Dr. Janske van de Crommenacker - BirdLife Netherlands
In order to effectively protect birds and their habitats, it is of utmost importance to understand how human influences on our environment affect the demographics of bird populations. Only if we understand the causes and mechanisms that explain (negative) trends in population numbers and distribution, can policy and management have a real impact on the conservation or recovery of (sub)populations of a species.
Within Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN) we operate as much as possible on the basis of scientific knowledge (science-based) and we preferably promote proven effective management and/or design measures (Evidence-based Conservation). A specific Knowledge Programme was set up in mid-2012 to collect this knowledge more systematically and make it more accessible for use in VBN's protection programmes. Within this Knowledge Programme it is my task as program manager to connect (the work of) researchers from universities and institutes and, where possible, to focus on important issues related to the protection of birds or their habitats. By stimulating applicable scientific research, data analyses, monitoring programs and studies into intervention-effect relationships, we continuously try to unlock the best available knowledge and make it suitable for application in protection and policy.
With the goal to improve the understanding of the demographics of bird populations, the Center for Avian Population Studies (CAPS) was established in mid-2013; in CAPS we work together with four research institutes to improve our understanding of the population dynamics of species and the related driving factors. Collaborations like these we also maintain with several other knowledge institutions and parties.
In addition to my role in the Knowledge Programme, I am responsible within VBN for the collaboration with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and other nature conservation organizations on the six islands of the Dutch Caribbean. I consider it a privilege to be able to collaborate with these overseas conservationists and to support them in their enormous commitment to the conservation and management of the birds and nature in this biodiversity hotspot within our Kingdom.
My background is both in research and in conservation: after studying Biology at the University of Nijmegen, I obtained my PhD in 2011 at the University of Groningen on a project on the ecology and physiology of the Seychelles Warbler, a small songbird on the Seychelles Islands. I then lived in the Seychelles for 7 years and worked as a conservation manager and research coordinator on three different small protected islands. There I was involved in research, monitoring and protection of many different flora and fauna, from birds to giant tortoises to corals. I have been back in the Netherlands since 2018. I have been working with great pleasure at Vogelbescherming since 2020, being committed – together with colleagues – to the protection of birds and nature.