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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network



History of the ALTER-Net Summer School


VerdonThe ALTER-Net network organized its first Summer School in September 2006 in Peyresq, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France, where it has been held ever since. Responsibility for organizing the summer school has rotated among ALTER-Net partners. From 2006 to 2011, the Summer School was organized by the PIK institute (Germany). It has since been organized by INBO (2012), SYKE (2013-2014) and since 2015, by UFZ.

The topic back in 2006 was “Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Ecological and Socio-economic Aspects”. Today, the Summer School still focuses on biodiversity and ecosystem services and on the interdisciplinary challenges of conserving and ensuring their sustainable use. The school was created to develop a unique opportunity to explore this important issue with about 30 like-minded students and young scientists and around 20 renowned researchers and experts on the topic. The key recipe for success is the balanced combination of “out of the box thinking” lectures, providing many challenging questions, plenty of discussion time during and between the lectures, all balanced with a range of informal activities. Not forgetting an essential ingredient; a heavenly location in the remote Alps!

The main legacy is without any doubt an impressive network for life. Each year, 30+ students from countries around the world attend the Summer School, representing a broad range of disciplines. Many form lasting professional relationships and friendships. Although still biased towards natural science, the aim of the Summer School is - increasingly - to create an environment for studying the challenges relating to biodiversity and natural resources in an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary way.

Once again, we look forward to welcoming students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds, together with teachers, conveners and tutor, all of whom will meet in Peyresq. Topics this year include valuing ecosystem services, the use of scenarios, arguments for nature conservation, the ecosystem approach, participatory methods for ecosystem service assessment, governance and conservation, climate change, resilience and adaptability in both human and natural systems, habitat loss and fragmentation, business perspective on biodiversity and the challenge of communicating science.

We hope you will join us and challenge your knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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