Forests play a major role in the global carbon budget. They have a climate change mitigation potential by storing carbon and substituting fossil fuels. At the same time, as climate is changing, it is of major importance to understand the effects and risks of these changing growing conditions on forests.
I am interested in the complex questions at the interface of ecology and society, such as how society can use ecosystem services while at the same time guaranteeing biodiversity and other ecological functions of the system. My PhD project will examine to what extent Dutch forest management can contribute to mitigating climate change by increasing the carbon storage capacity of forests, while meeting the societal demand for different forest functions such as timber production, biodiversity conservation and the use of biomass for bio-energy. Furthermore, the project will examine how Dutch forest management may adapt to changing growing conditions of forests due to climate change.
This study is linked to a large collaboration of European universities and research institutes, FORMIT (in full FORest management strategies to enhance the MITigation potential of European forests). It is funded with a Doctoral Grant for teachers by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which is being realised by NWO. Two days per week I work as a high school teacher in biology. I believe there is a strong need to introduce relevant and appealing examples of ecological research in high school biology lessons. It is very motivating to make students aware of the newest insights on impacts of climate change research and its link to forests and timber use.