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Dr. Simon Besnard

Dr. Simon Besnard
Haus A 17, Raum 20.20 (Technikraum/Rechnerraum)
14473 Potsdam

Funktion und Aufgaben:

Senior researcher in the Global Land Monitoring Group.

Wissenschaftliche Interessen:

  • Terrestrial carbon cycle and vegetation dynamics
  • Disturbance dynamics
  • Earth observation data
  • Data-driven statistical modeling
  • Deep-learning methods


  • Senior Researcher (present): GFZ-Potsdam, Germany. Combining recent developments in sensor technologies, data integration, and data-driven learning methods to monitor large-scale land processes.
  • Lead Data Scientist, Nature-based Solutions (2021): South Pole, The Netherlands. Focus on developing and integrating data-driven models into digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification systems for Nature-based Solution projects.
  • Post-doctoral Researcher (2019): Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany. Work involved integrating long-term above-ground biomass time series into a carbon cycle modeling framework.
  • Visiting Researcher (2014): Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Participated in the Global Comparative Study on REDD+, CIFOR (MSc. Thesis).
  • Consultant (2013): GIZ GmbH, Germany. Developed recommendations to streamline GIZ REDD+ MRV activities to comply with UNFCCC modalities on MRV.
  • Consultant (2013): Ecosystem Marketplace, United States. Contributed to the annual State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Markets reports.
  • Research Intern (2012): Environmental Defense Fund, United States. Researched the State of Soil Carbon Sequestration Offset Policy Design.
  • Project Manager (2011): Global Green Carbon, Nicaragua. Implemented a reforestation/afforestation carbon offset project with forestry and agroforestry systems.
  • Visiting Researcher (2010): Institute of Research for Development, South Africa. Researched the relationship between farming practices and land degradation in a communal watershed (MSc. Thesis).
  • Intern (2009): CERAI, Tunisia. Researched the introduction of new farming practices and the implementation of new economic activities in agro-forestry irrigated systems.
  • Research Assistant (2008): INRA, France. Studied the spatiotemporal evolution of soil hydrodynamics properties with conventional and conservation tillage practices (BSc. Thesis).

Werdegang / Ausbildung:

  • Ph.D. (Sept. 2019): Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany and Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Dissertation on "Controls of forest age and ecological memory effects on biosphere-atmosphere CO₂ exchange."
  • MSc. (March 2015): Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Major in Remote Sensing and Geo-Information Science.
  • MSc. (Nov. 2010): Montpellier SupAgro/Institut des Regions Chaudes (IRC), France. Major in International Land Management.
  • BSc. (June 2008): University of Rennes 1, France. Major in Environmental Sciences.


2023 - 2027 FORWARDS, role: member

2023 - 2027 OpenEarthMonitor, role: member

2024 - 2027 HYPER-AMPLIFAI, role: WP co-lead

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