Birka Wicke is an assistant professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (Faculty of Geosciences) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She conducts research on bioenergy with specific focus on integrated modelling and strategies for sustainable production of bioenergy feedstocks. This includes work on indirect land use change and how it may be mitigated.


Scientific expertise
biomass and bioenergy
greenhouse gas balances and accounting
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Curriculum vitae

2012 - Current: 
Assistant professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

2011- 2012: 
Senior researcher at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

PhD candidate / junior researcher at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University; focusing on bioenergy production on degraded and marginal land

Master of Science in Sustainable Development (Track Energy & Resources) at Utrecht University; graduated with cum laude

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Environmental Science at Tulane University (New Orleans, LA, USA) graduated cum laude   
(1999 - 2001: Majoring in Mathematics and Environmental Science at University of North Carolina at Asheville (Asheville, NC, USA))

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For an up-to-date overview of my scientific publications, please see the following links:

Author profile in Scopus (Subscription needed)

Author profile in Google Scholar


Newest publications:

Goh, C.S., Potter, L., Faaij, A.P.C., Junginger, M., Wicke, B., 2018. Identifying key factors for mobilizing under-utilised low carbon land resources: A case study on Kalimantan. Land Use Policy 70: 198-211.

Daioglou, V., Doelman, J., Stehfest, E., Wicke, B., Faaij, A.P.C, van Vuuren, D.P., 2017 Greenhouse-gas emissions of advanced biofuel supply. Nature Climate Change 7, 920924.

Kluts, I., Wicke, B., Leemans, R., Faaij A.P.C. 2017. Sustainability constraints in determining European bioenergy potential: a review of existing studies and steps forward. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 69: 719-734.

All publications
  2018 - Scholarly publications
Goh, Chun Sheng, Junginger, Martin, Potter, Lesley, Faaij, André & Wicke, Birka (01.01.2018). Identifying key factors for mobilising under-utilised low carbon land resources - A case study on Kalimantan. Land Use Policy, 70, (pp. 198-211) (14 p.).
  2017 - Scholarly publications
Brinkman, Marnix L J, Wicke, Birka & Faaij, André P C (2017). Low-ILUC-risk ethanol from Hungarian maize. Biomass and Bioenergy, 99, (pp. 57-68) (12 p.).
Daioglou, Vassilis, Doelman, Jonathan C., Stehfest, Elke, Müller, Christoph, Wicke, Birka, Faaij, Andre & van Vuuren, Detlef P. (2017). Greenhouse gas emission curves for advanced biofuel supply chains. Nature Climate Change, 7, (pp. 920-924).
Gerssen-Gondelach, Sarah J., Lauwerijssen, Rachel B G, Havlík, Petr, Herrero, Mario, Valin, Hugo, Faaij, Andre P C & Wicke, Birka (01.03.2017). Intensification pathways for beef and dairy cattle production systems - Impacts on GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 240, (pp. 135-147) (13 p.).
Goh, Chun Sheng, Wicke, Birka, Potter, Lesley, Faaij, André, Zoomers, Annelies & Junginger, Martin (01.01.2017). Exploring under-utilised low carbon land resources from multiple perspectives - Case studies on regencies in Kalimantan. Land Use Policy, 60, (pp. 150-168) (19 p.).
  2016 - Scholarly publications
Batidzirai, Batidzirai, Valk, M., Wicke, B., Junginger, H.M., Daioglou, Vassilis, Faaij, André & Euler, W. (2016). Current and future technical, economic and environmental feasibility of maize and wheat residues supply for biomass energy application: Illustrated for South Africa. Biomass and Bioenergy, 92, (pp. 106-129).
Daioglou, V., Stehfest, Elke, Wicke, B., Faaij, André & van Vuuren, Detlef (2016). Projections of the availability and cost of residues from agriculture and forestry. GCB Bioenergy, 8 (2), (pp. 456-470).
Gerssen - Gondelach, Sarah, Wicke, Birka & Faaij, Andre P C (2016). GHG emissions and other environmental impacts of indirect land use change mitigation. GCB Bioenergy
Gerssen - Gondelach, Sarah, Wicke, Birka, Borzęcka-Walker, Magdalena, Pudełko, Rafał & Faaij, Andre P C (01.09.2016). Bioethanol potential from miscanthus with low ILUC risk in the province of Lublin, Poland. GCB Bioenergy, 8 (5), (pp. 909-924) (16 p.).
Goh, Chun Sheng, Wicke, Birka, Faaij, André, Bird, David Neil, Schwaiger, Hannes & Junginger, Martin (01.11.2016). Linking carbon stock change from land-use change to consumption of agricultural products: Alternative perspectives. Journal of Environmental Management, 182, (pp. 542-556) (15 p.).
Goh, Chun Sheng, Wicke, Birka, Verstegen, Judith, Faaij, André & Junginger, Martin (14.05.2016). Linking carbon stock change from land-use change to consumption of agricultural products: A review with Indonesian palm oil as a case study. Journal of Environmental Management
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Brinkman, M.L.J., Pişcă, Iulia, Wicke, Birka & Faaij, André (2015). ILUC prevention strategies for sustainable biofuels: Case study on the biodiesel production potential from rapeseed with low ILUC risk in Eastern Romania. (80 p.). Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development.
Brinkman, M.L.J., Wicke, Birka & Faaij, Andre (2015). ILUC prevention strategies for sustainable biofuels: Case study on the production potential of low-ILUC-risk bioethanol from Hungarian corn. (68 p.). Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development.
Brinkman, M.L.J., Wicke, Birka, Gerssen-Gondelach, Sarah, van der Laan, C. & Faaij, André (2015). Methodology for assessing and quantifying ILUC prevention options - ILUC Prevention Project – Methodology report. (28 p.). Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development.
Daioglou, Vasileios, Wicke, Birka, Faaij, André & van Vuuren, Detlef (2015). Competing uses of biomass for energy and chemicals: Implications for long-term global CO2 mitigation potential. GCB Bioenergy, 7 (6), (pp. 1321-1334) (14 p.).
Gerssen-Gondelach, Sarah, Wicke, Birka & Faaij, Andre (2015). Assessment of driving factors for yield and productivity developments in crop and cattle production as key to increasing sustainable biomass potentials. Food and Energy Security, 4 (1), (pp. 36-75) (40 p.).
Wicke, Birka, van der Hilst, Floortje, Daioglou, Vasileios, Banse, Martin, Beringer, Tim, Gerssen - Gondelach, Sarah, Heijnen, Sanne, Karssenberg, Derek, Laborde, David, Lippe, Melvin, van Meijl, Hans, Nassar, André, Powell, Jeff, Prins, Anne Gerdien, Rose, Steve N K, Smeets, Edward M W, Stehfest, Elke, Tyner, Wallace E., Verstegen, Judith A., Valin, Hugo, van Vuuren, Detlef P., Yeh, Sonia & Faaij, André P C (2015). Model collaboration for the improved assessment of biomass supply, demand, and impacts. GCB Bioenergy, 7 (3), (pp. 422-437) (16 p.).
  2014 - Scholarly publications
Daioglou, Vasileios, Faaij, Andre P. C., Saygin, Deger, Patel, Martin K., Wicke, Birka & van Vuuren, Detlef P. (2014). Energy demand and emissions of the non-energy sector. Energy and Environmental Science, 7 (2), (pp. 482-498) (17 p.).
Eakin, Hallie, DeFries, Ruth, Kerr, Suzi, Lambin, Eric F., Liu, Jianguo, Marcotullio, Peter J., Messerli, Peter, Reenberg, Anette, Rueda, Ximena, Swaffield, Simon R., Wicke, Birka & Zimmerer, Karl (01.01.2014). Significance of telecoupling for exploration of land-use change. In K.C. Seto (Eds.), Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era (pp. 141-161) (21 p.). MIT Press.
Gerssen-Gondelach, S. J., Saygin, D., Wicke, B., Patel, M. K. & Faaij, A. P. C. (2014). Competing uses of biomass - Assessment and comparison of the performance of bio-based heat, power, fuels and materials. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 40, (pp. 964-998) (35 p.).
Wicke, Birka (01.01.2014). Palm oil as a case study of distal land connections. In K.C. Seto (Eds.), Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era (pp. 163-180) (18 p.). MIT Press.
  2013 - Scholarly publications
Pawelzik, P., Carus, M., Hotchkiss, J., Narayan, R., Selke, S., Wellisch, M., Weiss, M., Wicke, B. & Patel, M.K. (2013). Critical aspects in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of bio-based materials – Reviewing methodologies and deriving recommendations. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 73 (April 2013), (pp. 211-228) (18 p.).
Wicke, B., Smeets, E.M.W., Razzaque, A., Stille, L., Singh, R.K., Awan, A.R., Mahmoodi, K. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2013). Biomass production in agroforestry and forestry systems on salt-affected soils in South Asia: Exploration of the GHG balance and economic performance of three case studies. Journal of Environmental Management, 127 (September 2013), (pp. 324-334) (11 p.).
  2012 - Scholarly publications
Wicke, B., Verweij, P.A., van Meijl, H., van Vuuren, D.P. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2012). Indirect land use change: review of existing models and strategies for mitigation. Biofuels, 3 (1), (pp. 87-100) (14 p.).
  2011 - Scholarly publications
Stille, L., Smeets, E.M.W., Wicke, B., Singh, R. & Singh, G. (2011). The economic performance of four (agro-) forestry systems on alkaline soils in the state of Haryana in India. Energy for Sustainable Development, 15 (4), (pp. 388-397) (10 p.).
Wicke, B., Sikkema, R., Dornburg, V. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2011). Exploring land use changes and the role of palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia. Land Use Policy, 28 (1), (pp. 193-206) (14 p.).
Wicke, B., Smeets, E.M.W., Dornburg, V., Vashev, B., Gaiser, T., Turkenburg, W.C. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2011). The global technical and economic potential of bioenergy from salt-affected soils. Energy and Environmental Science, 4 (8), (pp. 2669-2681) (13 p.).
Wicke, B., Smeets, E.M.W., Watson, H. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2011). The current bioenergy production potential of semi-arid and arid regions in sub-Saharan Africa. Biomass and Bioenergy, 35 (7), (pp. 2773-2786) (14 p.).
  2009 - Scholarly publications
Wicke, B., Smeets, E.M.W., Tabeau, A., Hilbert, J. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2009). Macroeconomic impacts of bioenergy production on surplus agricultural land: a case study of Argentina. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13 (9), (pp. 2463-2473) (11 p.).
  2008 - Scholarly publications
Wicke, B., Dornburg, V., Junginger, H.M. & Faaij, A.P.C. (2008). Different palm oil production systems for energy purposes and their greenhouse gas implications. Biomass and Bioenergy, 32 (12), (pp. 1322-1337) (16 p.).

PhD thesis
Wicke, B. Bioenergy production on degraded and marginal land: Assessing its potentials, economic performance and environmental impacts for different settings and geographical scales. PhD thesis. Promoters: A.P.C. Faaij and W.C. Turkenburg. Copernicus Insitute, Utrecht University, 2011, p.204.

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My research focuses on pathways for sustainable bioenergy production and the development of a modeling framework to assess the economic and environmental performance of these pathways. Important in this research are also strategies for managing and mitigating indirect land use change induced by bioenergy production, including for example the use of degraded land.

Current projects

KIS project - Knowledge infrastructure for sustainable development: A modelling framework for policy support and implementation. The KIS project aims at identifying strategies, options, preconditions and pathways of how the environmental and socio-economic impacts of biomass production and utilization can be optimized over time and the potentials developed sustainably. The project focuses on the development of a much improved and more integrated modeling framework as well as on defining and analyzing sustainable pathways for bioenergy in combination with other land uses, particularly agriculture. Based on these more fundamental and scientific efforts, more applied policy advice is provided throughout the duration of the project. The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. The project duration is Autumn 2010 - Summer 2015.

ILUC prevention project: The ILUC prevention project aims at providing insights into how ILUC risks can be mitigated, how this can be quantified and how ILUC may be governed. Under the umbrella of the ILUC Prevention project, various case studies are conducted to quantify ILUC prevention measures and their impacts, and to assess availability and reliability of underlying data. These case studies are subsequently used to translate the key parameters and pre-conditions into a methodological framework, and to identify monitoring and policy options. For more information and publications from this project, see the project website.

LIFFE options project (Large-scale Investments in Food, Fibre and Energy: Sustainable options that work for forests and the poor): This project aims at improving knowledge and information on the main global and regional trade and investment processes driving large-scale investments in land acquisition, production and transformation of food, feed and fiber in forest-rich producing countries; of the likely social and environmental impacts of these acquisitions under diverse business models, and their implications for deforestation, forest degradation and forest recovery; and of the policy options to speed up the transition towards low-carbon development paths. This project is a collaboration of UU (Copernicus Institute and International Development Studies), CIFOR and Joanneum Research.


My PhD research focused on bioenergy production on degraded and marginal land, its potentials, economics and environmental impacts. During my PhD research, I worked on several different projects. Two examples are BIOSAFOR and COMPETE.

BIOSAFOR focused on agroforestry on salt-affected soils (also called biosaline agroforestry) and aims at the remediation of saline wastelands through production of renewable energy, biomaterials and fodder. Within this project, I analyzed the technical and economic potentials of biosaline forestry on a global scale and I assessed the economic performance of biosaline agroforestry and forestry systems in South Asia.

COMPETE, the Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems - Africa, had the objective to stimulate bioenergy implementation in arid and semi-arid regions in Africa. Within this project, I worked on bioenergy production potentials and costs in semi-arid and arid regions in Sub-Sahara Africa.

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2014/2015 and 2015/2016: Coordination of "Sustainable Development: Integrating Perspectives" in the MSc program Sustainable Development.

2012/2013 and 2013/2014: Coordination of "Management of natural resources in context" together with Dr. Pita Verweij. The course is part of the MSc program Environmental Biology, specialization Ecology and Natural Resource Management.

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Full name
dr. B. Wicke Contact details
Willem C. van Unnikgebouw

Heidelberglaan 2
Room 922
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 4299
Phone number (department) +31 30 253 7600
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Last updated 11.12.2017