dr. A.P.E. (Alexander) van Oudenhoven

  • Postdoc
  • Ecosystem services
  • Coastal ecosystems
  • Framework development
  • Building with Nature
  • Indicators

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7473
E-Mail: a.p.e.van.oudenhoven@cml.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Centrum voor Milieuwetenschappen Leiden, CML/Conservation Biology
Office Address: Van Steenis gebouw
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number A305

Professional experience

Alexander van Oudenhoven is an environmental scientist who specializes in quantifying and conceptualizing ecosystem services, the benefits provided by nature, in relation to environmental management and planning; how does ‘hard’ coastal management (e.g. concrete dykes and barriers) compare to ‘building with nature’ management in terms of coastal protection and fishery enhancement, and which ecosystem services do we gain or lose when we use our natural resources more intensively? Alexander joined CML in May 2015. He is a postdoctoral researcher as part of the STW-funded NatureCoast project.

Next to his work at Leiden University, Alexander is also Lead Author at the 'Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services' (IPBES). Open to all United Nations member countries,  IPBES has become the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society. Alexander is responsible for the Regional Assessment for Europe and Central Asia. In addition, Alexander is also Managing Editor of the Int. J. of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management (IJBESM).

Alexander graduated from Wageningen University in 2008, where he obtained both his BSc and his MSc degree in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Systems Analysis. He did an internship at the World Resources Institue (Washington, D.C.), analyzing ecosystem service indicators in sub-global Millennium Assessments and ways to improve REDD+ schemes and assessments thereof. His MSc thesis dealt with the impacts of climate change on the spatial distribution of the oak procecessionary caterpillar(Thaumetopoea processionea), which constitutes a major health problem in western Europe. This work was done in collaboration with De Natuurkalender(‘Nature’s Calendar’), for which Alexander continued to work on spatial assessments of ticks (Lyme disease) and predicting pollen development (hay fever).

Between 2009 and early 2015, Alexander was a PhD researcher at Wageningen University, which he combined with several other research projects. His research aim was to quantify the effects of management on ecosystem services (thesis). Alexander developed a framework for indicator selection and applied and tested this framework during case studies in National Landscape ‘Het Groene Woud’ (The Netherlands), mangrove systems in Java (Indonesia) and semi-arid rangelands, both globally and in the Eastern Cape (Southern Africa). Next to his PhD, he also took part in several projects with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), developing a database of ecosystem services in relation to biodiversity, land use, land cover and management.

Finally, Alexander also participated in a trans-disciplinary project in Indonesia called ‘Mangrove Capital’, together with colleagues from Deltares, Wetlands International, Nature Conservancy, Indonesian universities and several other partners. Findings of Alexander and colleagues have inspired local decision makers to consider mangrove ecosystem services in their coastal management plans for the coming years.

Research topic

Regular coastal sand nourishments with ±5 year intervals have been necessary to strengthen the Dutch coasts for decades, but the ‘Sand Motor’ is a mega-nourishment; around 21 million m3 of sand have been deposited along the Ter Heijde coast, which should be sufficient for the next twenty years or so. Twelve PhD students from many different universities have been studying various aspects of the Sand Motor, ranging from the morphological trends, hydrology, geochemistry, ecology to the governance of such a structure. One of Alexander’s tasks is the integration of NatureCoast’s research data into quantitative ecosystem services information. Of particular interest will be the comparison between the Sand Motor and regular sand nourishments, as well as natural references. Another key aspect of Alexander’s work relates to the development of a framework to conceptualize and quantify the provision of coastal ecosystem services, and to communicate their importance to stakeholders and decision makers.

Because several international stakeholders (governments, tourism sector etc.) have also shown interest in the Sand Motor as a tool to strengthen their coasts, Alexander and his colleagues are also looking into possibilities to apply the general concept of the Sand Motor on other locations.

Last Modified: 26-02-2016