Dr. Arie Staal

Universitair docent
Spatial Ecology and Global Change

I am Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Resilience at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. I study how feedbacks within ecosystems, and between ecosystems and the climate, amplify or dampen the effects of global changes. Much of my research has focuses on the Amazon rainforest, addressing the question whether global climate change and deforestation may trigger tipping points of self-propagating forest loss. A technique I use to understand regional-scale feedback between forests and rainfall is atmospheric moisture tracking, which is a method to model the atmospheric trajectories of water.

In 2020, I received an NWO VENI grant for my proposal “Recovering tropical forest resilience in the Anthropocene”. I am also involved in the ERC-Synergy project RESILIENCE. So far, I have published over 40 peer-reviewed articles, some of which have generated large scientific impact and gained much popular attention, for example through an NOS op 3 item about climate tipping points.

My teaching is mainly in the Environmental Change and Ecosystems track of the MSc program Sustainable Development. I coordinate the courses Environmental Systems Analysis and Quantifying Ecosystem Resilience to Global Environmental Change.