Inclusive Nature Conservation

Climate change, pollution and overexploitation are putting tropical forests and coral reefs under pressure. This threatens biodiversity and the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The Inclusive Nature Conservation research group therefore conducts practice-oriented research on nature conservation, environmental justice and poverty alleviation. 

Why this research group? 

  • By conducting practice-oriented research, the research group helps to use, conserve and restore biodiversity. And to strengthen the livelihoods and rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. 
  • To this end, the research group works intensively with local governments and international conservation organisations, such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Tropenbos International.
  • Students do research or internships with the research group. Some of the topics they address include the sustainable use of natural resources, the impact of international trade chains, environmental crime, common nature management and ecological restoration. 

Mission and vision 

The Inclusive Nature Conservation research group conducts practice-oriented research on the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of nature. 

Research lines 

These are the three lines of research the research group works with: 

  1. Common nature management: Local communities play a central role in sustainable land use and conservation. But they cannot do that alone. How can governments and civil society organisations best support and scale up local initiatives? 
  2. Environmental justice: Environmental crime causes considerable damage to nature and the environment, and threatens the livelihoods of local communities. How do we strengthen monitoring and enforcement of nature and environmental legislation? 
  3. Nature restoration: By restoring degraded ecosystems, we contribute to the livelihoods and welfare of local communities. But projects to remove invasive plant and animal species or reintroduce potentially dangerous species are often controversial. How do we create local support for nature restoration? 


Geographically, the research group focuses on the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius). There, the research group - together with civil society organisations and local authorities - conducts practice-oriented research projects. 

On Bonaire, for example, we work together with Bonaire National Parks Foundation (STINAPA) to strengthen the management of the Bonaire National Marine Park. And we are championing the restoration of coral reefs and small-scale fisheries on the islands. 


The academic publications written by the Inclusive Nature Conservation research group are the result of practice-oriented research on nature conservation, environmental justice and poverty alleviation. 

Key publications 

All the research group’s publications are available on Greeni, the online library for the green universities of applied sciences. 

About the lecturer 

Lecturer Jan van der Ploeg studied Sociology of Development at Leiden University. Between 2001 and 2008, he worked in the Philippines, as coordinator of the university's field station. There, he set up a project to protect the critically endangered Philippine crocodile in the wild: the Mabuwaya Foundation

From 2015 to 2018, Jan led a research programme of WorldFish in the Solomon Islands, on small-scale fisheries. In the Caribbean Netherlands, he subsequently served as director of Bonaire National Parks Foundation (STINAPA). Since April 2023, he has been a lecturer in Inclusive Nature Conservation at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. 

"As a research group, we try to bridge the gap between scientific research and conservation. We translate scientific knowledge into practice. And we support conservation organisations and local governments in finding effective, fair and practical solutions to use, conserve and restore biodiversity." 

Knowledge network 

The research group works closely with several conservation organisations. Such as: 

In the Caribbean Netherlands, there is intensive cooperation with: 

Students from various study programmes at HVHL conduct research or do internships with the research group, including: 

Want to know more? 

Want to know more about the Inclusive Nature Conservation research group? Interested in the possibilities of working together? Or perhaps an internship or graduation project? Call or email: 

Dr Jan van der Ploeg 
Lecturer in Inclusive Nature Conservation 

Email: [email protected] 
Telephone: +31 6 22 40 85 14 

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