in memoriam - Roel Oldeman (1942-2008)
Dr ir L.R. (Roel) Oldeman suddenly passed away on 24th November 2008. Roel was born on 16th June, 1942, in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. In 1968 he graduated from Wageningen Agricultural University and went to Hawaii for his PhD study on sugarcane: “Analysis of Sugarcane Production in Relation to Climate, Soils, and Management”.
From 1972 to 1980 he worked as agroclimatologist at the Central Research Institute for Food Crops (CRIFCI) in Bogor, Indonesia, in the framework of a bilateral agricultural assistance programme between Indonesia and the Netherlands. His research activities focused on the relationship between climate and rice-based-cropping systems.
From 1980 to 1982 Roel worked as guest researcher at International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), Wageningen, the Netherlands.
There he wrote the technical report – A Study of the Agroclimatology of the Humid Tropics of Southeast Asia”, at the request of the Interagency Group (FAO, UNESCO, WMO) on Agricultural Biometeorology. Roel was a visiting scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Banos, Philippines from 1982 to 1985, where he was a Project Manager of a joint IRRI-WMO Rice-Weather Studies program.
Since the mid 1980s until his retirement in 2002 he worked at ISRIC, Wageningen, The Netherlands. First as senior scientist and as part of his duties he worked for 12 months on the agroecological characterization of Madagascar in the framework of a Rice Research and Training Project of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). From 1987 to 1990 Roel was the Project manager of a joint UNEP-ISRIC project: World Map on the Status of Human-Induced Soil Degradation (GLASOD, published in 1990). That map has been widely used and was his masterpiece.
From 1992 to 2002, he was the director of ISRIC and responsible for the management of ISRIC with the following mandate: The collection and dissemination of scientific knowledge of the soils of the world aimed at a better understanding of their characterization, classification, distribution, and capability for sustained land use at local, national, and global scale.
After his retirement, he worked as volunteer for the Openluchtmuseum (Open Air Museum) in Arnhem. Roel had a sudden stroke on the 22nd November 2008 and passed away two days later. He will be remembered as a highly amiable and open-minded person, who always was good company, and inseparable from his pipe. He is survived by his wife Henneke and daughter Mariette.