Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 København K
I have a scientific background in human-environmental aspects of the geographical sciences (with a doctoral dissertation addressing human-environment interaction and sustainability in Sahelian land use systems). More specifically my research addresses issues related to natural resource management and land use strategies, including adaptation to climate change. The focus is on land use and land cover systems viewed in a landscape ecological as well as in interdisciplinary, land change science perspective, i.e. relating land use dynamics to their larger scale driving forces of biophysical, cultural, socio-economic, institutional or demographic nature. Global land uses, telecoupling and large land acquisitions are recent issues of interest.
I have experience as international research coordinator, e.g. as chair of the scientific steering committee of The Global Land Project (joint research agenda under IHDP (International Human Dimension Programme) and IGBP (International Geosphere Biosphere Programme)), and earlier on in connection with UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme (late 1980s), in WHO’s Ecological Expert Group (ONCHO-programme) as well as in the governing board of the international research institution ICRAF. I have worked with interdisciplinary research efforts as center director for one of the SMP-centers from 1994-2000 (Danish Strategic Environmental Program), involving researchers from anthropology, biology, geography and sociology, and currently as partner in the ERC Waterworlds project.
Current major research projects
LaSyRe: A region wide assessment of land system resilience and climate robustness in the agricultural frontline of Sahel - the triple exposure of local livelihood strategies and food provision to climate change, population pressure and globalization. (funded by FFU-Danida)
The ambition of this project is to employ presently scattered knowledge to create a coherent, region wide overview of the agricultural systems in the drier parts of the Sahel. By bringing systematic monitoring together with novel, conceptual models for coupled human-environmental systems, we aim at providing policy relevant insight that can foster alternative scenarios for development of resilient livelihood strategies and food security. www.lasyresahel.ku.dk
Waterworlds: Natural Environmental Disasters and Social Resilience in Anthropological Perspective (funded by the European Research Council, lead professor Kirsten Hastrup).
The ambition of the research project is to study local, social responses to environmental disasters related to water, as spurred by the melting of ice in the Arctic and in mountainous glacier areas, the rising of seas that flood islands and coastal communities across the globe, and the drying of lands accelerating desertification in large parts of Africa and elsewhere. The aim is to contribute to a renewed theory of social resilience that builds on the actualities of social life in distinct localities, thus focusing on human agency as the basis for people's quest for certainty in exposed environments. My contribution concerns the Sahelian drylands. www.waterworlds.ku.dk
Rethinking Global Land Uses in an Urban Era. This major book project is funded by the Ernst Strungmann Forum, Germany, and will be published by MIT Press (2013/14). I am the co-editor together with Karen Seto, Yale University.
Objectives are: 1)To reinvent land change science by integrating new theoretical concepts with emerging real world trends in land use, urbanization, and globalization. 2) To understand the growing competition for access to and use of productive land given finite land resources. 3) To identify the new forms of distal land connection in the 21st century and their implications for global land use and society. 4) To identify the effects of increasing global land connections and competition on local land use decisions and emergent global land governance. 5) To identify new agents and practices in global land use. 6) To make explicit the normative evaluations (efficiency, equity, justice, etc.) as applied to land use.