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Name TPM Fijen

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OrganizationDepartment of Environmental Sciences
Organization UnitPlant Ecology and Nature Conservation
Mobile+31 6 23761035
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  • Voorzitter - Stichting Grond voor de Patrijs
    Jun 2020 - Present

    De stichting heeft ten doel het verwerven van vermogen en vaste activa die ter|beschikking worden gesteld aan boeren die invulling geven aan de|maatschappelijke opgave van het duurzaam produceren van voedsel in een|veerkrachtig systeem met oog op behoud en herstel van landschap, biodiversiteit|en de natuurlijke processen.


You could see me as a true Wageningen-person: I have done my Bachelors and my Masters in Wageningen (Forest and Nature Conservation). I graduated in 2013 and started my PhD-project in May 2015. This PhD project is on the relative importance of wild pollinators in agricultural landscapes. I was broadly interested in anything with ecology, but had a preference for birds, but also plants and insects had my attention. However, I had never started to look at bees, but their diversity got my attention quickly after starting this project. In my recent research I am looking for strong arguments for taking better care of our biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Crop pollinators are an excellent reason to protect these pollinators, and protecting them will probably also benefit other species!

In my spare time I spent a lot of time bird watching, but also studying the identification of birds based on their calls and song. This means I am also very passionate about birds and bird research, of which I did a bit myself!

Picture: Thijs identifies an unknown butterfly on a day of during the fieldwork in Italy. Picture taken by Bastiaen Boekelo


I have recently started a crowdfunding project to study the effects of bumblebees on crop yield of lupin. The locally produced lupin can then replace soy beans in meat replacements and thus significantly reduce to ecological footprint of meat replacements!

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Ecosystem services, such as pollination of crops by wild insects, are playing an increasingly important role in the challenge to meet the rising demands for agricultural products while minimizing the negative environmental impacts of the production process. However, more insight is required in fundamental ecological processes to fully capitalize on the benefits provided by nature. Here we examine how wild pollinators can be used to replace or supplement traditional agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and irrigation. We use hybrid leek ( Allium porrum) seed production in southern Europe as our model system because here the variation in agricultural practices, environmental conditions and abundance and species richness of pollinators is well-suited for studies addressing these questions. This furthermore allows for the results of the studies to be implemented directly in the leek seed production system of a major vegetable seed producer. We examine contribution of pollinators to seed production relative to that of agricultural management and how the direct effects of agricultural management on seed production, through provision of agro-chemicals and water, interact with pollination services provided by pollinators. We furthermore examine whether abundance or species richness is more important for pollination service delivery in real-world landscapes. The insights of these studies will be used to formulate effective strategies that combine the effects of pollinators and agricultural inputs to cost-effectively optimize leek seed production as well as promote wild pollinators.

Many interesting thesis subjects are possible within this study!

  • PEN-22303 - Ecology of Communities, Ecosystems and Landscapes: Field Excursions
  • PEN-50403 - Capita selecta Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
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