Biologist by training and skilled in development cooperation, my scientific interest lies in the area of social-ecological systems and nature conservation in West Africa savannas. In my interdisciplinary dissertation (completed at the Goethe-University Frankfurt) I investigated the benefits local rural communities obtain from provisioning ecosystem services such as non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Using both empirical natural and social science methods (field mapping, transect walks, ethnobotanical and household surveys, econometrics, participant observations, and niche-based modeling, amongst others), I examined recent and prospective links between ecosystem services and human well-being.
Besides my research, my major interest is to appropriately communicate knowledge to decision-makers and to strengthen their interaction and mutual learning with scientists and other knowledge holders in order to enhance informed decision-making. Working for the NeFo project (German Network-Forum on Biodiversity Research) based at the UFZ in Leipzig, Germany, I am currently particularly focusing on the stakeholder engagement with the newly established intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services IPBES. Together with IUCN, ICSU and European partners, we host the Stakeholder Day taking place prior to the official IPBES negotiations in December this year in Antalya, Turkey, and a side event on the (pan)-European perspective on IPBES. In addition, I will support the German involvement in IPBES-2 as member of the official German delegation.