Georg Winkel appointed as professor of the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group

Published on
January 11, 2022

The Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research has appointed Prof. Georg Winkel as professor and chair of the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group as of 1 January 2022.

This chair group focuses on the political, social-economic and cultural dimensions of forests and nature. It covers current themes such as deforestation, forest transitions, climate change, biodiversity conservation and landscape management in the global North and South. Together with the group, Prof. Winkel aims to advance the understanding of major controversies related to forest and conservation policy worldwide, in addition to investigating human-nature interactions at more local levels in different social-ecological contexts.

Knowledge and discourses in forest & conservation policy

Photo of Georg Winkel

Prof. Winkel grew up in a nature-loving family and spent a lot of time outdoors in a small forest adjacent to his parents’ home. His observation of natural dynamics led to a strong interest in ecology and conservation early in his life. He studied Forest Sciences at the University of Freiburg, Germany (1995-2000), and spent one semester abroad at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland (1999). Subsequently, he focused on Forest and Conservation Policy with a PhD (2006) and a “Habilitation” (2014), both from the University of Freiburg. He specifically studied the role of knowledge and discourses in forest and conservation policy, which is his core research interest. In 2011, Prof. Winkel spent one year at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, USA, studying forest and nature conservation policy controversies in the US Pacific Northwest.

Resilience and governance

His strong interest in forest and conservation policy-making steered him towards a new position as Head of the social sciences research programmes at the European Forest Institute. Working in Finland (2015-2017) and Bonn, Germany (from 2017 onwards), he built up two out of three new research programmes of the institute (“Resilience” and “Governance”). These explore the interfaces of societal, policy and economics forces with forest ecosystems in Europe and beyond. In addition to research and management, his work encompassed a strong engagement at the science-policy interface. Prof. Winkel also held positions as associate professor at the Universities of Freiburg and Bonn, Germany.

Prof. Winkel: “I believe that Wageningen University & Research provides an exciting intercultural and interdisciplinary academic environment to generate new ideas and knowledge at the interfaces of different disciplines, and with society. It also aims at meaningful societal impact through insightful analysis and research-based academic education.”