Announcement and call for abstracts

Vie, 09/12/2016 - 10:16

„Climate change and biodiversity in Latin America: Agroforestry systems – a compromise between economy and ecology“

International DAAD Alumniseminar
26 March – 1 April 2017, Universidad de Costa Rica & CATIE, Costa Rica

in the framework of the ReCALL‐Alumni‐Program
“Biodiversity and Climate change: Adaptation strategies of Agriculture and
Forestry in Central‐ and South‐America?”


Seminar goals and concept
The Agriculture and Forestry sectors need to continue providing food and raw materials for up to ten billion people within the coming decades. Production improvement, the use of new areas and the transformation of land use systems that have been introduced in recent decades led to an increase of food production in many parts of the world. This is often accompanied with environmental damages along the entire value‐added chain, ranging from the deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity, the release of greenhouse gases, to the pollution of air, water, and soil. Even now, the use of natural resources often exceeds the regenerative capacity of the systems. The livelihoods of people who depend on natural resources become less predictable and migration may be the result. Agricultural production is therefore subject to a higher volatility in the product availability, which then affect the world‐market prices and trading.

Biodiversity plays an important role for the functionality of agricultural and forest ecosystems and diverse ecosystem services. Therefore, the sustainable and resource efficient management of land‐use systems is a growing challenge. However, in this context the arrangement of scientific‐technical, economic, social, and environmental aspects is complex and integrating analyses are still rare.

Agroforestry systems diversify and sustain production in order to increase social, economic and environmental benefits for land users. They range from traditional to modern land‐use systems, where trees are managed together with crops and/or animal production.

The exchange of best practice examples, the preservation of traditional knowledge, joint research planning or the preparation of recommendations / guidelines for the implementation aim at improving agro‐forestry systems in changing environments. We will use the alumni seminar to provide a dialogue forum joining international experts working on these land‐use systems with members of local universities and research institutions in Costa Rica.

Key aspects of the alumni seminar are:
・Agroforestry systems
・Forest monitoring / remote sensing
・Ecosystem services: contemporary significance and potentials
・Sustainable use of natural resources
・Economic aspects and agro‐forestry / forestry policy

The Alumni seminar will facilitate networking between the participants and scientists, land users and local authorities in Costa Rica. By means of presentations and discussion fora, visits of regional facilities and agroforestry enterprises, you will get in touch with institutions and organizations involved in the agricultural and forest sector. You will furthermore have the opportunity to develop and exchange ideas with renowned experts during the seminar.
The alumni seminar is hosted by the University of Costa Rica and CATIE, organized in cooperation with the Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use (CBL), University of Göttingen. It is offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the costs will be mainly covered by funds from the DAAD provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The seminar program will include:
・ Keynotes, sessions and workshops related to the main topics
・ Scientific presentations by the participating alumni
・ Group work activities and professional networking opportunities
・ Field visit to the Caribbean region
The final program will be published once all applications have been reviewed.


Eligibility criteria for participation
This seminar targets alumni of German universities
・ from Central‐ and South‐American countries
・ who carried out research or studied in Germany for at least 3 months and
・ who are currently living and working in their home / or another Central/South American country.
You should have
(1) a proven background in academic fields relevant to the topics of agro‐forestry, forestry, rural development, agriculture, natural resource management, environment
(2) professional experience and personal interest in one of the following areas: research, education, NGOs, government agencies, policy making, project development, local communities, and related stakeholders.
(3) the requirements to act as a potential multiplier who will present the seminar results in your home country and thus disseminate the acquired knowledge as well as develop ideas and projects for regional implementation.
(4) adequate language proficiency which is essential to actively participate in the workshops and discussions as the seminar will be held in English.

Cost coverage
・ Return ticket from and to airport in San José (lowest possible economy class airfare)
・ Accommodation and meals during the stay in Costa Rica
・ Transport to and from the excursion venue, entrance fees
Please note: All other costs, such as transport costs from participants’ home town to their home airport or travel costs for visa application in the home country have to be borne by the participants.

Travel dates:
26th March 2017: Arrival at the venue at University of Costa Rica, San José
1st April 2017: Departure from San José

Application procedure
Your application should emphasize your motivation and personal/ professional benefit for your participation. You should illustrate how you are planning to imply the gained knowledge and what possiblestakeholders for collaboration you may identify for your professional career.
Please conduct your online application via our application portal latest by 12. December 2016:
In addition to the online application form, your application in English should include the following documents as a single PDF which can be uploaded in the portal:

  1. Short CV with photograph (max. 2 pages)
  2. Motivation letter (max. 1 page) addressing and answering the following three questions:
  • What do you expect to learn during the Alumni seminar and how will you personally and professionally benefit from the participation?
  • What are your present work and duties, and what topics related to the seminar are especially important to you?
  • How are you planning to imply the results of our discussions into your present and upcoming projects and what stakeholders are you planning to work with in the future?
  1. Abstract (draft version of a case study, research topic, or project) for your presentation during the alumni seminar (1 page). The PDF‐document with a total of max. 4 pages has to be named ‘Last name_First name_country’ (e.g.  Henkelmann_Antje_Germany).

Please note: Completeness of personal data mentioned in the online application form will affect your
eligibility as a participant.

After the review by the organizing committee, the invited participants will be notified latest early January

For further questions, please contact Dr. Simone Pfeiffer or Antje Henkelmann (
Goettingen, November 2016

De Domingo, Marzo 26, 2017 (Todo el día) hasta Sábado, Abril 1, 2017 (Todo el día)