Dr. Frank Verheijen

Physical geographer and soil scientist

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I am a research scientist (fellow) at CESAM - Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies - of the University of Aveiro, Portugal. My fellowship was awarded by the national Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) and focuses on soil hydrology and plant physiology after biochar application to soils.

My primary research interest is the interaction between vegetation and its abiotic environment, particularly vegetation - soil organic matter (SOM) - soil hydrology dynamics. In practical terms this often relates to researching the interaction between climate or land use change and dynamics of SOM, soil erosion and desertification.

Research experience

I have been involved in projects at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (biochar, soil biodiversity), in Scotland (recovery of blanket peatland after a large wildfire), Spain (soil water repellency; soil erosion), Ecuador (land use; SOM dynamics; soil erosion and landslides), and the UK (interdisciplinary; SOM dynamics; national soil organic carbon ranges). I have worked on the ENVASSO project, i.e. designing and testing a harmonised European soil monitoring system. ENVASSO was a large project with 38 partners from all 27 EU Member States and Norway. Of the eight threats to soil defined by the European Commission, my work focussed on i) soil erosion, ii) decline in soil organic matter, and iii) desertification. For more details, click the 'research' tab on the right.

Mission statement

"It is my firm belief that to deal successfully with the challenges posed by climate and land use change on the one hand, and food security and environmental functioning on the other, researchers are needed with both broad and deep skills (T-shaped skills; Bouma, 1997*). I have attempted to achieve this through my education and research experience and hope to apply and extend my skills to understand the planet better and help keep it viable and functioning."

 Kind Regards,         


 * Bouma, J. (1997). The role of quantitative approaches in soil science when interacting with stakeholders. Geoderma 78, 1-12.

"Measure what can be measured and make measurable what cannot be measured"

Galileo Galilei



Full CV (pdf)




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