Overview: Food and bioenergy demands of a growing global population and societies’ changing lifestyles are increasing the pressures on land and ecosystems. Further pressures arise from the demands on land resources for other ecosystem services, and the variable (often negative) impacts of climate change on plant productivity. These multiple, often seemingly conflicting demands on land and ecosystems are a considerablestumbling-block for achieving sustainability goals. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will run an ONLINE international Summer School on the topic of land use and ecosystems change between the 9.-20. August 2021. The summer school courses will introduce students to a wide range of issues related to ecosystem functioning, socio-ecological systems and land use change by covering:

  1. Both the biophysical and human processes and concepts needed to understand the broader issues of socio-ecological systems. This will include, amongst others, ecosystem functioning, biodiversity, ecosystem services, resilience, vulnerability, risk management, tipping-points, sustainability and related concepts in the field. We will also explore current understanding of how environmental change (both physical and human changes in the environment) will affect socio-ecological systems. This will include content on international assessment processes such as the IPCC and IPBES.
  2. Different aspects of land use change processes across geographic scales and for the past, present and future drivers of change. This will include, for example, land abandonment, extensification vs. intensification, deforestation, the role of social networks and knowledge diffusion, the role of pollinators and land management. There will be a focus on land use change assessment methods, including the role of observational data (e.g. from remote sensing and other sources) and land use modelling approaches using interactive exercises and case studies.

Format: The summer school will include a mix of webinars, group and individual exercises, and student presentations. The course is open to students currently studying for an MSc or PhD degree with backgrounds in environmental sciences, geography, environmental economics, meteorology and ecology.

Lecturers (KIT): Prof. Dr. Almut Arneth, Prof. Dr. Mark Rounsevell, Dr. Calum Brown, Dr. Richard Fuchs, Dr. Sam Rabin, Dr. Heera Lee, Dr. Penelope Whitehorn, Dr. Anita Bayer, Dr. Bumsuk Seo and Karina Winkler.

Applications: Applications are open until 30 April 2021. Please send your CV and a letter of motivation (limited to one page) on one document, signed by your supervisor to: sylvia.kratz@kit.edu


Download the summer school flyer here.