No. 2 • August 2018


Selected research highlights

Urban waterAre cities sufficiently prepared for climate change? Answering this question critically involves considering institutions (the rights, rules and procedures that influence how multiple actors interact to make decisions and take action). Institutions influence to a large extent whether or not cities are adaptive in the face of evolving pressures, shocks, and societal expectations under climate change. Yet existing institutions are inadequately prepared for these challenges. Institutional innovation is needed to enable cities to better prepare for climate change impacts and risks.
A recent report by IVM’s James Patterson presents an overview of findings from a global survey of 96 cities across the globe exploring institutional innovation for urban water adaptation. This appears to be achieving some modest progress to date in addressing various climate-related risks (e.g. urban water supply, flooding, and sewage/sanitation risks) and increasing social preparedness (e.g. increased awareness among decision-makers). 

Read more

Mediterranen RegionIVM’s Žiga Malek and Peter Verburg, with co-researchers from France, studied two future scenarios on how to deal with future increases in the demand for crops, livestock and urban areas in the Mediterranean region. The results were published in a recent article in Global Environmental Change. In short, increasing food production, while expanding the network of protected areas and reducing water withdrawal is possible. However, this requires increases in cropland productivity and improved irrigation efficiency and leads to higher pressure of agricultural activities on Mediterranean multifunctional agro-silvo-pastoral landscapes. 

Read more

Cost modelRestrictions on the use of environmentally harmful substances can be costly. These costs have to be justified by the benefits in terms of avoided damage to health and nature. However, in the case of persistent and bioaccumulative substances such benefits are often hard to predict, since these substances tend to have uncertain impacts occurring through complex mechanisms, far away and in a distant future. IVM’s Frans Oosterhuis, together with researchers from Wageningen and the German Fraunhofer Institute, has contributed to a new approach that relates the costs of controlling persistent substances to the dynamics of their presence (stocks) in the environment and potential impacts. This approach can be used for socio-economic analysis under the EU’s chemicals regulation (REACH). The study was done for the European Commission, DG GROW. 

Read more

RegenmeterHuman activity has a profound influence on river discharges, hydrological extremes and water-related hazards, like flooding, droughts, water scarcity and water quality issues. As a result, research efforts have been made to parameterize human activity in global hydrological models (GHMs). These model parameterizations include the incorporation of dam and reservoir operations, the representation of human water use and return flows, and representations of land use, land management and land cover change.
A recent article in Environmental Research Letters, by lead-author Ted Veldkamp and other IVM colleagues, shows that the inclusion of human impact parameterization (HIP) improves the performance of the GHMs, both in managed and near-natural catchments. The bias of the long-term mean monthly discharge decreases in 36%-73% of the studied catchments, and the modelled hydrological variability improves in 31%-74% of the studied catchments. Including HIP in the GHMs also leads to an improvement in the simulation of hydrological extremes, compared to when HIP is excluded. 

Read more

Education news

IVM’s master’s course Environmental and Resource Management (ERM) had a fruitful 2017-2018 vintage, with some 70 students expecting to obtain their MSc degree shortly after the summer break. Meanwhile we are full steam preparing for the new ERM course, starting in September, with an even higher number of participants, and with a new course coordinator: Fujin Zhou. At the same time, as already mentioned in the previous issue of this Newsletter, a new specialization will start in the biennial Earth Sciences Master programme: Global Environmental Change and Policy.

Featured recent publications

Chan, S., Ellinger, P. & Widerberg, O. (2018). Exploring national and regional orchestration of non-state action for a < 1.5 °C world. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 18(1), 135–152.

Coester, A., Hofkes, M.W. & Papyrakis, E. (2018). An optimal mix of conventional power systems in the presence of renewable energy: A new design for the German electricity market. Energy Policy, 116, 312–322.

De Loë, R.C. & Patterson, J.J. (2018). Boundary Judgments in Water Governance: Diagnosing Internal and External Factors that Matter in a Complex World. Water Resources Management, 32(2), 565–581.

D’Odorico, P., Davis, K. F. , Rosa, L., Carr, J.A., Chiarelli, D., Dell’Angelo, J., Gephart, J., MacDonald, G.K., Seekell, D.A., Suweis , S.& Rulli, M.C. (2018). The Global Food‐Energy‐Water Nexus. Reviews of Geophysics.

De Perez, E.C., van Aalst, M., Bischiniotis, K., Mason, S., Nissan, H., Pappenberger, F., Stephens, E., Zsoter, E. & van den Hurk, B. (2018). Global predictability of temperature extremes. Environmental Research Letters, 13(5), 1–13.

Fuchs, R., Prestele, R. & Verburg, P.H. (2018). A global assessment of gross and net land change dynamics for current conditions and future scenarios. Earth System Dynamics, 9(2), 441–458.

Heino, M., Puma, M.J., Ward, P.J., Gerten, D., Heck, V., Siebert, S. & Kummu, M. (2018). Two-thirds of global cropland area impacted by climate oscillations. Nature Communications, 9, 1257.

Hersperger, A.M., Oliveira, E., Pagliarin, S., Palka, G., Verburg, P., Bolliger, J. & Grădinaru, S. (2018). Urban land-use change: The role of strategic spatial planning. Global Environmental Change, 51, 32–42.

Hinkel, J., Aerts, J.C. J.H., Brown, S., Jiménez, J.A., Lincke, D., Nicholls, R.J., Scussolini, P., Sanchez-Arcilla, A., Vafeidis, A. & Addo, K.A. (2018). The ability of societies to adapt to twenty-first-century sea-level rise. Nature Climate Change, 8, 570–578.

Huitema, D., Jordan, A., Munaretto, S. & Hildén, M. (2018). Policy experimentation: core concepts, political dynamics, governance and impacts. Policy Sciences, 51(2), 143–159.

Kind, J.M., Baayen, J.H. & Botzen, W.J.W. (2018). Benefits and Limitations of Real Options Analysis for the Practice of River Flood Risk Management. Water Resources Research, 54(4), 3018–3036. 

Komossa, F., van der Zanden, E.H., Schulp, C.J.E. & Verburg, P. (2018). Mapping landscape potential for outdoor recreation using different archetypical recreation user groups in the European Union. Ecological Indicators, 85, 105–116.

MacFadyen, S., Zambatis, N., van Teeffelen, A.J.A. & Hui, C. (2018). Long-term rainfall regression surfaces for the Kruger National Park, South Africa: a spatio-temporal review of patterns from 1981 to 2015. International Journal of Climatology, 38(5), 2506–2519.

Oleson, K.L.L., Grafeld, S., van Beukering, P., Brander, L., James, P.A.S. & Wolfs, E. (2018). Charting progress towards system-scale ecosystem service valuation in islands. Environmental Conservation.

Patterson, J.J., Thaler, T., Hoffman, M., Hughes, S., Chu, E., Mert, A., Huitema, D., Burch, S. & Jordan, A. (2018). Political feasibility of 1.5°C societal transformations: the role of social justice. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 31, 1–9.

Robinson, P.J. & Botzen, W.J.W. (2018). The impact of regret and worry on the threshold level of concern for flood insurance demand: Evidence from Dutch homeowners. Judgment and Decision Making, 13(3), 237–245.

Scholte, S.S.K., Daams, M., Farjon, H., Sijtsma, F.J., van Teeffelen, A.J.A. & Verburg, P.H. (2018). Mapping recreation as an ecosystem service: Considering scale, interregional differences and the influence of physical attributes. Landscape and Urban Planning, 175, 149–160.

van den Bergh, J.C. J.M. & Botzen, W.J.W. (2018). Global impact of a climate treaty if the Human Development Index replaces GDP as a welfare proxy. Climate Policy, 18(1), 76–85.

van der Woerd, H.J. & Wernand, M.R. (2018). Hue-angle product for low to medium spatial resolution optical satellite sensors. Remote Sensing, 10(2), 1–18.

van Dooren, C., Aiking, H. & Vellinga, P. (2018). In search of indicators to assess the environmental impact of diets. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 23(6), 1297–1314.

Veldkamp, T.I.E., Zhao, F., Ward, P., de Moel, H., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Schmied, H.M., Portmann, F.T., Masaki, Y., Pokhrel, Y., Liu, X., Satoh, Y., Gerten, D., Gosling, S.N., Zaherpour, J. & Wada, Y. (2018). Human impact parameterizations in global hydro-logical models improve estimates of monthly discharges and hydrological extremes: A multi-model validation study. Environmental Research Letters, 13(5), 1–6.

Jordan, A., Huitema, D., van Asselt, H. & Forster, J. (eds) (2018). Governing Climate Change. Polycentricity in Action? Cambridge University Press.

IVM in the spotlight

In the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad IVM’s Onno Kuik commented on a recent publication by PBL (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency) that estimates the environmental damage in the Netherlands at some € 31 billion per year.

RembrandtparkVisitors of the Amsterdam Rembrandtpark can use the ‘Mijn Park’ app to report how they use and experience this green space. The results will be used in the plans for a major renovation of the park, which will start in 2019. IVM’s Environmental Geography section participates in this research, which takes place within the framework of the European LandSense project. Several media, including the Parool newspaper, have paid attention to the app.

Staff and organisation news

Fujin Zhou has joined IVM’s Environmental Economics section as a teacher and researcher. She will also be coordinating the ERM course, as a successor to Bianca van der Kroon, who left IVM and now works at RVO, where she will be dealing with energy access in developing countries.

Emmy Bergsma returned to IVM as a guest researcher, primarily on the topics of water quality and drought. Emmy also works at KWR.

Astrid van Teeffelen has accepted a job as team leader at the ecology consultancy firm Ecogroen. Astrid will remain a part-time employee of IVM until the end of 2018.

Reinhard Prestele took a job at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Christine Ornetsmüller moved from IVM to Commonland, a company devoted to landscape restoration.

Mehmet Kutluay has swapped IVM for ING, where he is working as a data scientist.

Upcoming events

10 September 2018, 15:45 h: PhD defence Sandra MacFadyen. Thesis title: ‘Linking long-term patterns of landscape heterogeneity to changing ecosystem processes in the Kruger National Park, South Africa’.

13 September 2018, 15:45 h: PhD defence Julia Stürck. Thesis title: ‘Mapping and modelling spatio-temporal dynamics of ecosystem services and land use change in the EU’.

8 October 2018: PhD defence Erin Coughlan. Thesis title: ‘Forecast based financing of disaster risk reduction measures’.

16 November 2018, 13:45 h: PhD defence Toon Haer. Thesis title: ‘Integrating adaptation behaviour in flood risk analysis – an agent-based approach’.