In the Spotlight: Oludunsin Arodudu

Jul 22, 2015

Dunsin is working at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany.

The topic of your research project is “Sustainability assessment of agro-bioenergy land use”. You’ve been working on it for about two years now – how is your work progressing? What do you plan to do/cover over the next 6 months?

Thank you very much. Work has been progressing somewhat fine, little hiccups here and there, but overall my progress on the work has been fairly good I would say. Over the next six months, I would be focusing on the concluding parts of my life cycle assessment indicator analysis and writing paper publications from them.

Why did this exact topic interest you?

My interest in this topic was fueled by two things. First, the close-end discussions on the futures of agricultural bioenergy, when in actual fact, it might be one of the most viable situations for energy poor communities around the world. This has inspired my assessment of the sustainability of agricultural bioenergy considering the impacts of locally and regionally relevant agronomic factors such as farm power types (tractor/man/animals); tillage methods (conventional/conservation/no-till); fertilizer sources (synthetic/animal manure/biogas digestates); irrigation techniques (rain-fed/surface/sprinkler/drip); seed-sowing options (native/GMO-genetically modified/hybrid seeds) etc.

Second is the  need for sustainability assessment paradigms that do not only promote scaling from simple to complex in search of better understanding and solutions, but also finds ways of communicating solutions obtained from complex systems in ways simple enough for stakeholders to follow. This facilitated my exploration of relevant land use assessment frameworks like ecosystem services (ESS) and land use functions (LUF) frameworks; as well as relevant life cycle assessment (LCA) frameworks return on energy invested (EROEI), human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP), resource footprint (RF), greenhouse gas (GHG) balance frameworks etc. Also, methodological pathways for combining them was also researched into, so that no elements of sustainability (space, time, stakeholder and impact) and/or corresponding sustainability question  (where, when, who and what) is left out within the context of assessing the sustainability of the agro-bioenergy land use as a whole.

What would you like to do after the CASTLE project has finished?

I will like to sum this up in four keywords namely research, training, consultancy and advocacy. I would like to continue researching for a long while because I realized in the course of this project that it fits well with me naturally. However, I wouldn’t also mind to be a trainer or teacher at a research institute or University if the opportunity arises. This is because in the course of the CASTLE project and in doing my PhD, I have had to give some training classes and also teach at my University (University of Potsdam, Germany), which also fits well with me. Consulting for private businesses and public agencies on issues related to land use and energy would also not be out of the way, considering my growing expertise in these endeavours. I will also want to contribute my quota to the growth of the bioenergy sector and environmental policy making, back in my Country (Nigeria), my continent of origin (Africa) and developing countries as a whole. This I intend to do  through participation in advocacy programmes either as a member of an international organization of any dimension or a non-governmental organization.

What are your thoughts on the CASTLE project so far, and the training courses in particular?

Before CASTLE, I had always wanted a programme that will give me lots of exposure to practical experiences within the environmental policy making sector globally, and for me CASTLE was it!

The experiences so far has been immense, massive and unquantifiable. I couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else. Each new training has offered me loads and diversities of knowledge,  insights, possibilities and experiences.  Although the planning for the trainings (being new to most of the partners) came with few organizational itches here and there as expected, but overall, considering the set up, structure, arrangements and the individual strengths of the partners (across the five to seven EU Countries involved) that we all (14 CASTLE fellows) are leveraging on, it has been second to none I must state categorically. Thanks to the organizers for having me on this amazing consortium.