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Dr P.F.M. Verdonschot (1955) has been appointed professor by special appointment of Wetland Restoration Ecology at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science. The chair was established on behalf of the Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA), in its capacity as a representative of the 26 Dutch water boards and the DLO Foundation (Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek).

Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

For over thirty years, Piet Verdonschot has conducted research on the structure and functioning of new and restored wetland ecosystems with a focus on the integration of various abiotic and biotic drivers and processes. He developed the 5-S Model and 5-B concept in order to successfully restore complex stream valley landscapes applying an integral approach that reflects the key catchment basin ecosystem processes. 

As professor by special appointment of Wetland Restoration Ecology, Verdonschot aims to bridge the gaps between ecology (with an emphasis on the functional life strategies of key species) and hydromorphological and chemical stress ecology (with an emphasis on key multi-stress factors), between ecological concepts and social and economic developments, and between the academic world and the day-to-day practice. Verdonschot advocates a rational approach to wetland restoration, whereby the knowledge of ecosystem processes ensures predictability of effective and sustainable restoration measures despite changing future conditions.

Verdonschot is an aquatic ecologist who earned his doctorate on aquatic ecological water typologies based on macro invertebrates and multivariate techniques. He has served as head of the fresh water ecology research group at Alterra, Wageningen University & Research since 1996. Verdonschot played an important role in eight large-scale and international European Research & Development projects. He served as a board member of the Water committee established by the Advisory Council for Research on Spatial Planning, Nature and Environment and the Ecological Water Management Working Group. Verdonschot leads the Beekdalbreed Herstel knowledge network. He has held guest lectures at numerous universities and published over 100 renowned scientific publications.