I am a tropical forest ecologist with a focus on spatial and temporal patterns and processes at population and ecosystem level. I am furthermore very interested in issues related to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources under current and future climates. I have worked in the Middle East (Syria and Lebanon), South America (Brazil) and Eastern Africa (Kenya). For more background, check my website Ecodiv.

Throughout the years I have used a wide range of GIS, database and statistical software in my work. The choice of software mostly depended on the task at hand and the software being used  at the workplace. Since a few years I have started to use more open source software, partly because the flexibility it gives me (I can use it wherever and whenever I need it) and partly because for some of the work I am doing open source programs simply offer the most convenient and powerful tools.

While some programs are very easy to use, there are a few that have a rather steep learning curve, most notably R and GRASS GIS. Luckily there are many on-line sources, including user forums, email lists, and on-line documentation and tutorials to help out. Much of this information is by users for other users. It is thanks to them that I have managed to learn a a great deal about programs such as R, GRASS GIS, QGIS, OpenOffice, and SQLite (well, relative to where I started in any case).

In order not to forget newly learned techniques or tricks I try to jot down some notes whenever I have learned something new. This might also include notes I make when trying out new software. This blog aims to share these notes with other users, in the hope that they come in handy one day for somebody else. And it forces me to write more comprehensible notes than I otherwise might do, not a bad thing either :-).