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Claudia Parra Paitan is a PhD candidate at the Environmental Geography group of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). She conducts research on the sustainability implications of the production and trade of agricultural commodities of international relevance. She particularly focuses on the global cocoa trade as a driver of land-use change, deforestation, biodiversity and carbon loss. She uses interdisciplinary research to analyze the social and environmental impacts of agricultural commodities at local and global scales. She combines different analytical methods including life cycle assessment, footprint analysis, spatial analysis, land-use modelling and statistical analysis to understand the complexity of these global change processes. She uses a supply chain traceability focus to understand the interlinkages between supply and demand of agricultural commodities, for which she collaborates with the Trase team from the Stockholm Environment Institute (https://trase.earth/).

Her work is part of the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Innovative Training Networks (ITN) "COUPLED, Operationalising Telecouplings for Solving Sustainability Challenges for Land Use" where she works under the supervision of Prof. Peter Verburg (VU Amsterdam) and Prof. Peter Messerli from the University of Bern.

After four years working with the Ministry of Environment of Peru and diverse multilateral and bilateral cooperation agencies on projects related to nature conservation, climate change adaptation and sustainable rural development, she realized that to tackle the multiple challenges that affect natural ecosystems and people living within them, it is necessary to understand the role of multiple global forces that influence local systems. Therefore, she decided to do a MSc. in Human Ecology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) to deepen her understanding of socio-ecological systems, to then take this understanding to regional and global scales through her PhD journey.


Impact assessment, spatial analysis, land-use modelling, sustainable development, agricultural commodities, socio-ecological systems


2011: BSc Biology. Specialization in Ecology. National Agrarian University (UNALM). Lima, Peru.

2017: MSc Human Ecology. Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Belgium.

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