About me

Nature and ecology deserve 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 happen.

Ben Delbaere

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. However you label 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 and a postgraduate degree in human ecology and environmental impact assessment from the Free University of Brussels, I was a research assistant for several years. In Antwerp I built up experience in nature development and environmental impact assessment, complemented by landscape ecology and remote sensing at the University of Leuven.

Subsequently, I worked for over 22 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, engaging stakeholders to support nature (I am a certified facilitator), and carrying out targeted studies.

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

Previous experiences

In my time at ECNC, University of Leuven and University of Antwerp, and as an independent ecologist I developed a range of skills, services and products. Find here a selection of some of my most relevant experiences.

Alternet

Since 2004 I’ve been closely involved in the establishment and coordination of Alternet, Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 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 Alternet and its Council again in my new capacity as Delbaere Consulting.

Biodiversity indicators

I have been centrally involved, under the lead of the European Environment Agency, in the development and coordination of SEBI - the Streamlined European biodiversity indicators, as adopted by the European Commission and used in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. I transferred this approach to the local level of Tilburg municipality.

Ecosystem services and nature-based solutions

I worked with ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘nature-based solutions’ (NBS) as communication tools, engaging stakeholders that are less involved in biodiversity matters. In 2016 I chaired the European ecosystem services conference. I headed the European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity, addressing how nature can support sustainable agriculture. For NEEMO I am the prime contact on ecosystem services, green infrastructure and NBS for the LIFE programme.

Project cycle support

I have experience in writing proposals and coordinating projects for applicants to European funds such as EC Research Framework Programmes (Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe), EC DG Environment service contracts and the European Environment Agency. I am expert evaluator of project proposals for the Horizon Programme and technical monitor of LIFE projects. I apply all logframe steps, from vision development to planning activities and resources.

Science-policy-society interaction

The many projects that I worked on allow me to make connections between policy, science, practice and business, between various research disciplines and policy sectors, from local to global levels. I mobilise this experience when facilitating group processes, organising events (e.g. in the OpenNESS project), communicating (e.g. BiodivERsA policy brief), contributing to publications (e.g. Bringing nature back through LIFE), or when participating in project consortia. projectconsortia.

Urban biodiversity

I integrate biodiversity in local policy and planning. In Tilburg, the Netherlands, I initiated and guided the creation of a biodiversity garden in the city centre. As part of this process I was assigned as ‘ecology champion’ for a BREEAM sustainability certificate for the renovation of the then ‘Corpac House’. Since 2020 I work with architects to include nature in building and settlement design.

Biodiversity information systems

I helped develop and maintain a number of European platforms for information and knowledge exchange on biodiversity and ecosystem services. I was centrally engaged in setting up the EU biodiversity clearing-house mechanism and the Biodiversity Information System for Europe. I helped create the Oppla platform for natural capital, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions, leading its launch as legal entity (which I co-manage since 2018).

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Memberships

To keep my knowledge up to standards and stay in touch with my discipline I am a member of relevant networks and associations.

Alternet

the European Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. I joined the network in 2018, after having been involved in its setup in my previous occupation.

Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP)

Worldwide network to enhance the science, policy and practice of ecosystem services for conservation and sustainable development.

Ecological Society of Middle Brabant (the Netherlands)

a regional network of individuals that are engaged with ecology.

Eurosite

the network for Europe’s natural site managers.

SER-Europe

the European Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration

VVM

The Netherlands Association of Environment Professionals, includes since 2022 the Netherlands Society for Landscape Ecology (WLO).

Interested in collaboration?
Contact me!