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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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)

Groundwater management is a vital resource for tomorrow

Our water resources will only sustain in the long term if we build up our water management. In this context the participants of EM39th experienced two days with the experts of the Institute for Groundwater Management at TU Dresden. To develop our understanding of factors affecting sustainable management of groundwater, we had lectures about the concepts of subsurface properties, well constructions, monitoring wells & groundwater quality sampling and salinity modelling. We also visited the laboratory to support the estimation of geo-hydraulic parameters technically.

Many thanks to Prof. Dr. Rudolf Liedl, JProf. Dr. Marc Walther, Dr.-Ing. Diana Burghardt and Dipl.-Ing. Martin Binder for sharing with us linkages developed within & outside Germany.

Report & photographs by Hiba Mohammad (Syria)

Participants develop their practical skills in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Instruments of environmental planning in modern Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are essential for decision making processes – this was exemplified by a Simulation of participation procedure: Case study “By-pass road around Wolbeck/Germany”. The focus was team work to find joint solutions of the most environmentally sound road location. Main environmental conflicts in the planning process were considered on several roles of residential areas, green residential areas, conservation resource for fauna and flora, soil, water, climate/air, historical land use and more. With prognosis of impacts, some intensely discussed decisions were presented. In conclusion, a solution of the project was presented on the map, but debates continued significantly into the well deserved lunch break.

Thanks to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wende from the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development for the material and putting us in a real environmental impact assessment career, gaining an insight for caring all stakeholders as self-played as decision makers, inhabitants and project sponsors in the planning case.

Report & photographs by Mehri Sadat Alavinasab (Iran)

Population ecology: Black bears and black beans

Today, as part of the module ‘Conservation & Restoration Ecology’ Ms. Micheletti gave an insight into the life of a population ecologist. The course participants had to slip into the role of wildlife biologists and find out how many black bears (Ursus americanus) live in Alaska by applying a mark and recapture technique. Thereby the course was split into four groups, each using different numbers of marked and recaptured animals to show how important a well-elaborated methodology is for successful wildlife management. Unfortunately due to time reasons the group was not able to go to Alaska this time, but the black bean (supposedly Phaseolus vulgaris)-experiment was at least equally suitable.

(Photos: T. Karp)

Stories from the lecture room: Communication

A lot of variety and action was offered today in Ms. Casers class. The EM38 course learned in a very lively way (see pictures) which factors have to be considered when communicating with the public and with decision makers.

(Photos: Ms. Caser)