Thesis subject

Spatial analysis to support agri-environmental policies for a reduction of pesticide use risks

The Environmental Systems Analysis Group provides the possibility for students to do their thesis in collaboration with our group. This is one of many possible thesis subjects. Please feel free to contact Dr Le Clech' (right) for more information.

Agricultural pesticide use is at the heart of current debates in agricultural policy. On the one hand, pesticides are essential for food security, i.e. to produce safe food in sufficient quantities. On the other hand, pesticide use has been shown to have adverse effects on the environment and human health., such as the pollution of ground and water surface.

The extent of the pollution of ground- and surface- waters by pesticides heavily depends on landscape characteristics such as slope, soil type or distance to waterbodies, amongst others. Efficient and effective agri-environmental policies that aim to reduce impacts of pesticide use should therefore take such differences into account.

The goal of this MSC thesis is twofold. First, it aims to discuss policy concepts and tools for the reduction of environmental externalities of input use in agriculture, especially with regard to policies for the reduction of risks from pesticide use. Focus should be laid on concepts and tools that explicitly take into account spatial characteristics and on the identification of the latter. Second, based on a spatial analysis at a regional level, it will suggest areas where the use of pesticide is particularly harmful to the surrounding environment, due for instance to the specific environmental conditions, the presence of protected or sensitive areas. Management and policy alternatives should be proposed to overcome the issue. The example of pesticide use and its effects on the pollution of ground- and surface waters in a to-be-defined specific study area should be used as a case study

This MSc thesis will be achieved in partnership with ETH Zurich (Switzerland; contact: Dr. Niklas Mörhing)

Start time: t.b.d.

Special requirements: The candidate should be able to perform (basic) spatial analysis.