Wetenschap - 23 maart 1995

Work Experience Leads to PhD

Work Experience Leads to PhD

Niek van Duivenbooden's PhD thesis, Land Use Systems Analysis as a tool in Land Use Planning: with a special reference to North and West Africa agro-ecosystems, did not begin as a normal PhD. It developed as a result of his postgraduate work experience. After graduating with a diploma in Agricultural Engineering, he worked in Land Use Planning in North and West Africa, building up experience in Egypt, Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast.

During his time in Africa, Niek realized that the same problems in land use planning cropped up repeatedly. He admits, Results from land use planning projects may be under-utilized or abandoned. This could be avoided by involving the local planners from the start. There are other problems as well. For instance the data gathered locally sometimes is irrelevant to the model of land use planning, or data is quite simply not available. Sometimes the infrastructure has not been maintained. Then there is the issue of too much detail or too much overlap."

Observations on these problems, and suggestions for how to better understand and avoid them is the subject of his PhD thesis. Niek explains, We should first get the disciplines together to set common goals for a land use project. Including the local land use planners can be of mutual benefit. It has been difficult to include farmers goals in land use planning, since farmers often have difficulties making long term plans. This will require that we start working through NGO's (nongovernmental organizations) in order to translate farmers goals into scientific terms. After setting common goals we then need to carry out a multi-scale, multi-level analysis for an agro-ecological unit."

VRAAG = Niek defends his thesis on Wednesday March 29th a 16:00 in the Aula.

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