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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | IRI THESys | IRI THESys | People | Dr. Sarah Ann Lise D’haen

Dr. Sarah Ann Lise D’haen

Visiting researcher
How can we capture transformations in human-environmental systems related to long term climate change?


  • Human-environment system transformations under climate change
  • Land use change and urbanization processes in the Global South
  • Household survey data, panel data


"Being a guest researcher at IRI THESys gives me the opportunity to connect with an exciting network of interdisciplinary human-environment researchers in Berlin. It’s a stimulating environment for me to prepare a junior research group proposal focusing on big data …" Dr. Sarah Ann Lise D’haen

After two years of commuting between Berlin, where she lives, and Copenhagen, where she worked, Sarah has recently decided to become 100 percent Berlin based. Until February 2016, she was Assistant Professor at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen (KU), where she was responsible for BSc, MSc and PhD courses on land use and land use transitions in the global South, and where she supervised BSc and MSc projects and theses. Her research focused on Tanzania’s recent climate change adaptation policies and the role of district level bureaucrats in adaptation delivery. Next to this she looked into Tanzania’s ‘rural urbanization’ trends. Originally trained as an Agronomist (MSc, KULeuven, Belgium) and an Environmental Scientist (MSc, Imperial College, London), Sarah obtained a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) in 2012. For her PhD, she explored the relationship between rainfall variability and household diversification strategies in Burkina Faso, combining multiple national household level surveys and spatio-temporal rainfall data.

At IRI THESys Sarah continues her research on Tanzania and prepares a junior research group proposal.

Selected publications

Nielsen, JØ, D’haen, SAL, 2015. Discussing rural-to-urban migration reversal in contemporary sub Saharan Africa: The case of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. THESys Working Paper No. 2015-02.  Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Pp. 1-21. edoc.hu-berlin.de/series/thesysdiscpapers

D'haen, SAL, Nielsen, JØ & Lambin, EF, 2014. Beyond local climate: rainfall variability as a determinant of household nonfarm activities in contemporary rural Burkina Faso. Climate and Development, 6 (2), 144-165, http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2013.867246

Nielsen, JØ & D'haen, SAL, 2013. Asking about climate change: reflections on methodology in qualitative climate change research published in Global Environmental Change since 2000. Global Environmental Change 24, 402-409, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.10.006

D'haen, SAL, Moussa, IB & Reenberg, A, 2013. Embedded discourses: Nigerien academic contributions to land use change research since the 1960s. Journal of Sustainable Development  6 (7), 69-87, http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v6n7p69

Agergaard, J., D'haen, SAL., Birch-Thomsen, T., 2013. Demographic Shifts and ‘Rural’ Urbanization in Tanzania during the 2000s: Presentation at the session 'Urbanization as the New Frontier'. Abstract from Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2013, London, United Kingdom

Full list