Current Courses

Current Courses

Joern Fischer

Social-ecological systems thinking to integrate food security and biodiversity conservation

Ensuring food security for a growing human population and halting biodiversity decline are two of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. The two challenges are interrelated in numerous ways. Because of this, this course addresses the intersection of food security and biodiversity conservation through a social-ecological systems perspective. The course is a combination of lectures, student-led discussions and literature-based work by small groups of students. Assessment is individual.

Ziel: The seminar aims to provide students with skills in interdisciplinary sustainability science.

Conservation ecology

The conservation of species and ecosystems to support both the proper functioning of ecosystems and the provisioning of natural resources to humans is a major sustainability challenge. This course provides an introduction to conservation science and its importance to sustainability. Topics covered will include background on the science of conservation biology; key drivers of biodiversity decline; and challenges of biodiversity conservation in the real world. Specific topics, among others, include habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, the effects of climate change, and invasive species. Underpinning ecological concepts such as metapopulations and connectivity will also be discussed. The course will make links to core concepts/frameworks of sustainability science such as ecosystem services, social-ecological systems, and governance throughout.

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures and student-led discussion. For the discussions, students will organise in groups, select a current 'hot' topic, provide relevant literature for the other students to read before the class, and facilitate a structured discussion including a short presentation. Students will also write individual research papers on the significance of conservation biology for a specific sustainability topic.

A particular highlight will be three guest lectures and discussions that will be presented via zoom, focusing on conservation case studies around human-wildlife conflicts in Romania, oil palm development and biodiversity conservation in Malaysia, and global amphibian declines driven by a fungal disease affecting many species worldwide.

Ziel: The course picks up one of the key cross-cutting challenges affecting human societies in the 21st century -- the rapid loss of biodiversity. By the end of the course, the students will have a clear understanding of the drivers of biodiversity decline, as well we key ecological concepts relevant to halting this decline. Students will also learn to present scientific information in English.

Colloquium Social-ecological system research

Das Kolloquium wird inhaltlich verschiedene Methoden, Ansätze und Ergebnisse sozial-ökologischer Forschung behandeln und unterschiedliche Formate anbieten: Studierende präsentieren ihre Forschungsvorhaben und/ oder Ergebnisse, die dann mit den Betreuuenden und anderen Forschern diskutiert werden können

Ziel: Ziel der Veranstaltung ist ein Austausch zwischen den Forschenden und Promovierenden, aber auch eine Präsentation des Promotionsvorhabens und eine Reflexion über die Fortschritte der Promotion

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Felipe Benra

Balancing ecological and social elements in the spatial design of environmental policy

Providing solutions to environmental and social issues is a common target of environmental policy. However, environmental and social issues are often assessed separately, generating unbalanced policy outcomes. An example, is a policy that considers only environmental efficiency but it is not socially just, or a policy that focuses only on social aspects but neglects environmental efficiency aspects. In order to avoid these types of unbalanced situations and to contribute to solving many of the “wicked” problems that environmental policy faces, like climate and land use change or the distribution of natural capital, we need to include a variety of environmental and social elements that will increase the positive effects and acceptance of policies.

n this seminar, students will learn spatial aspects of assessing terrestrial ecosystems using southern Chile as a case study, focusing on interactions between societal and environmental systems. In the first part of the course, students will be introduced to core applied spatial analysis concepts, databases and ways to model and map environmental and social elements within socio-ecological systems with focus on the study area. For instance, students will learn how to map and model ecosystem services and how to combine that with social spatial variables. This will provide a focus and understanding relevant interactions in the design of environmental policy. In the second part of the course, students will develop an own project in a selected subset of the study area and develop a spatial project on a selected environmental policy topic that can be regarded as “balanced”.

Ziel: Students will learn applied aspects of the design of environmental policy in terrestrial ecosystems.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Marina Frietsch

A social-ecological systems approach to ecosystem restoration around the world (FSL)

IMPORTANT: This seminar will take place in the first 7 weeks of the summer term. The last session will be on May 17.

Ecosystem restoration is a worldwide endeavour to reverse land degradation and create a sustainable future for both people and nature. 115 countries around the globe have put forward quantitative, area-based commitments to global restoration projects such as the Bonn Challenge to restore some of their terrestrial area. Restoration is complex because it needs to account for both ecological and social needs and ambitions. Here, a social-ecological systems perspective can help to disentangle variables, drivers and relationships that shape different dimensions and outcomes of restoration initiatives.

In this seminar, students will (1) be introduced to ecosystem restoration, (2) get to know basics of social-ecological systems thinking, and (3) apply a social-ecological systems perspective to restoration case studies. To this end, students will form groups that take a closer look at selected countries and their restoration efforts with respect to key social-ecological parameters. These parameters will be chosen based on the students’ interest and might include climate change, biodiversity, social or environmental justice, food security, human-environment relationships, ...

Ziel: By the end of the seminar, the students will have a sound understanding of ecosystem restoration and its ecological, social and social-ecological components as well as of the basics of social-ecological systems thinking.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Sarah Gottwald

Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) for surveying and evaluating human-environment relations on campus

Teil I: Kurze Einführung in kartenbasierte Umfrage

Gemeinsam mit dem Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement der Leuphana Universität werden wir eine kartenbasierte Umfrage an der Uni durchführen. Die Inhalte und Design der Umfrage basieren auf den Arbeiten der Studierenden aus dem vergangenen Semester mit thematischen Schwerpunkten auf Gesundheit, Wohlbefinden, und Ernährung.

Teil II: Grundlagen GIS

Während der Beantwortungszeit der Umfrage, werden wir im Kurs GIS Grundlagen erarbeiten. Hierbei liegt ein Schwerpunkt auf der kritischen Auseinandersetzung mit Karten. Die hier genutzten Daten (hard GIS Daten zum Campus) werden im nächsten Schritt benötigt. In dieser Veranstaltung arbeiten wir mit Q-GIS.

Teil III: PPGIS Daten Analyse

Die Studierenden wenden Erlerntes an, um die Umfrageergebnisse zu analysieren, visualisieren und präsentieren. Dabei werden GIS Basisdaten (aus Teil II) mit den räumlichen Daten aus der Umfrage kombiniert. Die Studierenden sind in der Lage: Daten aus verschiedenen Quellen zu importieren, zu verschneiden, Koordinatensysteme anzupassen, eigene Vektordaten zu erstellen, verschiedene Geoprozess- und Analysewerkzeuge anzuwenden (z.B. verschneiden, puffern, Nachbarschaftsanalyse, Mengen- und Geometrieberechnungen).


Individuelle Reflexion: Die Studierenden reflektieren ihre eigene Lernleistung im Rahmen dieses Kurses. Leitlinien und Bewertungskriterien unterstützen diese Aufgabe. Die Reflexion wird im Kurs eingeführt und eingeübt.

Poster: Die Studierenden erstellen alleine oder als Kleingruppe ein Poster. Zentrales Element ist eine selbsterstellte GIS-Karte, welche die Umfrageergebnisse beinhaltet.

Posterpräsentation: Die Poster werden öffentlich sichtbar aufgestellt und den anderen Kursteilnehmenden, Mitgliedern des Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement, und der Dozentin präsentiert.

Ziel: Am Ende der Veranstaltung sind die Studierenden in der Lage GIS-Daten aus unterschiedlichen Quellen zu verstehen, bearbeiten, zu visualisieren, und ihre eigenen und andere geographische Karten kritisch zu hinterfragen.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Dr. Manuel Pacheco Romero

Restoration of Biodiversity in Urban Settings - the Leuphana Campus

Urban areas are a key showplace for socio-ecological restoration. The Leuphana campus holds a great potential for biodiversity restoration and connecting people to nature more. The work in this course is very much project-focused with work in groups on specific aspects of the sustainability challenge of restoring biodiversity on campus. These challenges include balancing options for landscaping that include more native and biodiverse assemblages and cover different habitat types for plants and animals, as well as issues of openness and acceptance of different ways of landscaping and sharing space, and logistical and content issues such as lack of biodiversity knowledge and identification skills both in students and landscape gardeners. We will be navigating this complexity and the goal will be to interact with a number of different stakeholders involved in campus landscaping, among them the Leuphana Biodiversitäts AG, the Präsidium, gardeners and the other campus stakeholders.

This semester the course has more teaching hours to allow for the integration of more content and learning of key approaches and methods as well as more time for analysis and conclusions.

So far we have set up two reduced mowing sites on campus, and have restored a mini meadow, sowing a seed mixtures containing native plants that are attractive for flower visiting insects. This coming summer we hope to extend this set to a couple more sites.

We have three group so far; vegetation and soils group, an insect group and an outreach group, that work together to integrate the results and communicate them to the wider community.

This recurring seminar allows for long-term effects of social ecological restoration and biodiversity restoration to be assessed over time, as the campus dynamically changes with the activities. If we manage to assess the current condition of the campus and what soils and plants are already present and link this to how we would like different areas to develop this will set a solid foundation for mapping and tracking not only biodiversity changes on campus but also the functioning of ecosystems and the contributions they provide to people via nature. Currently in ecological restoration there is increasing interest in addressing such multi-functional outcomes, as well as biodiversity metrics.

This course allows students to gain hands-on experiences in both urban restoration and the complexity and communication skills needed for effective biodiversity change. The successful implementation of restoration measures significantly depends on public acceptance and communication. Therefore we will also practice the communication of scientific perspectives with the public by doing an informative campaign about the biodiversity values on the Leuphana campus.

Ziel: The goal of this course is to continue restoring biodiversity on campus so we can compare the effective of different methods (reduced mowing vs sowing of species rich mixtures) over time in a scientifically rigorous way that will enable us to assess the outcomes and publish the results

This involves • The establishment, maintainance and evaluation of the biodiversity increasing measures on campus • Communication & collaboration with relevant stakeholders (Leuphana Biodiversitäts-AG, Präsidium, students, gardeners) • The design of an informative campaign (for appropriately communicating the value of the interventions and designs to the public) There will be different working groups focusing on ecological or social aspects of restoration, and the link between them.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.