07.05.2014 change 06.11.2017

Prof. Jean Poesen received honorary doctorate of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University

Outstanding specialist in the field of earth sciences, Prof. Jean Poesen from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, received honorary doctorate of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, awarded for his achievements in the field of physical geography, geomorphology and soil science.

In the resolution awarding the highest academic honours to Prof. Poesen, Senate of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University emphasized his "fundamental contribution to the identification of conditions, mechanisms and dynamics of soil and gully erosion".

"Prof. J. Poesen is deeply involved in research activities, concerning issues of both fundamental scientific and practical importance" – emphasised in a eulogy honorary doctorate promoter, Head of Spatial Policy and Planning Department, Prof. Marian Harasimiuk.

Research interests of Prof. Poesen include problems and prevention of soil erosion and desertification, soil and water protection, impact of environmental changes on the processes of erosion, experimental geomorphology and geography of developing countries. He has participated in over 100 research projects, organized and co-organized more than 20 international conferences, initiated a series of international scientific meetings devoted to erosion of gullies.

"He certainly is the informal leader of the world research community of gully erosion" - said Prof. Harasimiuk.

In a lecture delivered in Lublin, Prof. Poesen talked about the need for further research on soil erosion. He stressed that so far efforts of researchers focused mostly on the losses caused by natural processes of soil erosion, with much less attention paid to similar effects caused by human activity, which became dominant in the last century.

He pointed out that in Third World countries, limiting soil loss in places such as faces of ravines, riverbanks and landslides still remains a great challenge. According to Prof. Poesen, building heavy construction, such as dams, walls and tanks in such places is a quick fix that may not always be sustained. Light structures should also be used, using appropriately selected plant species. "We need more research on the balanced combination of techniques of heavy and light construction, which will help in the natural reconstruction of eroded areas" - said Prof. Poesen.

Prof. Poesen was born in 1954 in Congo. He studied at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he received his Ph.D. and the title of professor. Since 2000 he is head of the geography department of the university. He is the author and co-author of over 700 scientific publications.

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