200 years of forest science in Tharandt

What are the main threats to soil functioning? What are the causes of soil degradation and salinization? What are the impacts of land use change and climate variability on watershed hydrology? What do you know about REDD+ in detail? What is the relationship between forests conservation and climate change mitigation? And how are the relations with developing countries towards those topics?

These questions and more where discussed by a group of outstanding researchers and scientists in Tharandt; the second eldest forestry faculty in the world since 1811.In addition; back at CIPSEM we had a brief introduction to some of ongoing research projects in Ethiopia, Peru and Bolivia as a joint collaboration platform in the context of climate change adaptation and rural development.We are grateful to Prof. Kalbitz, Prof. Kapp, Prof. Krabel and the PhD Students (Maxi Domke, Marolyn Vidaurre, François Jost and Hosea Mwangi) for giving the participants a practical insight into some key aspects of their research fields and methodological orientation by sharing their field experiences with CIPSEM.

Because of its comprehensive stock of temperate woody plant species, we also visited the Botanical Garden in Tharandt

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.by Hiba Mohammad (Syria)

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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.

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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)

Valuation Studies and Economic Instruments for Conservation

Within the module “Science-Policy-Interface” on April 5th a lecture and group work took place about “Ecosystem service valuation and payments for ecosystem services: How can they help nature conservation?” by Dr. Julian Rode, from the Department of Environmental Politics, Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research – UFZ. It was explored how economic valuation studies and economic instruments such as payments for ecosystem services (PES) can be used to reach nature conservation objectives. The participants had to choose a specific context and conservation issue to further propose a valuation study or a sketch of an economic instrument that could significantly support conservation efforts. The handbook “Acting on Ecosystem Service Opportunities – Guidelines for identifying, selecting and planning economic instruments to conserve ecosystems and enhance local livelihoods” provided the participants with a conceptual framework and useful information.

Report and photographs by Mehri Sadat Alavinasab (Iran)

Some hopeful news for biodiversity and sustainable development?

Today is a day of farewell but also of new and hopeful beginnings. We are concluding the 65th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology.

Here you see the participants and CIPSEM staff after the award ceremony.

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It is clear we face many challenges regarding

  •  species extinction and loss of diversity
  • drastic changes in biogeochemical cycles such as that of nitrogen
  • land use changes and the loss of ecosystems, fragmentation of habitats, the pollution of water, air and soil.
In the course we have discussed the overarching concepts of biodiversity as such, of restoration approaches, of putting a value on ecosystem services and many other approaches. The course has benefitted greatly from the experience and kind sharing of this group of highly motivated, diverse participants.
In their wonderful short speech on behalf of the group, Ms. Yetunda McLean from Jamaica and Mr. Mindaye Teshome Legese from Ethiopia have highlighted some of the characteristics which everybody contributed to help this group to grow and explore together. This gives good reason for hope, because there are a lot of issues to tackle.
Overall, this is a year of hope. On this very day the world leaders come together in New York to make sustainable development with its many interlinked aspects a top priority for all countries.
The 17 sustainable development goals are designed as one indivisible package. That two of the 17 targets address terrestrial and marine biodiversity directly, highlights the importance of this topic:
  • Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss (Goal Nr. 15)
  • Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (Goal Nr. 14).

Let’s take our governments by their words. And also: let’s assume the responsibility we all have for how our circumstances develop, and let’s celebrate the small victories along the way.

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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)

Welcome SC65!

The 65th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB Short Course has just begun. Representatives from Argentina, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Zambia have moved into the CIPSEM headquarters to deepen their knowledge in the field of “Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology”.

(Photos: A. Lindner)