GAtES – German-Armenian Network on the Advancement of Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services as a Means for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development
Project time period:
Starting in 2018, the University of Hohenheim (UHOH) and the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment are collaborating on a 4-year academic exchange program funded by DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. The project’s full title is the German-Armenian Network on the Advancement of Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services as a Means for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development. Expediently, the acronym GAtES is used to refer to the project.
Internationally, Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) approaches for ecosystem services have become particularly vibrant academic and practitioner fields as they allow for integrating information on perceived ecosystem services with biophysical data (e.g. on biodiversity, erosion processes) and expert-based management plans. The GAtES project supports the AUA faculty and researchers in acquiring knowledge on the ecosystem services concept and PPGIS-based methods and how they can be used in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. A better understanding of ecosystem services and PPGIS approaches is enabling AUA faculty to embed these concepts in their certificate and minor programs in Environmental Studies. AUA researchers furthermore develop a critical appraisal of PPGIS-based approaches and concepts as well as an ability to apply them in their own research projects. UHOH faculty and students, on the other hand, are gaining experience in international cooperation and developing strategies for advancing biodiversity conservation for forests and pastureland by applying the ecosystem services framework in a post-Soviet context.