Junior Researcher/Postdoc Land Use and Climate Change


VU Amsterdam


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Start Date

Monday, January 1, 2024

The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU is offering one fully-funded junior researcher or postdoc position for a duration of 20 months (depending on experience and salary scale) in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation through land use change. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to further develop the continental land use model CLUMondo (van Asselen and Verburg, 2013, Glob. Change Biol.) to study mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors in two case studies in Germany (South Westphalia) and Spain (Granollers). Specifically, the junior researcher or postdoc will examine how these two regions can contribute to mitigating climate change and adapting to more frequent droughts, heat stress, and flooding by modifying their cropland and forest systems using different scenarios. These scenarios will involve a combination of changes in demands and novel practices in land use, including reduced tillage, diversification of crops and forest stands, afforestation, and green infrastructure in cities among others. These changes will be coupled with improved spatial planning policies to achieve significant targets for reducing GHG emissions and adapting to global changes. In addition to addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, scenarios will also be assessed in terms of their ability to provide other services, such as habitats for biodiversity and water provisioning, while taking into account justice and equity perspectives to ensure that these pathways of change are fair and desirable for the local population. Such assessments will be conducted with spatially-explicit indicators and simple models allowing us to quantify ecosystem services in space and time. Ultimately, this assessment aims to identify potential spatially explicit trade-offs and synergies among services to guide decision-making in the promotion and implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures.

The junior researcher or postdoc will work in the international KNOWING project (https://knowing-climate.eu/), funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe framework with 16 other institutes. The KNOWING project aims to develop a modelling framework to help understand and quantify the interactions between impacts and risks of climate change, mitigation pathways and adaptation strategies across different sectors (agriculture, forestry, urban, energy, transport). The framework will focus on three main climate impact: 1) Heat waves & health, (2) Soil, forest and agriculture (which this junior researcher or postdoc will focus on) and (3) Flooding & infrastructure (including river and coastal flooding).

The candidate will work closely with a postdoc and with two staff members from the Environmental Geography and Water and Climate Risk sections of the Institute. Different models will be adapted and developed for different climate impact contexts, and the candidate is expected to collaborate with other project partners to link the results from the land use model with other models (flood, health impact, …).