Hi everyone, I’m Marlene and I’ve just started my PhD in this working group. My PhD project is on The future of European wood-pastures, so I’m the first one in this working group who is not directly involved in the well-known Fostering sustainable development in Romania project. But of course my work will build on the Romania project, and as a country with many beautiful wood pastures I will partly do my research in Romania.
What about me?
I studied my Bachelor here at Leuphana in Lüneburg in Empirical Economics and Social Sciences. My focus was sustainability management which I really enjoyed. After my Bachelor I did a Traineeship at Volkswagen AG in a team working on Sustainability in supplier relationships. It was a great experience, working in an ambitious team on such important topics like human rights, safety at work and environmental standards. But even though the working group was kind of interdisciplinary, the focus was always on financial economics and I missed a broader view on sustainability. So I decided to study the Master program Sustainability Sciences at Leuphana, which allowed me to combine my background in economics and social sciences with ecology and nature conservation – one of my childhood dreams. In my second semester we started an inter- and transdiciplinary research project on sustainable agriculture for the region around Lüneburg, which inspired me to look for a Masters project related to agriculture. During my third semester I met Joern in the class Conservation Biology and got the great possibility to join his team as a master student in Romania. My Master thesis was on Bear activity in traditional wood-pastures in Transylvania and I had the privilege of working in Romania looking for bear signs in this beautiful wood-pastures (see picture).
The time in Romania was inspiring and a steep learning curve. I loved to be in the field as well as working in an interdisciplinary, highly motivated team. Above all, Romanian wood-pastures are fascinating. The combination of veteran trees and the extensive grazing with a high biodiversity is worthy of protection. But I learned fast the threats and problem for these landscapes in Romania – as well as across Europe as a whole.
Luckily I got the opportunity to apply for a position in Joern´s working group on European wood-pastures. This PhD project fits perfect for me to combine my knowledge in social science and ecology to realize this type of interdisciplinary research project. I am looking forward to work in wood-pastures as well as talk to people in the next 3 years.
So, here I am, happy to be here and willing to do my best- not only for my PhD, but also for the team.