My name is Juan Ignacio, but you can call me Ignacio. I am from Quito, Ecuador and for the last seven years I’ve been studying and living in the Netherlands. As part of my PhD programme, I currently work in the Forest Ecology and Management Group (FEM) and Resource Ecology Group (REG) at Wageningen University. My research aim is to understand the role of wild ungulates in shaping temperate forests.
Wild ungulates are known to be forest engineers as they can modify the environment through browsing, trampling and fraying. However, on the northern hemisphere ungulates are expanding in range and density due to abandonment of agricultural fields, reduced competition with other animals and absence of top predators, creating a great pressure on natural systems. With a network of animal exclosures, camera traps, laser scanners and decomposition bags, we aim to understand the effects of wild ungulates on forest structure, composition and functioning. With the novel perspective that the course would yield on consumer – resource interaction, I hope to gain additional insight into the mechanisms that control herbivore plant interactions.
Besides my PhD, I am a passionate rock climber, for which I travel the World in search for the best rock faces to climb.