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Projects Socio-ecological system mapping and modelling

The Environmental Geography Group aims to provide tools and data to better understand the impacts and feedbacks in the coupled human-land-climate system, especially focusing on the role of humans in this system.

The main focus is on the understanding of land systems as socio-ecological systems in which land use and land cover are the result of dynamic interactions of humans with their environment.

Below an overview


  • ENVISION (2019-2021)

    Envision (financed by BiodivERsA) aims at more inclusive approaches to protected area management that enhance the conservation and well-being values of protected areas and provide for multiple community and industry needs. This is operationalized by developing mixed-method, participatory scenario planning tools and processes for identifying, assessing and balancing multiple community and industry groups’ visions for the management of protected areas in Europe and the United States beyond 2020, including their consequences on human well-being and the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems services. We will use these results to make evidence-based recommendations to protected area managers operating at local, national and international scales in order to inform post-2020 biodiversity policy, particularly on protected areas management. Within the project IVM will address how land management impacts ecosystem services, biodiversity, and human well-being in different ways. Trade-offs have to be navigated carefully as win-wins are not necessarily available. However, how to navigate such trade-offs through land management is unclear. In the work package under responsibility of IVM we will not only discuss the visions of development of the area with stakeholders, but also use simulation models to quantify the impacts of these visions in terms of impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Stakeholder discussions will be informed by these simulation results to find the most optimal and acceptable ways to navigate the trade-offs or clarify why it is necessary to implement certain management decisions that implicitly embed trade-offs.

  • LANDSENSE (2016-2020)

    The LandSense Citizen Observatory aims to aggregate innovative EO technologies, mobile devices, community-based environmental monitoring, data collection, interpretation and information delivery systems to empower communities to monitor and report on their environment. A number of key characteristics fundamental to the LandSense Citizen Observatory include: 

    • Bidirectional information flows between different communities (i.e. citizens, scientists, policymakers, industries, SMEs, NGOs, etc.);
    • Involve new citizen functions in accumulating and using information;
    • Support multi-scalar government from the EU level downwards;
    • Complement EO (i.e. remotely sensed) data and state-organized data collection;
    • Give communities access to easily-understandable information needed for decision-making.

    A key component of the project is the LandSense Engagement Platform. Various communities will be able to actively participate within the LandSense engagement platform through a variety of interactive tools and functions to facilitate information transfer, assessment, valuation, uptake and exploitation of environmental data and results. The platform will offer collaborative mapping functionalities to allow citizens to view, analyze and share data collected from different campaigns and create their own maps, individually and collaboratively. In addition, citizens can participate in ongoing LandSense demonstration cases using their own devices (e.g. mobile phones and tablets), through interactive reporting and gaming applications, as well as launching their own campaigns.

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  • Environmental Research for the European Environment Agency (2018-present)

    In the past years, IVM has been consulting the European Environment Agency on a wide variety of topics related to land use in the European Union. Recently, IVM analysed how well irrigation is captured on European land use products and what are the potential mismatches in different datasets. Currently, IVM is preparing a EU wide map on livestock grazing, to support the management of high nature value areas in the European Union. 

    Contact information: Dr Jasper van Vliet and Dr Žiga Malek.

  • COUPLED – Operationalising Telecouplings for Solving Sustainability Challenges for Land Use (2017-2021)

    Human consumption of food and agricultural products has a significant impact on the environment and the societies in the regions where they are produced. Given Europe’s large and growing land-use footprint abroad, Europe has a special responsibility to develop concepts and tools needed to achieve sustainability in an interconnected world. Different sectors, consumers, businesses and politicians are increasingly demanding more environmental and social sustainable land use both inside and outside Europe.

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