Thilde Bech Bruun

Thilde Bech Bruun

Associate Professor

Work address:

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management

Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen

Øster Voldgade 10

1350 Copenhagen K


Phone (Office): + 45 35 33 34 12

Phone (Mobile): + 45 30 25 18 34



Research areas

  • Carbon and nutrient dynamics in tropical agro-ecosystems
  • Effects of land use changes on carbon storage in soil and vegetation
  • Climate change mitigation in the land use sector
  • Adaptation to climate change in the land use sector
  • Agro-Ecological intensification of small-scale tropical farming systems
  • Soil quality indicators



2009: PhD in geography from Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen. Title of thesis: ‘Influence of land use and inherent soil properties on the storage and turnover of soil organic carbon in tropical soils’

2004: MSc in geography from Department of Geography, University of Copenhagen.



2015 - Now: Associate Professor at Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Section of Geography, University of Copenhagen.

2009 - 2015: Assistant Professor in ‘Land use, greenhouse gasses and carbon storage in tropical agro -ecosystems’ at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Plant and Soil Science, University of Copenhagen.

2005 – 2009: PhD fellow at Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen.

2001 – 2005: Research assistant at Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, at Centre for Research in Forests and Landscapes and at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University.


Selected Projects

2024: Planet Chicken: Chemical entanglements in Asia’s poultry boom. Funded by the Australian Research Council. In this interdisciplinary project we will investigate the political ecology of the Asian broiler boom and – among other things - reveal how markets, knowledge production and cultural practices shape the use of agricultural chemicals and veterinary drugs, and how these impact biophysical landscapes.

2023: ’Salomonøerne - Et af Klimaforandringernes Brændpunkter'. Funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a science communication project in which we will develop an interview-based podcast about impacts of climate change in the Solomon Islands.

2020: 'Fair for whom? Politics, power and precarity in transformations of tropical forest-agriculture frontiers'. Funded by the Research Institute for Humanities and Nature, Kyoto. This interdisciplinary project focuses generate evidence of the social and ecological effects of transformations of shifting cultivation on ecosystems and people in different contexts and analyze possibilities for alternative pathways of change. 

2018: Coupled 'Operationalising Telecoupling for Solving Sustainability Challenges for Land Use'. A European Training Network, which is granted by the European Commission in Horizon 2020. I am leading one of the work packages in this program that involves a consortium of 8 European Universities, 15 PhD students and 13 partners from companies, NGOs, international organizations and administrative bodies.

2017: Beyond the 'Supermarket Revolution Myopia' - Traditional Markets and Sustainable Upgrading Opportunities in Domestic Food Value Chains. Funded by Independent Danish Research Fund for Social Sciences. The project focuses on agricultural transformation processes by examining traditional and modern food value chains and implications for livelihoods and the environment. The project is based in Thailand.

2017: PISAI - Participatory and Integrative Support for Agricultural Initiative. An Erasmus+ Capacity building initiative funded by The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency under The European Commission. The aim of this project is to develop a double Master’s degree program in agriculture for leading Thai Universities in cooperation with European institutions.

2015: ‘Impacts of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’ (i-REDD) - a 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. My focus is on assessing carbon storage in soil and vegetation under different land use systems in Laos and Indonesia and on developing cost-efficient methods for measuring land use induced changes in soil carbon stocks.

2014: ‘KOYOKA’ . Development of a distance education module in ‘Assessing Transformation in Smallholder Agricultural Systems and Natural Resource Management’. Funded by the Agropolis Fondation and carried out in collaboration with partners from CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, CATIE (Costa Rica), Makerere University (Uganda), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), Egerton University (Kenya), and Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

2011: 'Assessment of the effects of small scale oil palm cultivation on soil carbon stocks'. PI in a project funded by the Consortium for Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management and carried out in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

2011: 'Environmental effects of a land use transition from extensive agriculture to intensive maize production in Northern Thailand'. PI in a project funded by the Consortium for Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management and carried out in collaboration with Maejo University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

2010: 'Project de faisabilité des resource de l’énergi renouvelables au Mali'. Project funded by the Danish National Development Cooperation, DANIDA. My contribution was to investigate the environmental impacts of using rice residues and cassava as biofuels in Northern and Southern Mali respectively.

2008: 'Indigenous soil knowledge on Bellona – a Polynesian outlier island in the Solomon Islands'. PIin a small scale project financed by Videnskabernes Selskab.

2006: 'Sustainable Resource use or Imminent Collapse? Climate, livelihoods and production in the Southwest Pacific' (CLIP). Interdisciplinary research project carried out as a part of the Galathea3 research expedition. My contribution was related to the environmental sustainability of isolated agricultural systems and effects of land use and soil type on soil carbon stocks.

2006: 'Carbon storage in different soil types after conversion of forests to permanent agriculture in Ghana'. PI in a study financed by Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen and carried out in collaboration with researchers from University of Legon, Ghana.

2005: 'Environmental sustainability of shifting cultivation systems in the Nghe An province, Northern Vietnam'. A capacity building project financed by the Danish National Development Cooperation, DANIDA and carried out in collaboration with Hanoi Agricultural University.

Teaching and supervision

I am currently responsible for the course ‘Climate Change – An Interdisciplinary Challenge’ which is one of the basic courses under the MSc program in Climate Change at University of Copenhagen. I have been coordinating an educational program in Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management (SLUSE) and been responsible for the associated field course that involves two Danish Universities and 10 partner universities in South East Asia and Africa (

Teaching Activities at MSc or PhD level

  • Interdisciplinary field methodology in Agricultural Innovations  (Uganda) (PhD)
  • Plant nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems (PhD)
  • Interdisciplinary Land Use and Natural Resource Management (MSc)
  • Climate Change – An Interdisciplinary Challenge (MSc)
  • Klimaakademiet (Rethos Academy and CONCITO)
  • Field course in Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Agricultural Production (Thailand) (MSc)
  • Tropical Crop Production (MSc)
  • Human Adaptation to Climate Change (MSc)
  • Sustainable Intensification Pathways (MSc)
  • Qualitative Methods in Agricultural Development (MSc)
  • Land Use and Global Change (MSc)
  • Globalisation and Spatial Change (MSc)

I have supervised 40 MSc students, six PhD students and three post docs.


Current PhD students:

Janelle Marie Sylvester (2021-Now): Drivers of land degradation in agricultural landscapes in Columbia.


Completed PhD students

Von Yi Yap (2013-2017): 'The potential and constraints of adopting legumes in maize-based cropping systems within small scale farming systems of Northern Thailand'

Catherine Maria Hepp (2013-2017): 'Sustainable intensification strategies and improved nutrient use efficiency in upland farming systems in Southeast Asia’

Proyuth Ly (2009 - 2012): 'Low external input tropical agriculture: livelihoods, greenhouse gasses and sustainability: a study on the role of the system of rice intensification (SRI) in rain-fed lowland rice ecosystem in Cambodia'

Niharika Rahmen (2012-2022): 'Environmental efficiencies and controversies: Yield intensification in oil palm production systems of South East Asia'

Pin Pravalprukskul (2019-2022): Sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities, spill-over effects and global-local relations. 


Memberships and Special duties

  • Associate editor of Land Degradation and Development
  • Associate editor of Carbon Footprints
  • Head of steering committee of the Working Group on 'Shifting Cultivation in Transition' under the Global Land Programme
  • Representing University of Copenhagen in The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development (Agrinatura)
  • Member of more than ten academic assessment committees

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