A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University
, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes
. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences
studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
The Department of Sustainable Development conducts teaching and research across a large range of sustainability challenges, with a special focus on environmental sciences, environmental governance, business and innovation, and energy and resources. The department hosts a highly international staff of over 200 junior and senior scientists and lecturers. Research and education in our department thrives on inter and multidisciplinary collaborations, which are highly needed to address today's intricate sustainability issues.
Non-profit organisation Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a small organisation (10 people) founded to protect and preserve the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Via this organisation, a unique collaboration with (private) landowners, municipalities, the Province of Utrecht and other stakeholders is formed to work on this common goal. Together we make sure that the area's unique nature, landscape and cultural heritage is preserved for future generations.
The Utrechtse Heuvelrug consists of 20,000-hectare consecutive forest and heathland. Adding the flanks, with valuable wet nature, this number increases to 40,000 hectares. The Southern part of the Heuvelrug, an area of 10,000 hectares, has the official status of National Park. Besides this valuable nature at the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the Heuvelrug also has a lot of cultural-historic value, as there are, for example, many estates, burial mounds, and remnants from several wars (Napoleon, WWI, WWII).
Non-profit organisation Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug serves as a broker between different parties within the Utrechtse Heuvelrug with the aim of cooperatively protecting and improving the unique natural and cultural heritage of the area. Together, the following key climate adaptation themes for the Utrechtse Heuvelrug were identified:
- vital nature: climate change increases risk of forest fires, leads to loss of heathlands and tree species, creates stress on fauna;
- transitional flanks: climate adaptation on the flanks of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug is complicated due to competition for space to facilitate agriculture, energy, housing and mobility transitions;
- landscape of values: the Utrechtse Heuvelrug is an area with important intrinsic and relational values for many people, and it also has functional value, such as the ecosystem service of purifying water;
- mobility and recreation: whilst visitors are encouraged to enjoy the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, this needs to be managed in a sustainable way that creates a net benefit for humans and nature;
- cultural and historical landscapes: the region has a long cultural heritage, which is threatened by extreme climate events.