Ecosystem services are the contributions of nature to human well-being. Ecosystem services describe the interactions between nature and society and make the relation between the state of nature and human wellbeing explicit. The concept of ecosystem services is increasingly used in planning and management objectives aiming at both human development and nature protection. The integrated ecosystem service approach has been included in a range of national and regional policies, guides nature-based solutions projects, and forms part of the thinking behind the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Geo-information lies at the heart of ecosystem services research and practice. The supply of ecosystem services from nature and demand and use from society for ecosystem services vary across space and time. At ITC, we develop and use spatial monitoring, mapping and modelling approaches to describe ecosystem services, including participatory tools, GIS and earth observation techniques, and agent-based models. Our geo-science approaches are user-centered, aiming to improve the way ecosystem service information is used in decision making processes. We work on ecosystem services challenges across the world; in the Mediterranean basin, African drylands, European cities, and humid tropical areas, and we are especially driven in making a difference in low-income countries and emerging economies.

Research

Our scientific staff and PhD students in the field of ecosystem services cover the three main social-ecological systems: marine, urban and rural. The work is led by:


PhD candidates working with us are: Trinidad Del Rio, Nga P. Nguyen, Jarot Semedi, Tegegne M. Sitotaw, Charis Chalkiadakis and Leonardo Vargas (WUR).

PhD vacancies will be listed here. Please get in touch with us for self-funded PhD research oppertunities.

Major projects

Our main research projects on ecosystem services are:

We play a leading role in these networks:

Education & Training

ITC is known to be one of the top institutes worldwide in the field of Geo-information science and earth observation. At ITC, we train students to engineer approaches for designing future-oriented solutions to the world's biggest challenges. We encourage our students to participate in public-private partnership projects initiated by ITC and other organizations. At ITC, we teach and provide training on the foundations of ecosystem service assessments and applications. 

ITC MSc Course: Geo-information for ecosystem service management

Contact us for MSc thesis research opportunities.