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At the time of unavoidable and well-documented global change, adaptation has become a key concept in environmental and related social sciences, and also in policy processes on a variety of scales. Many sectors, including forestry, biodiversity conservation, water management, agriculture, infrastructure development (to name a few) need information about the current state and future direction of ecosystem conditions, potential ecosystem-based adaptations, and relevant policies and governance structures enabling such adaptations. This is a field of research and practice on the boundary of natural, social and policy sciences where ecosystem complexity meets the complexity of social systems. The challenge of such collaborations and policy development require not only navigating through complex issues with high levels of uncertainty in physical and ecological processes, but also accounting for the diversity of potential human choices and decisions of multiple stakeholders.
Trying to address these challenges this summer course is built on the three core objectives:
(1) to facilitate transfer of knowledge on emerging research areas and cross-cutting issues of environmental science;
(2) to build capacity for adequate, efficient and oriented towards the international research community environmental research, based on multidisciplinary approaches and concepts, most recent findings and state-of-art and policy relevant research objectives;
(3) to demonstrate what constitutes a good research in the field, and how it can be communicated to the academic community and translated into policy-relevant conclusions.
The purpose of this Summer School is to bring together select scholars and students from a variety of relevant academic and professional backgrounds related to ecosystem vulnerability. It is an opportunity for students to meet together and to have an informed but different perspective about the field of their academic inquiry directly from leading researchers and practitioners and from each other. The range of topics will include ecosystem modeling, ecosystem services valuation and spatially explicit assessment, scenario building, adaptive management, ecological economics and institutional aspects of ecosystem adaptation. The course will provide practical learning opportunities for the participants supported by a number of expert-led sessions on theoretical concepts, tools and methods and case studies to demonstrate their relevance for policy-making.
The school participants will have to complete course readings and prepare pre-course assignments; in-school sessions will include talks by invited lecturers and assignments to be handed in, as well as moderated discussions. The course will be highly participatory and also have students work interactively through some interactive group exercises. The students will be divided in small groups; by the end of the school they will have to present paper outlines to be discussed at the final session.