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Summer School 2021: Landscape Ecology

The first summers school in 2021 will relatively be more generic focusing on conceptual issues of landscape ecology and its nexus with SDGs and the overall development agenda in Africa. the processes, underpinnings and trajectories will be addressed with a lens of tropical Africa.

This summer school will cover a number of SDGs including Goals 4,6,13,14,15 and 17. The tentative topics to be covered are depicted in the enclosed schedule.  

The first summer school will cover the following topics 

  1. Introduction: Landscape ecology in the Anthropocene: Perspectives, Contexts, States in SSA
  2. The scientific niche(s) of landscape ecology in the Sustainable Development Goals. Ecological sciences and territorial governance.
  3. Socio Ecological Systems (SES) under changing conditions. Cultivating plausible paths to resilience
  4. Harnessing and integration of Geo-Information Science and Citizens Science for systems resilience and sustainability
  5. Livelihood and ecological security: Tackling footprints, tradeoffs and interfaces in fragile systems
  6. Case study presentations by participant premised on their research work and experiences
  7. Field excursion on Mt. Elgon
  8. Summer school wrap up, evaluation and planning for the next event

Call for Applications

Call for Applications


Issues of social-ecological sustainability, systems resilience and social equity benefiting from nature ́s contributions to people continue to occupy a prominent position in the global development dis-course of tropical regions particularly in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). The dominant narrative paints a dismal picture in SSA and avers that ecological systems are increasingly undergoing enormous degradation linked to natural and human induced processes with adverse implications on local and regional populations whose livelihoods are strongly dependent on environment and natural resources.

Feedbacks through increasing intensity and extent of natural hazards, stagnant or declining agricultural yields, and in consequence increasing migration exemplify the magnitude of current impacts of interwoven natural and societal changes at global scale. These have been accelerated by climate change with new prospections of a 50C global warming instead of only 1.50C as intended.

Increasing climate variability and tremendous demographic changes jeopardize sustainable development and undermine the suitability of current policy, planning and governance approaches to manage them successfully. A strong desire exists in addressing these issues as seen in the tenets of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the Africa Union Agenda 2063. Landscape ecology principles provide a framework for sustainable land use planning and natural resource management.

Landscape Ecology as an interdisciplinary marriage between geography, biology, ecology and social sciences provides a valid scientific foundation to harness the role of biodiversity for a sustainable livelihood and suggest adequate governance instruments to achieve the SDGs. The VW-summer school series intends to train participants on the knowledge and skills of how landscape ecology can contribute to improve the status of achieving the SDGs and the AU Agenda 2063 objectives. The summer school will entail joint engagement of scientists and practitioners from urban, regional and national planning as well as from governmental institutions who are engaged in socio-ecological system development from multiple perspectives.

Target Group

Each summer school is planned for 40 participants to be selected from African countries and Germany. The summer school will be a mixture of early career and young scientists as well as established scholars and input providers from practice, such as policy makers/representatives of governmental institutions preparing and implementing environmental policies, planners, actors from business and economy and local knowledge holders. For the young scientists, the focus will be on PhD and postdoctoral students from African and German institutions.

Mode of implementing the 1st Summer School

The 1st summer school will consist of three webinars and a physical meeting which will take place in Uganda in July 2021. The webinars will cover the theoretical underpinning of landscape ecology with a view bringing all the participants to the same level of understanding of landscape ecology and its principles. The place and space of landscape ecology in the global development agenda 2030 will explained and discussed.

  • Webinar 1: December 2020:
  • Webinar 2: March 2021:
  • Webinar 3: June 2021

The physical meeting in July 2021 in Kampala will build on the knowledge created by the webinar series. It will constitute of lectures delivered by scientific and policy experts, presentations from participants, group discussions and field excursion at key sites.

Physical meeting: 12th to 19th July 2021, Kampala, Uganda


  1. Be a PhD student, Postdoctoral student or early career scientist from based in Sub Saharan Africa or Germany. Landscape ecology scientists from Sub Saharan Africa may also be considered

  2. Consistently participate in the three planned webinar series

  3. Motivation and interest in landscape ecology

  4. Brief CV (Maximum 2 pages)

Application Procedure and Deadline

Click here to submit your application. Please note that the application deadline is 30th October 2020.


The summer school series are fully funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, which will cover costs for travel, accommodation, VISA and meals physical meeting in Kampala in July 2021.

Summer school II and III

Calls for summer school II and III will be announced in future on the website after implementation of the first summer school. The future summers schools will broadly focus on the following themes

  • Summer School II (2022): Cities and Urban ecological resilience
  • Summer School III (2023): Ecological governance


More information about the summer school can be obtained by sending an email to: