- Freshwater ecology
- Regime shifts
- Ecosystem services
Jan Kuiper's research focuses on the use of participatory scenarios and models to inform decision-making processes in social-ecological systems, from the local to the global level
Kuiper studies social-ecological systems and their governance using mixed methods in a range of decision making contexts, including water quality management, nature conservation and sustainable development planning.
At the Stockholm Resilience Centre he is active in the theme ‘Stewardship and Transformative futures’ and leads several projects including biospherefutures.net, an online database of social-ecological scenario case studies, to promote the use of scenarios for sustainable development planning.
He holds a personal FORMAS mobility grant to work on novel biodiversity scenarios and co-leads a FORMAS research project on sand use as a global sustainability challenge in the Anthropocene.
Kuiper operates within and across a range of fields and disciplines, conducting both fundamental and applied research. His background is in aquatic ecology. He completed his doctoral research at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen University, studying resilience and regime shifts in shallow lakes.
In close collaboration with water quality managers and other stakeholders, he developed and applied dynamic modelling tools to quantify ecosystem resilience and predict the occurrence of abrupt regime shifts.
Before his PhD studies he conducted research on the functional role of biodiversity in peatland ecosystems at Utrecht University and contributed to the development of the Global Biodiversity model for policy support (GLOBIO-Aquatic) at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
Kuiper is a fellow of the task force on scenarios and models of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that is mandated to catalyse the development of new scenarios and models of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people. In that capacity, Kuiper is involved in developing the Nature Futures Framework, a new scenario framework that engages with the plurality of people’s relationships with nature.
For his own research, Kuiper applies the Nature Futures Framework to inform the development of a National Park Hollandse Duinen, a new National Park in the Netherlands that develops a social-ecological systems approach to nature conservation.
Kuiper is further associated with the Natural Capital Project, a partnership of world leading academic institutes and NGOs that works to integrate the value of nature’s contributions to people into all major decisions, centred at Stanford University.
Awards and achievements
- MCED Award for Innovative Contributions to Ecological Modelling (1st prize, 2016)
- Publication Award Netherlands Ecological Research Network (2nd prize, 2016)
- Publication Award Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation (1st prize, 2015)
- FORMAS Planning grant (2018-02371): The futures we want: exploring diverse, credible and positive scenarios for navigating transformation under the 2030 Agenda
- FORMAS Mobility grant for early-career researchers (2019-01648): To use nature, to protect nature, or to be nature: That is the question
- FORMAS Research grant for early-career researchers (2021-01006): Sand in the Anthropocene: risks and opportunities for global sustainability
Pereira L, Kuiper JJ, Selomane O, et al (2021) Advancing a toolkit of diverse futures approaches for global environmental assessments. Ecosystems and People 17:191–204. https://doi.org/10.1080/26395916.2021.1901783
Wyatt KH, Arkema KK, Wells-Moultrie S,.. Kuiper JJ, et al (2021) Integrated and innovative scenario approaches for sustainable development planning in The Bahamas. Ecology and Society 26: https://doi.org/10.5751/es-12764-260423
Hamel P, Guerry AD, Polasky S,.. Kuiper JJ, et al (2021) Mapping the benefits of nature in cities with the InVEST software. npj Urban Sustainability 1: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-021-00027-9
Downing AS, Chang M, Kuiper JJ, et al (2020) Learning from generations of sustainability concepts. Environmental Research Letters 15: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab7766
Pereira LM, Davies KK, Belder E,.. Kuiper JJ, et al (2020) Developing multiscale and integrative nature–people scenarios using the Nature Futures Framework. People and Nature 2:1172–1195. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10146
News articles with Kuiper, Jan
Research news | 2022-08-24
Applying the Nature Futures Framework to the real world
Lessons from The Netherlands reveal big potential to find common ground for actions towards positive futures
Research news | 2022-03-22
A more inclusive approach to protected areas
Protected areas must not only expand but also become more inclusive and equitable. But tensions exist
Research news | 2022-03-17
Making cities greener, sustainable and inclusive
We may live in an urban century, but nature in cities is more important than ever. New study presents ways to make sure nature is better integrated in urban environments
Research news | 2022-02-15
A new approach for safeguarding our waters
Humans have changed the global water cycle and governmental bodies designed to govern water struggle to keep up. A new legal paradigm may help
Publications by Kuiper, Jan
Exploring desirable nature futures for Nationaal Park Hollandse Duinen
Journal / article | 2022
Achieving global sustainability goals requires most people and societies to fundamentally revisit their relationship with nature. New approaches are called for to guide change processes towards sustainable futures that embrace the plurality of people’s desired relationships with nature. This paper presents a novel approach to exploring desirable futures for nature and people that was developed through an application in Nationa...
Bridging theories for ecosystem stability through structural sensitivity analysis of ecological models in equilibrium
Journal / article | 2022
Ecologists are challenged by the need to bridge and synthesize different approaches and theories to obtain a coherent understanding of ecosystems in a changing world. Both food web theory and regime shift theory shine light on mechanisms that confer stability to ecosystems, but from different angles. Empirical food web models are developed to analyze how equilibria in real multi-trophic ecosystems are shaped by species interac...
Nature futures for the urban century: Integrating multiple values into urban management
Journal / article | 2022
There is an emerging consensus that the health of the planet depends on the coexistence between rapidly growing cities and the natural world. One strategy for guiding cities towards sustainability is to facilitate a planning process based on positive visions for urban systems among actors and stakeholders. This paper presents the Urban Nature Futures Framework (UNFF), a framework for scenario building for cities that is based ...
Inclusive conservation and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: Tensions and prospects
Journal / article | 2022
The draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework commits to achievement of equity and justice outcomes and represents a “relational turn” in how we understand inclusive conservation. Although “inclusivity” is drawn on as a means to engage diverse stakeholders, widening the framing of inclusivity can create new tensions with regard to how to manage protected areas. We first offer a set of tensions that emerge in the light of ...