Program GrassNet Summerschool 2011

Summerschool participants in the DITSL seminar room
Berlin city tour
Intensive group work
Explaining sheep management in germany

Organized by:

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uni hohenheim

In cooperation with:

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Funded by:

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Summerschool 2011:

Livelihoods from Grassland systems: Concepts and methods to increase adaptive capacity of land users to changing conditions


26/09 – 07/10/2011


DITSL, Witzenhausen

in connection with the Tropentag 2011: "Development on the margin" 5 – 7 October 2011 Bonn

The GrassNet Summer School 2011 addresses concepts and methods to assess human – livestock - environment relationships of grassland systems. Livestock production is the cornerstone of livelihoods from grassland systems throughout the world. Depending on land tenure and on the degree of the heterogeneity of resource availability, stationary (ranching) or mobile grazing systems (pastoralism) prevail.

Land users are seen as integral part of these systems as they take decisions on the resource management and hence influence and shape the ecosystems. Due to these interactions between people and the environment, the land use system can be regarded as social-ecological systems. Following a social-ecological research approach, knowledge derived from different disciplines and practical experiences will be integrated in order to elaborate feasible solutions for sustainable livelihoods from grassland systems.

Questions to be discussed are: How are different grassland systems managed to keep them both productive and resilient? How do livestock keepers deal with variability, uncertainty and change due to both socio-economic and climatic factors? Which approaches can be used to increase the adaptive capacity of land users to changing conditions? Which similarities and differences exist between pastoralists and ranching systems in the three GrassNet locations?

Emphasis is placed on methods to assess:
•    Range management, grazing management and livestock management
•    Socio-economics of the production and livelihood system (e.g. livestock marketing, viable herd sizes, livelihood diversification, socio-economic constraints)
•    Factors constraining and factors enhancing resilience of production systems (e.g. frequent droughts, degradation, poor terms of trade)
•    Effects of system changes on knowledge management, local decision making processes, and land-use
•    Approaches to increase adaptive capacity of livelihood systems (e.g. collaborative learning, collective actions, livestock insurance, use of information technology)

Active contribution to the "Tropentag 2011" - held October 5 - 7 in Bonn, Germany - will be part of the GrassNet Summer School. "Tropentag" is the annual International Conference on Research for Development in Agriculture and Forestry, Food and Natural Resource Management in Germany. The 2011 conference theme is "Development on the margin". Conference participation offers the opportunity for participants to exchange their concepts, approaches and ideas with the wider international research community in the development-oriented field of science.
GrassNet and the GrassNet Summer School 2011 are supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). GrassNet combines research and education in a cross continental network for sustainable adaptation of grassland ecosystems vulnerable to climate change.

Information: The GrassNet project:
Contact Germany: PD Dr. Brigitte Kaufmann | GrassNet Coordinator | DITSL GmbH Witzenhausen at the University of Kassel | Steinstrasse 19 | 37213 Witzenhausen | Email: | Phone:  +49 (0) 5542 607 19 (direct) | Fax: + 49 (0) 5542 607 39