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Name W de Vries

Job details
DescriptionPersonal professor
OrganizationDepartment of Environmental Sciences
Organization UnitEnvironmental Systems Analysis


Wim de Vries is professor in the discipline of environmental systems analysis. His chair focuses on "Integrated nitrogen impact analysis" but his research domain is broader than nitrogen alone. His research is organized around impacts of the input of nutrients (especially nitrogen,phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and potssium) and metals in agriculture and forests on air, soil and water quality, productivity and plant species diversity and related input boundaries/critical loads. He has a long lasting scientific experience in the domain of (i) soil chemistry in relation to air pollution, forest ecology and management (over 35 years), and (ii) sustainability of agricultural management in the Netherlands (over 20 years), Europe (over 10 years), China and at global scale (over 5 -10 years).

His specific expertise is related to the development and application of soil models at various regional scales including landscapes, countries and continents (especially Europe) in combination with field and laboratory research. This refers to the use and fate of carbon and nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorous) in soil, air and water. He has also gained a large experience in related topics, such as atmospheric chemistry and effects on (services of) terrestrial ecosystems, with special reference to forests in view of eutropication and acidification.

Wim de Vries published more than 500 research papers, book chapters and reports, of which over 200 papers in international peer reviewed journals on the topics above.Wim de Vries op Google Scholar Citations

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Soil chemistry with special reference to soil acidification, nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas emissions and heavy metal pollution Impacts of the changes in land use/land management, air quality and climate change on carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, plant species diversity and soil and water quality.


Effects of saline seepage on the quality of drinking water; Experience in modelling effects of land use changes on the quality (salinity) of a drinking water reservoir.


Effects of inputs of nitrogen, phosphate and acidity on the accumulation and leaching of nutrients, aluminium and acidity in soils; Experience in: (i) laboratory studies on aluminium and base cation release in response to acid inputs and (ii) model development and applications on a regional scale.


Effects of atmospheric inputs of nitrogen and sulphur on the chemical composition of soil, soil solution and surface water in relation to effects on growth, vitality and species diversity of terrestrial ecosystems. Experience in: (i) large scale field studies on soil acidification and effects on forest ecosystems in relation to acid atmospheric deposition and (ii) development, validation and application of soil models at a local, national and European scale to assess critical loads and long-term impacts of atmospheric deposition on (forest) soils. The methods developed have been presented at many congresses and workshops in Europe and in several international scientific journals and have been applied by nearly all countries in Europe, in the context of the UN-ECE ICP on ICP “Modelling and Mapping of Critical Loads & Levels”.


Impacts/ risks of heavy metal input in agriculture and non-agricultural systems on a regional scale. Experience in development of metal models at a national and European scale to assess critical loads. The methods developed have been presented at many congresses and workshops, brought into manuals and been applied by many countries in Europe within the context of the UN-ECE Working Group on 'Mapping Critical loads'.


Impacts/risks of excess manure input in agriculture on air quality (emissions  of ammonia, greenhouse gases and fine particles) and soil and water quality  (accumulation and leaching of carbon, nitrogen, phosphate, base cations and heavy metals) on a regional, national and continental scale, using an integral systems analyses approach.


Impacts of changes in air quality (nitrogen deposition, CO2 and ozone exposure) and climate on emissions  of greenhouse gases/global warming potential on continental and global scale; Impacts of fertilizer and manure inputs in agriculture on soil and water quality (accumulation and leaching of nitrogen and phosphate) on a  global scale.

In all studies, results have been used by policy makers to set standards for the inputs of nutrients and pollutants to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.





Coordinator of the course "Environmental Assessments for Pollution Management". In this course, we discuss environmental impacts of agricultural production and energy production and present various (chains of) models to evaluate the impacts of policy scenarios and management options on air, soil and water quality. An important aim of the modelling tools and resulting analyses is to support managers (e.g. farmers or foresters) or policy/decision-makers in taking appropriate management or policy measures. We focus on the management of large-scale (diffuse) inputs of carbon, nutrients (specifically nitrogen and phosphorous) and pollutants (specifically heavy metals) related to food, feed and fibre production. In the course we also pay attention to the problem of climate change as an example of an international (transboundary) pollution problem.

  • ESA-31806 - Environmental Assessments of Nutrient and Pollution Management
  • ESA-79224 - MSc Research Practice Environmental Systems Analysis
  • ESA-79324 - MSc Research Practice Environmental Systems Analysis
  • ESA-80424 - MSc Thesis Environmental Systems Analysis
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