Photo de Nicolas DENDONCKER
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Profil personnel


I entered the research world with a Masters in geography, specialised in land use science. During my PhD in Geography at UCLouvain (Belgium), I developed large-scale models of land use change for Europe, according to different socio-economic and climate change scenarios. Though this generated land use change maps that have been used quite a few times to assess impacts of these changes on biodiversity and, to a lesser extent, ecosystem services, I was unsatisfied for two reasons. First, by looking at spatial statistics over large extents you only get a glimpse of correlations but have no idea about causalities. Second, such results may be significant to science but lack clear impacts on decision-making. 

During my Postdoc at the University of Edinburgh, I turned to agent-based modelling of land use change at the local scale and started working with sociologists in addition to ecological scientists. This led me to try and understand people and farmers’ motivations to act on the environment, and to start interacting with decision-makers. I strongly believe that science should not only be interdisciplinary but rather transdisciplinary, i.e. try to interact with civil society and decision-makers in order to accelerate the much-needed transition to sustainability. Hence, scientists should generally be issue advocates, acknowledging their non-neutrality and the normative character of all research.

As a professor of geography at the University of Namur (back in Belgium), I try to pass this message to my students, and argue that a change in our agricultural systems is the first necessary step towards sustainability. Lately, I have become interested in the issue of inclusive valuation of Ecosystem Services as a tool to reduce social inequalities, create positive environmental change, and question our Western democracies.

My research teams focuses on ecosystem services, sustainable agriculture, land use change, and biodiversity. I teach issues such as landscape analysis and planning, cartography and GIS, history and epistemology of geography.



Domaines de compétence

-Land Use Change
-Ecosystem Services
-Agro-environmental measures
-Participatory Approaches
-Agent-Based Modelling
-Scenario Modelling

Charges externes

-Senior Editor of Journal: Regional Environmental Change

-Co-coordinator of the Belgium Ecosystem Services science-policy platform (BEES)

-Co-coordinator of the global Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) working group on inclusive valuation of ecosystem services

-Scientific partner of the Walloon Platform for Ecosystem Services (WALES)

-Member of the Scientific Committee of EFESE, the French initiative for mapping and assessing ecosystem services

I have acted as a referee for international peer-reviewed journals such as:
-Global Change Biology
-Ecology and Society
-Journal of Land Use Science
-Soil Use and Management
-Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment


-PhD en Sciences (Géographie), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL, Belgium). 08/2006.
-DEA en Sciences (Géographie), UCL, 09/2004.
-Licence en Sciences Géographiques, UCL, 09/2002.
-Diplôme de Guide Nature, cercle des naturalistes de Belgique, 2007

Qualification académique

Docteur ès sciences, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)

Date d'octroi: 30 août 2006

Empreinte digitale

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