Who I am

An ecologist with an eye for a business approach, a dreamer and a doer, a generalist with attention for detail, a Belgian born in Germany and living in the Netherlands. Whichever label you put on me, love for nature is in my genes and approaching it with a creative twist is what I like. Ecology with an accent!

After graduating from the University of Antwerp as a botanist/vegetation ecologist with an extra Master’s diploma in human ecology and environmental impact assessment from the Free University of Brussels, I worked for a number of years as a research assistant.

At the University of Antwerp I gained experience in nature development and environmental impact assessment, and to this I added landscape ecology and remote sensing at the University of Leuven.

Subsequently, I worked for over 20 years at ECNC – European Centre for Nature Conservation, where I applied my broad range of skills and interests to policy development and implementation, interaction between science, policy and practice, communicating about biodiversity, developing nature indicators, creating and implementing international projects, stakeholder engagement to support nature (I am a certified facilitator), and carrying out targeted studies.

As a nature lover I’m convinced that nature and ecology should be given a more central role in society, from policy to business, from education to land managers, from organisations to individuals. I offer my knowledge and experience to work – with you – to make this a reality.

Would you like to know more? Then have a look at my Curriculum Vitae on LinkedIn or follow me on Facebook.

As a nature lover I’m convinced that nature and ecology should be given a more central role in society, from policy to business, from education to land managers, from organisations to individuals. I offer my knowledge and experience to work – with you – to make this a reality.

Previous experience

In my time at ECNC, University of Leuven and University of Antwerp I’ve developed a range of skills, services and products. Here’s a selection of some highlights:

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  • Working on the interface between science and policy, since 2004 I’ve been closely involved in the establishment and coordination of ALTER-Net, Europe’s ecosystem research network. I’ve led the work on science-policy interaction, contributed to communication and stakeholder engagement, and was an active member of the Management Board and the Council. In 2018 I joined the ALTER-Net membership and Council again in my new capacity as Delbaere Consulting.
  • I have been centrally involved, under the lead of the European Environment Agency, in the development and coordination of Europe’s biodiversity indicators, as adopted by the European Commission and used in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • I have been engaged in work at the European level on ecosystem services. My main interest in the subject is in its role as a communication instrument allowing the engagement of wider stakeholder groups, that are usually less involved in biodiversity conservation or ecosystem research. For example, I have led work on dissemination and impact as part of the European research project OpenNESS, which included my chairing of a large ecosystem services conference in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016. Also, I have led the secretariat of the European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity, which focuses on the services that biodiversity and ecosystems offer to support sustainable agriculture (e.g. pollination, pest control, erosion prevention).
  • I’ve been closely involved in writing proposals and implementing projects for the European Commission Directorate-General Research & Innovation (Framework Programmes) and for the EC DG Environment (service contracts). Other project experience is with national and regional governments, the Council of Europe, the European Environment Agency, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

  • The many projects that I’ve worked on allowed me to make connections between policy, science, practice and business, from local to global levels. I mobilise this knowledge when facilitating group processes, organising events, communicating, and contributing to publications. An example is my role as ECNC Editor in the Journal for Nature Conservation, which I helped establishing in 2001. Another example is the story I wrote about the connection between ecological field observations and European policymaking – The Journey of a Data Point.
  • At the local level I have been engaged in integrating biodiversity in local policy and planning across Europe. In Tilburg, the Netherlands, I have initiated, guided and monitored the establishment of a biodiversity garden in the city centre. As part of this process I got engaged as ecology champion in the application for a BREEAM sustainability certificate for the renovation of the Corpac House.
  • Over the years I’ve contributed to the development and maintenance of a number of European platforms in support of information and knowledge exchange in support of biodiversity and ecosystem services. I led the initial development of the EU biodiversity clearing-house, supported implementation of the Biodiversity Information System for Europe, and helped set up the Oppla platform for natural capital, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions, leading the establishment of its legal entity.
  • Since a number of years I am a guest lecturer at the University of Antwerp as part of an international course on ‘Conservation Biology and Society’ in the international master study ‘Conservation and Restoration’. My annual lecture is on international biodiversity treaties.

Affiliations

To keep my knowledge up to standards and stay in touch with my discipline I am a member of the following networks:

 

  • ALTER-Net, Europe’s Ecosystem Research Network. I joined the network in 2018, after having been involved in its setup in my previous occupation.
  • The Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP), Worldwide network to enhance the science, policy and practice of ecosystem services for conservation and sustainable development. I chaired the 8th ESP conference in 2016
  • Ecological Society of Middle Brabant (the Netherlands), a regional network of individuals that are engaged with ecology. I occasionally contribute with a presentation or to a publication
  • Eurosite, the network for Europe’s natural site managers
  • Oppla, knowledge marketplace for natural capital, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions. Co-owner since 2018
  • The Netherlands Association of Environment Professionals (VVM)
  • The Netherlands Association for Landscape Research (WLO)
  • A number of Dutch nature (conservation) organisations, with and active role as a volunteer (inventory and monitoring) with FLORON (Plant Conservation Netherlands) and the Dutch Butterfly Conservation