Socio-ecological modelling for multi-functional landscapes

Course dates: 7 days, Autumn 2021 as a fully virtual (online) course, tba

Registration dates: TBA, some month before course start

Location of the course: TBA (likely at Senckenberg BiK-F, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Coordinating university/institution: Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)

Website of the project/course: SALLnet:

Course coordinator: Dr. Simon Scheiter

Course lead: Dr. Simon Scheiter, Prof. Dr. Reimund Rötter, Prof. Dr. Jan Henning Feil

Course description and primary learning objectives:

Southern African landscapes are multi-functional and provide essential ecosystem services and functions to local communities. This course will address how different modelling approaches can be applied to study the complexity of such landscapes, and the effects of climate change, alternative land management practices and land use change on ecosystem services and functions. The course will provide the theoretical background of both multi-functionality and modelling from field to landscape/regional scales, and ample opportunity to apply different models in hands-on sessions. Models include the dynamic vegetation model aDGVM, the crop simulation model APSIM, and agent-based models for socio-economic applications. Primary learning objectives are (1) to get familiarized with the concept of multi-functional landscapes, (2) to get familiarized with different modelling approaches, (3) to acquire skills to run different models and interpret results, and (4) to learn applying the models in a small project for assessing multiple ecosystem functions and services.

Learning methods:

  • Lectures on background and theory of multi-functional landscapes, crop modelling, dynamic vegetation modelling, and agent-based modelling
  • Introduction to different models (aDGVM, APSIM, Agent-based), and hands-on training
  • Development of small modelling projects addressing questions on multi-functional landscapes
  • Presentation of project results

Expected learning outcomes:

  • gained knowledge in different components of Southern African multi-functional landscapes (including rangelands, croplands, human actors/decision makers), and how they interact,
  • are familiar with different modelling approaches representing multi-functional landscapes,
  • understand the modelling process, including the development of research questions, selection and application of appropriate models, analysis and presentation of model results, and
  • have hands-on experience and skills in the application of different models (aDGVM, APSIM

Target group:

MSc students, PhD students, early career researchers with interest in the topics covered by the SPACES II projects. Some experience in R and ecological modelling is an advantage but not required.