Christof den Biggelaar

Core Faculty
Highest Degree: 
217 Living Learning Academic Building
Research & Teaching Interests: 
In addition to his knowledge and skills in agriculture, agroforestry and organic gardening, his areas of expertise include endogenous knowledge systems; farmer experimental practices and knowledge generation processes in agroforestry systems; participatory (RRA/PRA) and survey research methods; program evaluation; and qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
  • Ph.D. 1994 Michigan State
  • M.S. 1989 Michigan State
  • B.Sc. Hogere Agrarische School in 's Hertogengosch


Christof is originally from the Netherlands, where he received an Agricultural Engineer's degree in Agronomy (equivalent to a B.Sc.) from the Hogere Agrarische School in 's Hertogenbosch. He then spent 6 years in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), the (then) People's Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic as an agricultural teacher and extension agronomist. He obtained his M.S. degree in Agricultural and Extension Education at Michigan State with a certificate in African Studies ('89). Before embarking on his Ph.D. studies, Christof participated in a post-graduate training program on development-oriented research in agriculture (ICRA) in the Netherlands, which included a 3-month interdisciplinary field study on research-extension-farmer linkages in Southwest Province, Cameroon. For his Ph.D. (Forestry, Michigan State, '94), he studied farmer experimental practices with agroforestry systems in Rwanda. After completing his Ph.D., he spent two years in Kenya as a consultant for the World Agroforestry Center and FAO 's Forest, Trees and People Programme.

Christof joined the Sustainable Development faculty at Appalachian State University in August 2000. He teaches courses in agroecology and sustainable development. Since 2008, he coordinates the Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture Concentration in the BS degree, and directs the activities at the Teaching and Research Farm in Valle Crucis.

Since 2005, Christof has been working as a technical advisor on agroforestry and sustainable agriculture for the Madagascar Fauna Group in Toamasina, Madagascar. He provides training for MFG staff at Parc Ivoloina and for farmers living around the park. He is also an adjunct faculty at the University of Toamasina's Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et Environnementales Program, teaching a course on Agroforestry and Soil Conservation and serving as technical advisor on students' thesis committees.

Selected Publications

Christoffel den Biggelaar, Rattan Lal, Keith Wiebe and Vince Breneman. 2004. The global impact of soil erosion on productivity I: Absolute and relative erosion-induced yield losses. Advances in Agronomy 81: 1-48.

Christoffel den Biggelaar, Rattan Lal, Keith Wiebe, Hari Eswaran, Vince Breneman and Paul Reich. 2004. The global impact of soil erosion on productivity II: Effect on crop yields and production over time. Advances in Agronomy 81: 49-95.

Rattan Lal, Christoffel den Biggelaar and Keith Wiebe. Measuring On-site and Off-site Effects of Soil Erosion on Productivity and Environmental Quality. Proceedings of the OECD Expert Meeting on Soil Erosion and Soil Biodiversity Indicators, Rome (Italy), 25-28 March, 2003.

Christoffel den Biggelaar, Rattan Lal, Hari Eswaran, Vince Breneman and Paul Reich. 2003. Crop yield losses to soil erosion at regional and global scales: Evidence from plot-level and GIS data. In: Keith Wiebe (ed.), Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, and Food Security: Biophysical Processes and Economic Choices at Local, Regional, and Global Levels, pp. 262-279. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

Murari Suvedi, Christoffel den Biggelaar and Shawn Morford. 2003. Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Sustainable Agriculture Programs. Journal of Crop Production 9 (1/2) 433-454.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 2000. Identifier avec les paysans des agriculteurs experts en agroforestrie: Une expérience de l‚utilisation des méthodes participatives au Rwanda. In: N. Sellamna, M. Mathieu and P. Lavigne-Delville, Les enquetes participatives en milieu rural: Pratiques, débats et enjeux, pp. 227-250. Paris: Editions Karthala-GRET-ICRA.

Christoffel den Biggelaar, Rattan Lal, Keith Wiebe and Vince Breneman. 2001. Impact of Soil Erosion on Crop Yields in North America. Advances in Agronomy 72: 1-52.

Christoffel den Biggelaar and Murari Suvedi. 2000. Definitions, Goals and Bottlenecks of Sustainable Agriculture as Perceived by Farmers in the North-Central Region. Agriculture and Human Values 17 (4): 347-358.

Mureithi, William, Christoffel den Biggelaar, Edward Wanambisi, Kuria Kamau and Catherine Gatundu. 2000. Mursik Production in Trans-Nzoia District, Kenya: A Traditional Method of Treating Milk for Preservation and Palatability. Journal of Ethnobiology 20 (1): 75-91.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 1996. Farmer Experimentation and Innovation: A Case Study of Knowledge Generation Processes in Agroforestry Systems in Rwanda. Community Forestry Case Study No. 12. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 1996. Linking Actors in the Agricultural/Agroforestry Knowledge System in Embu District: Developing a Collaborative Model for the Promotion of Agroforestry Technologies for Sustainable Development in Humid and Semi-arid Lands of Eastern Kenya. AFRENA Report No. 103. Nairobi: ICRAF.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 1994. Farmer Knowledge and Experimentation with Trees and Tree Cultivation in Agroforestry Systems in Rwanda. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 1991. Farming Systems Development: Synthesizing Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge Systems. Agriculture and Human Values 8 (1/2): 25-36.

Arze, J., C. den Biggelaar, W. Brinkman, E. Frimpong, J. Kimemia, E. Lazaro and M. Timmermans. 1990. Agricultural Research and Extension: A Contribution to the Understanding of Linkages with Small-Scale Farmers. A Case-Study in Kumba Corridor Agro-Ecological Zone, SWP, Cameroon. Farming Systems Analysis Paper No. 9 and Working Document No. 10. Wageningen, Netherlands: ICRA.

Christoffel den Biggelaar. 1989. The Impact of Agricultural Extension Activities of Five Rural Development Projects on Food Crop Production in the People's Republic of the Congo. MS Thesis, Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 1989.

Photos & Video

Watch video footage featuring Parc Ivoloina here:

First pruning of Tephrosia sp.hedgerows in an on-farm trial in Ambonivato, adjacent to Parc Ivoloina, Madagascar, 2009.
GRENE students in the Agroforestry and Soil Conservation Course, 2009. GRENE students in the Agroforestry and Soil Conservation Course, 2009.
bee Eat or be eaten.
Signing of MOU between the GRENE program at the University of Toamasina and ASU, July 2008 Signing of MOU between the GRENE program at the University of Toamasina and ASU, July 2008.


Dr. Richard Rheingans, Chair
Sustainable Development Department
Living Learning Center

Sandy Wilson
Administrative Assistant

QEP Global Learning