PhD Saskia Keesstra

Senior Researcher University of Wageningen and Designer Producer Land Use Transformation in Climate-KIC

Climate resilient and sustainable landscape management: Using Process knowledge for sustainable development. My main research focus revolves around understanding land system dynamics in a holistic way by incorporating both processes in soils and landscapes as well as the socio-economic elements of the land system. Process knowledge enables explanation of the impact of natural (climate change, fire regimes) and human drivers (land and water management, policy and governance) on the soil and landscape system and which consequences these drivers have for water and sediment connectivity, climate resilience and mitigation. Improved understanding of the soil, sediment and water dynamics will empower sustainable land and water management and mitigate threats like soil erosion, off-side water and sediment accumulation, wild fire threats and with the help of nature’s forces (NBS). Working together with stakeholders (farmers, industry and policy makers) to find solutions is essential, as only then we can find usable, acceptable tools for sustainable land and water management to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Specific attention lies with resilient soils (through soil carbon sequestration and enhancing soil biodiversity) and (bio)diverse landscapes; to achieve the goals related to climate adaptation and mitigation, land and water sustainability. In addition, I also focus on methodology development, specifically I work on developing tools to get a grip on filling the scale gap between field/laboratory measurements, drones and satellite imagery, using upscaling as well as downscaling as approaches.