An interview with Dagmar Heidinga about working in an ecological consulting firm.
What would best describe you as a professional?
I am a ‘Law and Natural Protection Specialist Flora and Fauna.’
Right. Sounds fancy. What does it mean?
I am an ecologist by training and now work for an ecological consulting firm. We are advising companies, governments, managers of protected areas, and private persons about the legal frameworks of interventions and write action plans for natural protection.
As soon as anyone in the Netherlands wants to do any kind of activity that could potentially damage protected species, they need to get advice from an independent agency in order to get permission to pursue the activity.
Can you give an example?
In the Netherlands bats, sparrows and swifts are protected species in residential areas by the Nature Protection Act. If anyone wants to get permission to renovate a house or demolish an old barn, they need to get permission from the government to do so. My field ecologist colleagues are coming to the area for a ‘quick scan’ to investigate if any of the protected species is nesting in the area. If the ‘quick scan’ is positive, meaning we suspect one of the protected species is in the area, we advise our client to do further research before the renovation or demolition takes place, because otherwise he or she could breach the law. The next step will be to conduct in-depth research during the time of the year that specific species is active; the breeding season.…