I am a forester, social scientist and environmentalist with a keen research interest on human nature interactions, a particular focus on forest and conservation policy, and a desire to help to create better future policies through critically analyzing the current ones.
Raised in a family of nature lovers in the Mosel Valley in Western Germany, I studied Forest Sciences at the University of Freiburg (with one semester at ETH Zurich), and received a PhD and Habilitation in forest and environmental policy from the same university (in 2006 and 2014 respectively). In 2011, I spent one year at the University of California, Berkeley, studying forest environmental controversies in the Pacific Northwest. Subsequently, from 2015 to 2021, I worked for the European Forest Institute, an international organisation, first as Head of the Research Programme “Forest for Society” based in Finland (until 2017), and then as Head of the newly established Bonn Office, setting up two new research programmes on “resilience” and “governance”. I was also a Member of the Institute’s Management Team, and an Associate Professor at the Universities of Freiburg and Bonn. My work encompassed coordinating large scale international research consortia and close interactions with both policy makers and land managers in Europe and beyond. I joined WUR in January 2022.
I have been authoring or co-authoring over 80 peer-reviewed academic publications, and have extensively worked at the science policy interface, inter alia through leading and contributing to several reports on forests and conservation issues. I am also much interested in interdisciplinary collaboration which I think holds great potential to advance our understanding of increasingly pressing land use and environmental issues.