If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Personal information

Niels Debonne is an assistant professor in the Environmental Geography department at the Institute for Environmental Studies. His research and teaching is concerned with the sustainability of the land system. He has done research on topics ranging from large-scale land acquisitions to European agricultural sustainability, using data-driven and model-based approaches. Along the way, Niels has developed new theoretical lenses on agency over land systems, and pioneered a new methodology to analyze drivers of systemic change.

Niels has obtained his PhD degree from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in which he took stock of new actors and new scales in agriculture.  He collaborated with the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface to include dynamics of land tenure and value chain developments in the fight against land degradation.

Originally from Belgium, Niels obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree at the KU Leuven (Belgium). His master’s thesis took him to the Southwestern Ethiopian forest frontier, where he collected data on rural-to-rural migration, indigenous land management, and the implications for the maintenance of forest ecosystem. He developed a spatial agent-based model to with the obtained data.

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Academic qualification

Environmental Geography, PhD, New Actors and Scales of Agriculture: A Land System Science Perspective, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

15 Jan 20165 Feb 2021

Award Date: 5 Feb 2021

Geography, Master, The Impact of Migration on Tropical Deforestation, KU Leuven

1 Sept 201315 Sept 2015

Award Date: 15 Sept 2015

Geography, Bachelor, The use of Google Earth in Geomorphological Research, KU Leuven

1 Sept 20104 Jul 2013

Award Date: 4 Jul 2013


  • G Geography (General)
  • S Agriculture (General)


Dive into the research topics where Niels Debonne is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or