Can Rewilding protect primary productivity from Climate Change?

Can Rewilding protect primary productivity from Climate Change?

Aquatic Ecology

Contact Person:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

Rewilding is a form of nature restoration that gives room for natural processes so as to regenerate self-sustaining resilient ecosystems. As such, rewilding might buffer ecosystems processes and functions against the impact of Climate Change. Primary productivity is a key ecosystem process underpinning the dynamics of ecosystems, yet we lack knowledge on whether rewilding might protect primary productivity against the threat of Climate Change.


In this project we will evaluate how rewilding impacts and regulates primary productivity in riverine floodplain open-mosaic forests. Briefly we will:

  • gather remote sensing data on primary productivity in a network of rewilded areas
  • characterize how the effects of rewilding on primary productivity changes with vegetation/habitat types
  • investigate how primary productivity has changed over time as rewilding develops and how it is affected by extreme events

The student will have the opportunity to interact with a larger team of students at NIOO working on “sister projects” trying to understand the impact of rewilding on biodiversity, Climate Change mitigation & adaptation.


The project will be developed over the coming 6 months (roughly April to September 2024)


Gelderse Poort (a charismatic rewilding site close to Nijmegen)

For who

This project is suitable for an MSc thesis and/or internship, and its primarily desk-based though might involve some fieldwork (negotiable). A good candidate must show:

  • interest in applying remote sensing techniques for ecosystem restoration
  • experience in GIS, remote sensing and/or the analyses of aerial images
  • ability work in a team & collaborate with international partners
  • experience or interest to learn some basic statistical analyses
  • availability during spring/summer months for developing the project (flexible dates)
  • at least some basic level of English