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I am interested in improving the ways we develop, evaluate and use process-based models of managed ecosystems. I use probability theory, frequently Bayesian, to account for uncertainties in data, model structures and model parameters. My focus is on ecosystems (forests, grasslands, agroforestry systems), but I find inspiration in the methods used in various disciplines (climate science, hydrology, environmental statistics, epidemiology, plant breeding and others). In recent years I have become especially interested in risk analysis, hierachical models and accounting for spatial variation in vegetation and soil properties.
I studied biology at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), specializing in mathematical methods. I graduated in 1985 and moved to Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR, Netherlands). In 1991 I received my PhD on "Identification of the major characteristics of potato cultivars which affect yield loss caused by late blight". Then followed two post-doc positions at WUR, on modelling the impacts of cyst nematodes on potatoes and of climate change and ozone pollution on wheat. In 1999, I moved to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH-Edinburgh, UK), working on a wide range of modelling studies on forests, coffee agroforestry systems and grasslands. The focus has been on explaining and predicting the impact of environmental change (climate, pollution, management) on vegetation.