The Management of Forested Landscapes applied research group focuses on restoring landscapes by developing climate-smart ecosystem management approaches in deltas and the systems that supply them. Our vision is one of green landscapes in which the maintenance and improvement of ecosystem services goes hand in hand with economic yields for people. We develop environmentally friendly solutions to maintain ecosystem services while also creating sustainable, nature-inclusive, climate-adaptive business models and short value chains. We work with the private sector, governments, research institutes and civil society to generate shared value with maximum positive impact, while also reducing social, economic and environmental risks. Within Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (HVHL), the applied research group works with the Forest and Nature Management, Animal Management (Wildlife Management specialisation), Business Administration and Agribusiness, International Agribusiness, Land and Water Management, and International Development Management study programmes, based on the three-pronged approach of practice, education and research.
A forested landscape is much more than just a few trees or shrubs on a piece of land. It can include anything from agricultural land, such as forest farm systems, to indigenous forests. People have always lived in forested landscapes: they’ve designed and shaped them, and have exploited them. Doing justice to this intrinsic connection requires us to adopt a mentality and approach in which nature, economic gain and social value all have their place. The fact is that forested landscapes are of vital importance to the 1.3 billion people who directly rely on them for their livelihoods. Restoring the landscape therefore doesn’t just mean strengthening natural capital. It’s also about developing nature-inclusive business models, generating innovative and environmentally friendly short value chains to boost local markets, and creating new forms of enterprise that contribute to the creation of a circular economy. This sustainable and climate-smart approach to development requires an integrated approach. The management of trees, land, water and animals must go hand in hand with broad, coordinated interventions that can deliver social and technological innovations that meet the needs of users.
The link between forested landscapes and food security
Conventional agriculture continues to provide food to a growing global population, but it does so at the expense of the earth’s natural capital. It’s estimated that by 2050 we will need to feed almost 10 billion people. We therefore face an inevitable choice: continue with our current model of food production, in which we damage and deplete the very source of our livelihoods, or switch to more resilient and adaptable food production systems that can create shared value.
Forest and tree-based systems are an important source of food production and nutrition. Forest farms (agroforestry), for example, are nature-inclusive agricultural systems that can provide more diverse and nutritious foods, and also improve ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and the provision of animal habitats. Forest farms can also offer new opportunities for innovative business models to supply a wider array of high-quality marketable products. In a world where intensification is still the accepted model, the transition to nature-inclusive food production systems won’t happen overnight. It will need a multifunctional and integrated approach to landscape management. Rural communities and business owners will need to be given the opportunity to participate in conceptualising new forested landscapes that provide both long-term economic viability and natural and social capital.
To help develop environmentally friendly climate-adaptive agriculture, we are conducting action-oriented research into innovative designs for agricultural production systems, such as forest farms. As part of that, we’re looking at circular resource use (e.g. soil and water conservation), viable business models and the equitable management of natural resources. We want to help the farmers of today, and those of the future, transition to climate-adaptive agriculture.
Eurídice Leyequién has worked for more than 15 years as a researcher and advisor on global changes in forested landscapes and agro-ecosystems, focusing on human-driven ecosystems such as forest farms. She is a senior researcher with national and international management experience. Eurídice was officially appointed as a lecturer in the Management of Forested Landscapes in 2016. Over the past four years, she and her team have set up projects in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Romania, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Brazil, funded by the European Union (see www.farm-life.eu), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see https://vimeo.com/371928517) and NUFFIC.
|Eurídice Leyequién Abarca, PhD |
Applied research group on Management of Forested Landscapes
|Albertien Kijne, MSc |
Tropical Crop Sciences, Horticulture
|Marcel Rompelman, PhD |
Land and Water Management
|Johan Meinderts, MSc |
Tropical Agriculture, Livestock Farming
|Daan van der Linde, MSc |
Leadership in Sustainability
|Pleun van Arensbergen, PhD |
|Ronald Boertje, MSc |
|Freek Rurup, MSc |
|Hans van den Dool, MSc |
|Suzanne van der Meulen, MSc |
Sustainable Regional Food Systems
|Peter van der Meer, PhD |
Lecturer in Sustainable Palm Oil and Tropical Forests
|Gina Reindsen |
Financial and Business Affairs
For more information on the Management of Forested Landscapes applied research group, please contact Euridice Leyequien Abarca or call +31 (0)58 284 63 31 (Nelleke Fledderus, secretariat).