I am specialized in pyrogeography - the interdisciplinary study of the distribution and functioning of wildland fire. I am a board member of the International Association of Wildland Fire, the national delegate of The Netherlands to the EU Expert Group of Forest Fires, and coordinator of the newly funded Innovative Training Network PyroLife, that will train 15 PhD candidates to become the our new generation of integrated fire management experts. PyroLife will foster knowledge transfer from southern Europe to temperate Europe, and from cross-risk approaches including water management to fire. It thereby combines how the North solves community problems with fire knowledge from the European South, with a strong focus on diversity in terms of interdisciplinarity, science-practice links, geography and gender. With this, PyroLife will train young people to understand fire, deal with uncertainty, communicate risks, and stimulate knowledge exchange to improve awareness and preparedness for current and future fire challenges.
My fundamental research focuses on the impacts of human and natural disturbances on soils, water and landscapes. The themes I work on are broad, and include fire, ash, soil management, soil hydrology and interaction with plants. An important aspect in my work is scale, and how small-scale fundamental mechanisms translate into larger-scale impacts relevant for land and water managers. I enjoy connecting scientific disciplines and researchers not typically working together, working with students in my research, and communicating my work to stakeholders.
I actively engage the general public as well as public media to communicate my research to the broader public, and as such, I am a regular contributor to national and international media covering wildland fires on tv, radio, in newspapers and online. Those who follow me on Twitter (@dr_firelady) know my favorite outlet ever is het Jeugdjournaal (kids news program).