Jean-Francois Bastin / Postdoc

ETH-Zurich; ULB / Global change ecology

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I’m working on adressing climate change from the fundamental understanding of global forest ecology.
I study the impact of climate change on the global state of forests (carbon, biodiversity, ..) and I’m also studying how those change would affect back the climate (change in phenology, photosynthesis, respiration).
The main work I’m currently developping concerns the estimation of the Earth’s tree carrying capacity. My aim is here to provide a global assessment of the importance of forest restoration in the combat vs. climate change. My intention is to continue on that direction, in the sense that I would like that my work, as a scientist, contributes directly to the combat vs. climate change.
I see my work at the interface between fundamental and applied sciences.

I want my work to be directly understandable to the public. I do not believe anymore in the link [scientists -> policy makers -> politics -> citiizens (cf. UN institutions, where I have worked for 2 years). I believe now that we, as scientists, can directly communicate to the public, so that society forces politics in the right direction. But for that to happen, we, as scientists have to take a bigger responsability in the way we are communicating our results. Our results need to be understood by citizens.
I also intend to limit as much as I can my personnal footprint (I m in between Zurich and Brussels, and I take only the train). I ll try to only by local food, decrease the quantity of meat I eat, limit the use of electricity.
The main difficulties I encounter are just habits strongly beared in me or within our society. Why are plastic bags still allowed? Why public transport are not better developped? Why don’t we have propre bike lanes? Why cannot we have better online conference and workshop? etc. etc. Some steps are difficult to take because we have to act in spite of existing policies which are not really helping. It would be much easier if we were encouraged by the state… which instead loses precious time in trying to maintain a system that is destroying our planet…
Climate change is about the long (not that long anymore actually) term. The politic system is not built to favor long term decision. It is time for the politic system to be reconsidered and rebuilt, so that the long term is priviledged vs. short term.