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I am combining modeling and empirical methods to try to solve scientific problems in conservation biology. Much of my research interest has been, and still is, to better understand how animals use heterogeneous environments. Current questions include: How to assess the environmental quality that animals experience through their own behaviors? How do the movement behaviors of bees and bumblebees determine which landscapes they can inhabit? How do landscape characteristics determine the biocontrol effects that predators exert on agricultural pests?

Since several years I am also involved in transdisciplinary projects aiming at generally understanding the dependence of biodiversity and ecosystem services on landscape structure and land use. Among other things we will make a cost-efficiency analysis of one of the EU agri-environment schemes; is this agri-environment scheme an efficient way to gain or maintain biodiversity, or would other measures be more efficient.

Additionally, I am engaged in a project on the ecological and socio-economic effects of bushmeat hunting in African rainforests. We study how the seedling recruitment of trees changes when the large seed dispersers (gorillas, chimpanzees and drills) are exterminated by hunting. From this we should be able to project the long-term consequences in terms of forest composition, that will likely result from the hunting. The bushmeat hunting and trade generate economic profits, but it is not clear to what extent these are received by the local communities. It is also unknown what the long term costs to the local communities might be of losing primate dispersed tree species which are used for timber and non-timber purposes.

I teach mostly in Conservation Biology (BIOR37), and Risk Analysis (MVEC12), being the course leader for both courses.


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