Faculty Mobility, Trainings and Workshops

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Workshops at the American University of Armenia

The workshops, taught by UHOH staff, have the format of courses open to all AUA staff as well as, if space allows, external participants (people involved in biodiversity conservation projects or land management agencies). The workshops provide scientific foundations, e.g. on the Ecosystems (ES) framework, and at the same time demonstrate how concepts and methods can be transferred to the practice of teaching and research on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. A special focus is on a critical reflection of the potentials and limitations of the ES framework. Therefore, the character of the workshops is strongly interactive and involve “real-world-focused” practical exercises, e.g. with regard to an ongoing community planning process.


Workshop 1: May 10, 2018 – Public Participation GIS and Ecosystem Services, a Public talk by Prof. Claudia Bieling, University of Hohenheim, at the American University of Armenia

The workshop was an introduction to a new cooperation project between the AUA and University of Hohenheim (Germany). The ecosystem services concept has become a key tool in strategies for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, effective in terms of raising public awareness on the environment and its values as well as informing, planning and decision-making.

Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) approaches to ecosystem services are a particularly vibrant field at the international level as they allow integrating information on perceived ecosystem services with biophysical data (e.g. on biodiversity, erosion processes) and expert-based management plans.


Workshop 2: September 24-28, 2018 – Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services

The American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment and the University of Hohenheim (UHOH) organized a training on Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services within the framework of the GAtES Project.

Seventeen participants from academic institutions and international organizations — including AUA faculty and staff, National Academy of Sciences researchers, Agribusiness Teaching Center faculty and GIZ GIS and biodiversity experts — took part in this five-day training.

The first part of the training, led by UHOH Professor Claudia Bieling, focused on Ecosystem Services. The aim was to develop a critical understanding of the concept of ecosystem services, its relevance and application in landscape management, including payment schemes for ecosystem services. This part of the training also provided an overview of the requirements, challenges and ways of moving forward with assessing ecosystem services.

The second part of the training, led by Dr. Maria Garcia-Martin of UHOH, introduced the tools and uses of GIS for for Public Participation GIS (PPGIS), including interviewing and analysis techniques using PPGIS.

The lectures were supplemented by practical work on creating and conducting PPGIS surveys, data preparation and visualization, spatial and non-spatial analysis, and interpretation of results.


Workshop 3: May 25 – July 6, 2021  – Participation as a Means for Fostering Sustainability in Urban and Rural Land Management: Ideas for Including Topics in Teaching, Research and Outreach

The objective of the workshop was to introduce and discuss public participation tools and how they can be integrated into relevant academic teaching, research, and outreach activities in the field of environmental sciences.Participants had the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the concept of public participation, its relevance and application in coursework and research, and the opportunity to test and evaluate public participation tools under the guidance of Professor Claudia Bieling and Dr. Maria Garcia-Martin.


About the Trainers

Professor Claudia Bieling

Claudia Bieling holds the Chair of Societal Transition and Agriculture at the Institute of Social Sciences in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim, Germany. Her work is rooted in transdisciplinary sustainability research and focuses on the interface of ecological and social dimensions in land-use and food systems. She works with the concepts of cultural landscapes and social-ecological resilience and draws on empirical research experience in a variety of collaborative projects (with a focus on Central and South-Western Europe). Claudia Bieling publishes extensively on land management and sustainability and edited two books with Cambridge University Press (“Resilience and the Cultural Landscape” in 2012, “The Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship” in 2017). She serves as an associate editor for the journal “Conservation Letters”. Claudia Bieling holds a postdoctoral degree (“Habilitation”) in Landscape Management and a Ph.D. in Forest and Environmental Policy (both from University of Freiburg, Germany). She received her Diploma (equivalent to M.Sc.) in Forest Sciences from University of Göttingen, Germany.

Researcher María García-Martín

María García-Martín is a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural System at the Universities of Göttingen and Kassel. She also collaborates with the Chair of Societal Transition and Agriculture at the University of Hohenheim in the DAAD-funded cooperation project GAtES (German-Armenian Network on the Advancement of Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services as a Means for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development).

She holds a degree in Geography, a Master in Land Planning and Sustainable Local Development (Geography Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), and a Ph.D. in Landscape Sustainability (Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg).



AUA Acopian Center for the Environment Staff Visit University of Hohenheim 

On June 4-28, 2018, two staff members of the Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) completed a study-tour at the University of Hohenheim. Litta Muradyan, Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator at ACE, and Aghavni Harutyunyan, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist, attended a month-long graduate-level course in Landscape Change, Resilience and Ecosystem Services taught by Dr. Claudia Bieling.

The course covered a range of topics, including conceptual foundations: resilience thinking, application of concepts, perceptions of past and future landscape changes, landscape change and human well-being, as well as eliciting cultural ecosystem services in practice. Read more…