Search staff/organisations L Poorter
Name L Poorter

Job details
DescriptionPersonal Professor in Functional Ecology
OrganizationDepartment of Environmental Sciences
Organization UnitForest Ecology and Forest Management
Phone+31 317 486 216
Secretarial phone+31 317 486 195
Phone 2+31 317 486 195
Note for telephonist
Note by telephonist
Visiting addressDroevendaalsesteeg 3
Postal addressPostbus 47
Side activities
  • Bestuur Stichting het Kronendak - Stichting het Kronendak
    Sep 2015 - Present


Research interest. The world harbours a tremendous diversity of plant species. I am fascinated how these species differ in their plant characteristics (traits), and how these traits shape species performance, distribution, community assembly and species coexistence. I am interested how traits scale up at the community level, determining ecosystem processes and services. Such an understanding is needed, if we want to design sustainable, multifunctional landscapes, that benefit both nature and society.

Approach. I do so by combining emperical field work, with experiments, and modelling. For the past 25 years I have mainly worked in tropical forests in Latin America and Africa, in close collaboration with my PhD students and a large network of colleagues from all over the world.

Curriculum. I have obtained my Masters Biology at Wageningen University (1991), my PhD at Utrecht University (1998) and work since 1999 at the Forest Ecology and Management group, first as a Veni laureate, then as a PE&RC laureate, Associate Professor (2010), Personal Professor (2014), and Personal Professor Hoogleraar 2 (2019).

ERC Advanced Grant & 2ndFOR. I have recieved a prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council on Biodiversity and recovery of forests in tropical landscapes (PANTROP; 2018-2024) and I am coordinating together with others the 2ndFOR reserach network on Secondary forest succession in the tropics (

 If you want to see my inaugural address as Professor in Functional Ecology, click this link.



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Publication lists


Projects by L Poorter

ForeFront. The WU-funded ForeFront project is an interdisciplinary research and collaboration project on agriculture-forest frontiers in Latin America. The aim is to get a better understanding of socio-ecological systems in order to design sustainable multifunctional landscapes that provide multiple services to the lcoal people. We want to do so by making biodiversity work, through biological intensification. The reserach is carried out with partners from Mexcio (UNAM), Argentine (IMBIV) and Brazil (Vicosa). 

ROBIN. I am the WU coordinator of the EU-funded ROBIN project on the Role of BIodiversity in climate change mitigatioN in Latin America. Together with research partners from Europe and Latin America we evalute to what extent forest biodiversity may contribute to carbon uptake and storage, and ecoystem services. We do  fieldwork to establish the emperical relationship, use remote sensing to scale up, and models to model into the future what may happen with future climate change.

DIVERSUS. The IAI-funded DiverSus project looks at Diversity and Sustainability in human-modified tropical landscapes in Latin America. We evaluate how biodiversity and ecosystem processes and services change along a gradient of land-use intensification (ranging from undisturbed forest, logged forest, secondary forest, agricultural field and cattle ranching) .

ReSerBoS. The ConaCyt-funded ReserBoS project evaluates how ecosystem processes and services  recover during secondary forest succession after land abandonment in dry and wet regions in Mexico.

LOG-LIFE. The log-life project is a bottum-up initiative between researchers from VU, UU and WUR. The aim is to understand how environmental factors and tree functional traits control stem decomposition of a large suite of tree species. To do so, we have established common-garden decomposition experiments with 20+ temperate species at the fertile Flevo polder and the nutirent-poor Veluwe area.


I am currently supervising the following PhD students:

  • Estela Quintero-Vallejo (Legacies of Amazonian Dark Earths of forest structure, composition and dynamics)
  • Masha van der Sande (Effects of disturbance, soils and (functional) diversity on the productivity of tropical forests)


I have coordinated the MSc course "Advanced Forest Ecology and Forest Management", for which we have received three years in a row the WU excellent education price. I also teach in several other BSc and MSc courses (introduction to forest and nature conservation, ecological methods I) .

  • FEM-11306 - Introduction to Forest and Nature Conservation
  • FEM-22306 - Forest Resources
  • FEM-30306 - Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70424 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70427 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70430 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70433 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70436 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70439 - MSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70812 - BSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-70818 - BSc Internship Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-79324 - MSc Research Practice Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80418 - Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80421 - Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80424 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80427 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80430 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80433 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80436 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FEM-80439 - MSc Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • REG-31806 - Ecological Methods I
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