Permanent (full-time) scientific vacancy in the field of “The health of forest ecosystems”

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Mar 2022

A position of first assistant, in the field of The health of forest Ecosystems, attached to the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech Faculty (single department).

In Europe, recurrent droughts affect how forests function and make them more susceptible to fire, disease and attacks by pests, such as bark beetles. Thousands of hectares of diseased trees have had to be felled in recent years. When it comes to reforesting these areas, questions arise as to how to optimise the ways in which they are composed and managed. At the same time, forests in the tropics are being affected by global change. Their surface area is shrinking, and the landscape is becoming fragmented, mainly due to agricultural conversion and charcoal production. Tree mortality rates are increasing due to increased seasonality and large fauna are disappearing due to poaching. The way in which they function is being disrupted, their role as a carbon sink is diminishing and zoonotic diseases are increasing. Given the many ecosystem services provided by these ecosystems, close monitoring of their biodiversity and health status, in relation to human and animal health, is necessary. This monitoring should be based on networks of field-based approaches. It must also use efficient tools to document threats and deal with them quickly. This notion of “health” should be considered in a broad sense and from the perspective of maintaining ecosystem services over the long term.

Teaching activities

The successful candidate will support teaching at GxABT, both in the Bachelor’s degree (courses in Forest Ecosystem Management, Biosphere, Agriculture, Society, Current Environmental Issues) and in the Master’s degree in Bioengineering in Forest and Natural Area Management (modules on Forest Health, Tropical Forestry, Silviculture) They will also support teaching of the interfaculty Master’s “One Health” degree (ecosystems part).

Research Activities

The Forest is Life research and teaching support unit (CARE) has a unique wildlife monitoring network, both in Wallonia and in Central Africa. It also houses a very high resolution remote sensing platform. The scientists involved in the CARE have a wide range of skills and integrating these skills into research would enable the design of effective monitoring systems for intact and damaged forests, plantations, urban forests and agroforests. The successful candidate will be able to analyse this monitoring data to design (1) preventive management methods adapted to the threats and crises facing temperate and tropical (agro)forestry systems and (2) crisis management systems based on innovative real-time information transmission tools.

Services to the Community

Due to issues currently being addressed (deforestation, degradation, climate impacts, etc.) and the geographical scope, the successful candidate will be able to make a useful contribution to the following dynamics and structures within the University: Viva Science, Green Office, Pacodel, Open Science, and with regard to the faculty themes of sustainable campus and international mobility. Synergies with the university NGO Eclosio will be sought.

Other community service activities will be determined in consultation with senior staff.

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