N. Debonne MSc

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+31 20 59 82157
faculteit der aard- en levenswetenschappen ( cluster aarde en klimaat )
PhD researcher


Niels Debonne has been employed at the Environmental Geography Group, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, since January 2016 as a PhD researcher. His research aims at developing methods to model land use changes that emerge from telecoupled systems, and specifically as a consequence of large-scale land acquisitions. He conceptualizes and models novel trajectories of land change at the world region and global scale. This research is embedded in the GLOLAND ERC-project (Integrating human agency in global land change models) under the supervision of Prof. Peter Verburg.

Niels completed a Master of Science in Geography – Spatial analysis and GIS program at the University of Leuven and the VU Brussels, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography at the University of Leuven. While these programmes provided Niels with a broad background in human geography and physical geography, Niels developed a specific interest in human-environment interactions and the spatial analysis of these interactions. For his master thesis, Niels travelled to a remote forested area in Southwest Ethiopia to investigate the impact of rural in-migration on the forest. He developed an operational agent-based model of the human-environment interactions he observed.

Academic training

2013-2015Master of Science in Geography – Spatial analysis and GIS, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, magna cum laude
2010-2013Bachelor of Science in Geography, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Professional employment history

2016-presentPhD candidate at the Department of Earth Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2015Academic assistant, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven dep. Earth and Environmental Studies: developing a user interface for the ASSURE land change model
2014-2015GIS Operator Internship at Province of Flemish-Brabant

Recent projects


2016-presentGLOLAND: Integrating human agency in global-scale land change models

Ancillary activities

Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017