A visit to the TU Dresden botanical garden

Without an entrance fee for the community, the publicly accessible Botanical Garden of the TU Dresden is not only home to native and endangered plants, but also serves as a botanical repository for plant species of ‘vulnerable’ status, highlighting the vital role of botanic gardens in the conservation of the same.

The visit started with an introduction on the historical development of the plant conservatory including the different locations wherein plant collections were held since 1820. This was followed by a description of the entire plant collection, namely a variety of 10,000 plant species from tropical, subtropical, old-world deserts and rain forests in America, Africa and Asia which are divided into species of annuals, perennial herbs, and woody plants. We warmly thank Dr. Barbara Ditsch, Dr. Stein, and Dr. Lindner for the lecture and guided touring around the garden with the unforgettable unique plants.

Before the excursion was completed, we also came to learn about the natural bees whose role in the maintenance of plant genetic resources and also plant conservation, not only in this garden but also worldwide, is regarded as very important. We felt we have had a tour around the botanical world within the confines of the TUD Botanical Garden, with the birds singing and the light-sunny peaceful ambience.


Report by Dang Diep Yen Nga (Vietnam) and photographs by Rocío Grommeck (Paraguay)

Excursion to Saxon Switzerland National Park

Out of the classroom, CIPSEM participants visited the National Park “Saxon Switzerland”, a good example for successful environmental education.

The tour was not only enriched by the landscape, but also enriching the mindscape: at the National Park Centre we learned about the efforts being made to educate people and communities about the environment and its associated problems, raise awareness and motivate them to solve these problems.

We finished the day with a short walk in the wild.

Report by Hiba Mohammad (Syria), photographs by Hiba Mohammad (Syria) and Dulip Somirathna (Sri Lanka)


EM-39 halftime … but no break

The mid-semester mark passed on Tuesday 12th, April 2016, at CIPSEM as EM-39 activities continue in full swing. The course started 3 months ago and most uncertainties from the beginning disappeared. The teaching and learning process here is dynamic, combining lectures, excursions and group work. Quite recently we visited the Natural History Museum of the Senckenberg Society in Görlitz, where we could experience not only local and international biodiversity aspects in the public exhibitions, but also we able to look behind the scenes and learning about the contribution to science by the researchers of the museum.

Back at CIPSEM the next day, Dr. Dittrich from the Professorship of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation conducted a role play and the participants were brainstorming for a solution on biodiversity and conservation with evaluation of the priorities, monitoring and management in a mountainous area.


I’m crazy busy. I’m busier than in any of my previous experiences here!” is a quote from one of the participants these days …

But there is a real sense of progress heading towards the second half of the course programme.


by Mehri Sadat Alavinasab (Iran)

SC65: Excursion to Berlin

The course headed to Berlin to participate in a workshop organized by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) at the International Climate Initiative. In the afternoon the group was first guided through the BMUB facilities and afterwards had the opportunity to explore more of Germany’s capital on their own.

(Photos: F. Biesing)

Visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Hainich National Park

For the last excursion of the EM38 course, the group headed once more to Leipzig. This time a visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) was scheduled. The iDiv research centre is a joint institution between the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University. The research center was established in 2012 and conducts top-level research in biodiversity sciences with special focus on environmental change, sustainable development and bioresource management.

On the second day the group headed to Thuringia to visit the Hainich National Park. The park is part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany’ and includes the largest unexploited area of broadleaf forest (50 km²) in Germany.

(Photos: A. Lindner, T. Karp)

Biosphere Reserve Upper Lausatian Heath- and Pond Landscape

Together with the TUD M. Sc. course ‘Tropical Forestry‘ the group visited the ‘Biosphere Reserve Upper Lausatian Heath- and Pond Landscape’ (Oberlausitzer Heide- und Teichlandschaft) … – what a long name, however this area’s uniqueness justifies the effort: the reserve comprises over 30.000 ha and is part of the UNESCO ‘Man and Biosphere’ network (MAB). The target of biosphere reserves is to reconcile human livelihoods, economic activity and nature conservation, which is worldwide achieved by the classification of the area into four zones (core area, buffer zone, transition zone and regeneration zone) with various natural features and different management purposes and intensities.

Carrs, mire-, heath- and dune-landscapes, woodlands, meadows, riparian forests, ponds, and river flood plains are just some of the habitat types occurring in the core area and the buffer zone. Over 3.400 animal species have been found in the reserve (e.g. 53 species of dragonflies, 23 fish species, 15 amphibian species, 161 species of breeding birds, such as white-tailed eagle and 49 mammal species) among which are 807 IUCN Red List species.

Transition and regeneration zone serve primarily for agricultural production, settlements and the recultivation of devastated lignite open-cast mining sites.

(Photos: A. Lindner)