Tilburg University appoints Arie Trouwborst as professor of Nature Conservation Law

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Tilburg University has appointed Dr. Arie Trouwborst as full professor of Nature Conservation Law as of 1 March 2023. His research and education will focus on the role of international, European and national law regarding the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of ecosystems and populations of wild fauna and flora.

At global, European and national levels, the biodiversity crisis has grown to unprecedented proportions. (Inter)national policies therefore no longer only aim to prevent further degradation, but also to create more space for nature and to restore damaged ecosystems. This calls for transformative changes, and nature conservation law - at global, European, national and local levels - has a key role to play.

A common theme in Arie Trouwborst’s research is the search for an optimal use of law in the pursuit of societal goals in the area of nature conservation, and preferably also in adjacent policy areas.

For instance, how can legal instruments be harnessed so that not only biodiversity profits, but climate mitigation and adaptation and water quality are also furthered? The Netherlands is an important testing ground regarding such win-win scenarios. How can management and use of species be aligned with overarching conservation and restoration objectives? A complex and controversial example here is the regulation of hunting tourism. And how can the law facilitate the return of species that are ecologically significant but difficult to coexist with, such as beaver and wolf?

Addressing such questions typically requires an understanding also of non-legal aspects, ranging from ecology to philosophy, and Trouwborst therefore often seeks cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. This also applies to the question, asked more and more often, how to ensure that in decision-making not only people’s voices are heard, but also those of wild animals, trees and other stakeholders.

Prof. Geert Vervaeke, Dean of Tilburg Law School is pleased with the appointment: "Prof. Arie Trouwborst is an outstanding academic. The biodiversity crisis is a major challenge for our society and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Arie Trouwborst understands this like no other, and seeks cooperation with scientists from different disciplines, such as ecology and biology, but also social sciences and experts in international law and policy. Finally, Arie Trouwborst knows how to make the connection with society and his research actually contributes to a better world. So I cannot but be very proud of this appointment."

Global Law and Governance

Trouwborst’s research contributes to one of the key research programs of Tilburg Law School: Global Law and Governance. The focus of this program is the way in which institutions, networks, organizations and professionals in both local and global law and governance deal with the great challenges of our time, including for instance climate change, biodiversity loss, further globalization and increasing inequalities.

The chair of Nature Conservation Law is sponsored by the NGOs Brabants Landschap and Natuurmonumenten, and by the Province of Noord-Brabant. Arie Trouwborst is taking over the baton from professor Kees Bastmeijer, who held the chair since 2009 and recently moved on.

Dr. Arie Trouwborst studied international and European law at Utrecht University and obtained his PhD, with distinction, from the same university with a thesis on the precautionary principle in 2006. After several years as assistant professor of international law in Utrecht he moved to Tilburg Law School, where he worked as assistant and associate professor of environmental law since 2009. Trouwborst has been awarded various prizes and grants, including Veni and Vidi grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), for research projects on the adaptation of nature conservation law to climate change, and on the management and conservation of large carnivores in Europe. He frequently conducts advisory work for international organizations, national governments and NGOs, and is a member of several specialist groups of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe and the Human-Wildlife Conflict & Coexistence Specialist Group. Trouwborst is also an extraordinary associate professor at North-West University in South Africa.

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