Arjen Buijs appointed UHD-1 on inclusive NBS governance

July 17, 2023

As of 1 July, Dr. Arjen Buijs has been promoted to Associate Proessor-1, which also grants him promotion rights at Wageningen University.

Arjen uses social science approaches to understand and critically assess challenges related to current environmental crises and the call from science, society and governments for transformative change, with a specific focus on nature-based solutions.

Increasingly, nature-based solutions are being invoked to counter current biodiversity and climate crises. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are defined as ‘actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits’. NBS can contribute to biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation with multiple social and economic co-benefits, including employment opportunities, improved physical and mental health, social cohesion, food security, and community resilience. NBS span natural, rural as well as urban landscapes, with examples such as climate-smart rewilding in river restoration projects, vertical forests for green and multifunctional housing in densely populated cities, and community gardens for urban biodiversity and food security.

Arjen’s research vision focuses on ’whole-of-society’ approaches to NBS and transformation. This approach aims for society-wide mobilisation of communities and resources towards halting biodiversity loss and climate change mitigation and adaptation (UN 2023). His research consists of three interrelated themes. On the individual level, he investigates the relationship between environmental justice and the diversity of values and connectedness with nature in relation to NBS. On the group and community level, he investigates the role of stewardship groups and activism for NBS and transformation. On the governance level, he investigates the design and evaluation of collaborative governance approaches for collaborations between stewardships groups and governments.