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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Jennifer Merten

Doctoral Researcher
Land use change and hydrosocial transformations
  • Political Ecology
  • Natural resource governance
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to land & water


"Land use transformation in Jambi is accompanied by deep changes in water resources as well as in the local political economy. During my PhD I aim to understand how both processes interact, what feedbacks they generate and what are the consequences for the local people. Staying at IRI THESys provides a great chance to discuss my own findings not only from different disciplinary angles but also from very different geographical viewpoints - from Brandenburg to the Global South. This setting encourages me to reconsider processes and challenges of sustainable land use far beyond my own research site." Jennifer Merten

Jennifer Merten is a doctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Centre 990 “Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia)” (EFForTS) at Göttingen University since August 2015. Before starting her PhD, Jennifer studied Geography at Göttingen University (M.Sc.) and Erlangen-Nürnberg University (B.A.). During her Bachelor studies, she focused on the Regional Geography of Latin America and studied in Bolivia and Costa Rica for two semesters. Jennifer gained professional experience in the field of international collaboration through short-term contracts at the GIZ GmbH and the German Bundestag. Since 2018 Jennifer is part of the IRI THESys research group 'Changing Rural-Urban Linkages' which is led by Jonas Østergaard Nielsen. Her research investigates the local interactions between land use change, water and the local political economy. Building on qualitative case studies in Indonesia, she investigates how these interactions con-tribute to the production of new water-related risks and vulnerabilities. Being embedded in the interdisciplinary research project EFForTS she further aims to explore possibilities of combining qualitative social research with natural scientist methods.

Selected Publications

Hartmann, F., Merten, J., Fink, M. and H. Faust (2018): Indonesia's Fire Crisis 2015 - A Twofold Perturbation on the Ground. Pacific Geographies # 49, February 2018, p. 4-11. //doi.org/10.23791/490411., 25, 1-41. doi: 10.1080/23308249.2016.1209160. 

Merten, J., Röll, A., Tarigan, S. , Hölscher, D., Hein, J. (2017) Expanding oil palm cultivation in Indonesia: changing local water cycles raises risks of droughts and floods. Briefing Paper 1/2017. German Development Institute: Bonn, Germany., 25, 1-41. doi: 10.1080/23308249.2016.1209160. 

Merten, J., A. Röll, T. Guillaume, A. Meijide, S. Tarigan, H. Agusta, C. Dislich, C. Dittrich, H. Faust, D. Gunawan, J. Hein, Hendrayanto, A. Knohl, Y. Kuzyakov, K. Wiegand, and D. Hölscher (2016). Water scarcity and oil palm ex-pansion: social views and environmental processes. Ecology and Society 21(2):5. ttp://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08214-210205.

Schwarze, S., Euler, M., Gatto, M., Hein, J., Hettig, E., Holtkamp, A. M., Izhar, L., Kunz, Y., Lay, J., Merten, J., Moser, S., Mußhoff, O., Otten, F., Qaim, M., Soetarto, E., Steinebach, S., Trapp, K., Vorlaufer, M. and H. Faust (2015): Rubber vs. oil palm: an analysis of factors influencing smallholders´ crop choice in Jambi, Indonesia. EFForTS discussion paper series, No. 11.


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