Postdoc: Land system science tools for assessing pathways toward achieving global biodiversity targets


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / Wyss Academy for Nature


Saturday, December 31, 2022

Start Date

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

This project will synthesize the extent to which land system science based assessment methods are able to impact on decision making towards implementing sustainability goals. We will use the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework as a case.

Achieving biodiversity targets might create unanticipated negative consequences for human livelihoods, other sustainability dimensions or (indirectly) biodiversity through demands and influences on land use in places distinct and distant from those where the CBD goals and targets are implemented.
The postdoc will work with a small core team of land system scientists (Peter Verburg, Erle Ellis and Yves Zinngrebe) while engaging the larger land system science community.

The succesful candidate is expected to use (some of) the following methodological approaches: 1) Document analysis of relevant CBD decisions and National targets (with focus on the EU and France); 2) Review of previous studies on unanticipated spillovers of selected Aichi Targets and Biofuel directives, and how land system science based assessments were made to analyze these, and what the policy impact of these studies was; 3) Selection of a set of tools based on the previous steps that are expected to allow assessment of the GBF implementation with high policy relevance (including value chain analysis (e.g. TRASE), land use modelling (global economic modelling and spatial land use modelling) and environmental and social impact analysis); 3) Employment of the selected set of tools on the analysis of land system consequences of the CBD/GBF; 4) Participation in expert processes and engagement in events relevant for CBD to analyze the potential of the tools and assessments of having policy impact. A more detailed description of the envisioned project is at:

The position is financed as a synthesis effort of the Wyss Academy for Nature. The project will be guided by a group of land system scientists at different institutes worldwide and the postdoc will have the opportunity to make working visits to those labs. The appointment is hosted at VU Amsterdam and the candidate is expected to spend the majority of time in Amsterdam.

Your duties

  • conduct research and publish peer-reviewed papers
  • provide model-based assessments of alternative ways of implementing progress towards newly agreed biodiversity targets
  • engage with the land system science community and relevant science-policy interaces
  • provide an outlook for the land system science community on knowledge gaps in assessment methods for analyzing sustainability targets and impacting on decision making