecosystems in teams of ecologists, geomorphologists, hydrologists and specialists of coastal management authorities, as well in informal groups as in the coastal expertteam within the OBN-framework (Knowledge Network for Restoration and Management of Nature in The Netherlands). This has led to increasing awareness of the importance of approaching coastal ecosystems on different temporal and spatial scales. Such an orientation is indispensible to cope with todays challenges related toaccelerated sea level rise and compensating measures such as frequent sand nourishments and concrete defense structures along large coastal trajectories.
I am affiliated to the University of Groningen, where I worked since 1991 at the Plant Ecology department as community ecologist and from where I joined the Groningen Institute of Archaeology since 2012 as associate member of palaeobotany.
With ERA we can bring knowledge and people together to create and support opportunities for applied restoration ecology projects with our knowledge and we gather more insights in the functioning of natural communities. I am convinced that a better understanding of our natural environment will result in a better care and a more sustainable use of these resources.
My expertise lies in the scientific fields of ecology, seed biology and restoration ecology which I try to combine with organizational skills and practical and creative problem solutions. We most often achieve results by facilitating the cooperation of a group of enthusiastic knowledgeable people. Both in projects and together with the expertteam on brook valley systems within the OBN-framework (Knowledge Network for Restoration and Management of Nature in The Netherlands).
In the framework of ERA with a group of authors we publish a series of books within the Digital Plant Atlas project, and I still organize professional courses in seed biology and identification.
I am affiliated to two Dutch Universities: The University of Groningen, which is my home base, and the Radboud University of Nijmegen, where I teach as is visiting professor in Ecohydrology.
At the University of Groningen I worked for more than 40 years and I developed eco-hydrological approaches to analyse damaged wetlands. I was engaged in numerous restoration projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, Eastern Germany. Poland , Slovakia, and South-Africa.
Currently I am working at the Centre of Energy and Environmental Studies (IVEM, University of Groningen), where I work on greenhouse gas emissions from drained peatlands, integrated water management and dynamic coastal management.
In the framework of ERA a carry out quick-scan Landscape Ecological Evaluations (LESA’s ). These imply short visits of 1-5 days to areas where restoration activities are being planned or considered, but an evaluation of eco-hydrological conditions on the landscape scale is needed to make the restoration process successful. I carried out such landscape evaluations in the Netherlands on a regular basis, in Poland (since 1995), South-Africa (since 2004), Japan, 2001, 2007), Tiera del Fuego, Argentina (2005, 2007), Latvia, (2008,2009), England and Wales, (2011, 2013), France, 2012, 2014, Switzerland (2012), Russia, (2013, 2015), Australia (2013), Cuba, (2015), Ethiopia (2013, 2015) and Georgia (2016).