Foto: HEFT Teammitglieder

Simone Gingrich, PI

Simone is interested in the changing sustainability challenges during industrialization processes, with a particular focus on the relations of land and energy use. She has conducted analyses of long-term change in numerous sustainability problems at a variety of spatial scales, with a regional focus on Europe. The idea of HEFT is nourished by her interest in the relevance of both historical and ongoing land and energy use for the pressing current sustainability challenge to mitigate global climate change.

Sonja Bauernschuster

Sonja’s background is in sociology and social ecology. She graduated with a qualitative and quantitative comparison of different kinds of agricultural land use systems regarding energy efficiency and focussing on a “permaculture” case study. In HEFT she studies the forest transition in the Lao PDR. This work enables her to pursue her interest in hidden patterns and causes of observed phenomena by studying the socio-metabolic processes that cause ongoing reforestation processes.

Manan Bhan

Manan has a background in the ecosystem sciences and has previously focused on tropical forest ecology and environmental policy analysis. He has a keen interest in the role of forests towards climate change mitigation and the interplay of land use changes with changes in ecosystem carbon stocks. In his PhD, Manan reconstructs a long-term global biomass carbon stock time series and investigates uncertainties among established datasets. In HEFT, he contributes towards the analysis of global changes in carbon stocks and emissions that underpin regional forest transitions.

Karlheinz Erb

Christian Lauk 

Christian's background is in biology and social ecology. He is interested in how society's use of biomass relates to land use and GHG emissions. He has contributed to scenario studies on the relation between the biomass system, in particular diets, and related GHG emissions, mainly on national (Austrian) and global scales. In HEFT, Christian's main contribution relates to the modelling of GHG emissions related to forest transitions, as well as the application of GHG accounting models to counterfactual scenario approaches.

Julia Le Noe 

Julia graduated in physics and chemistry and environmental geochemistry at Sorbonne University, Paris, and completed her doctoral studies on long-term biogeochemical trajectories of regional agro-food systems in France. In HEFT, she contributes to the development of an analytical and accounting framework of the hidden greenhouse gas emissions related to forest transitions, and empirically analyzes greenhouse gas balances of forest transitions in Europe.

Andreas Magerl 

Andreas has backgrounds in landscape planning and architecture, and in social ecology. He has worked on energy transitions in India with a particular focus on energy efficiency. In his PhD project he analyzes the forest transition in the United States of America during the past century in the context of national greenhouse gas budgets. In particular, he is interested in agricultural frontier expansion and subsequent abandonment from east to west and its effects on terrestrial carbon budgets.

Sarah Matej

Sarah has a background in sociology, geoinformatics and social ecology and works on the quantification and spatial representation of land use impacts. Aiming to understand the role of land use in the carbon cycle, she contributes to mapping a time-series of global biomass carbon stocks. In HEFT she explores the development of forest carbon emissions over the past decades, searching for interlinkages with changes in agriculture, climate change mitigation strategies and the socio-metabolic profiles of nations.

Melanie Pichler

Melanie has a background in political science and development studies and works on the politics of social-ecological transformations from a political ecology perspective. She has conducted research in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) on the contested expansion of oil palm plantations and involved in a research project on the role of labour in the transformation of the Austrian automotive industry. In HEFT, Melanie contributes to the integration of biophysical and political dimensions in analysing forest transitions with a special focus on Southeast Asia.

Martin Schmid

Martin is an environmental historian trained in history and archaeology. He studies societies' biophysical and symbolic relationships with nature since c.1500. His research covers rivers, agriculture, cities and wars, and has a spatial focus on Austria and Europe. Martin is fascinated by crossing the 'great divide' between natural sciences and humanities. In HEFT, he contributes an environmental historian's perspective to the project's vision of an integrated, socio-natural perspective on forest transitions.

Michaela Theurl

Michaela is interested in sustainability assessments with a particular focus on the interplay of agricultural production and consumption, and related climate-change mitigation options. Her background is biology and social ecology. Coming from food product life cycle assessment (LCA), she now works at EU and global levels. In HEFT, she contributes to analyzing temporal dynamics of land-use change, including agricultural GHG emissions and ecosystem C stocks, with a focus on the global scale.

International collaboration partners:

Geoff Cunfer, University of Saskatchewan 

Sithong Thongmanivong, National University of Laos 

Previous contributors

Dino Güldner

From 2018-2019, Dino contributed to HEFT by reconstructing the 19th century expert discourse on the forest transition in Austria regarding changes in forest use and their sociopolitical regulation.

Maria Niedertscheider

Maria was instrumental in setting up the HEFT project in 2018 by contributing to theoretical and conceptual work at the project start and co-designing the kick-off meeting. 

Zully Rosadio Cayllahua

From Feb. 2020 to May 2020, Zully supported the HEFT team as student collaborator by transcribing and coding interviews conducted by Sonja Bauernschuster and Melanie Pichler during their field research in Laos.