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The cooperative graduate programme “Adaptive Nature Conservation under Climate Change”


Worldwide ecosystems are changing dramatically as a consequence of global and regional modification of climate and landuse. Since this will lead to a change in biodiversity it has become an overarching duty of nature conservation to guard this change as well as to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity of ecosystems. In 2009 the new cooperative graduate programme Adaptive Nature Conservation under Climate Change was launched at the University of Potsdam. The program has been established at Potsdam University and the University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde to explore and develop sustainable concepts and strategies that will provide for conservation under conditions of rapid environmental change. The graduate programme is integrated in the Potsdam Graduate School (PoGS). The PoGS offers a network between the PhD and graduate programmes of all departments of the University of Potsdam and supports their efforts for quality assurance, and offers interdisciplinary courses.

The graduate programme is funded by Potsdam University, University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, the Brandenburg Ministry of Science, Research and Culture and by the European Social Fund.

What is adaptive nature conservation under climate change?

Adaptive nature conservation under climate change reduces, accompanies or manages unavoidable negative effects of climatic changes on biological and ecological systems that society defines as targets to be conserved. The most important tasks for adaptive nature conservation under climate change are the conservation of (i) biodiversity, (ii) ecosystem services and (iii) the associated positive feedbacks on the climate system regarding plausible and relevant (climatic) futures. These futures are integrated proactively in the conception and application of today's conservation strategies following a precautionary principle. In this process targeted system states are not static, but have to be determined adaptively. Adaptive nature conservation under climate change thus conceives the consequences of global climate change as a central challenge for the maintenance of the well-being of today's and future generations.

The graduate programme

The graduate programme Adaptive Nature Conservation under Climate Change serves as a framework for the exchange between different research projects and offers a coordinated education of junior researchers in the field of biodiversity conservation under conditions of rapid environmental change. The doctoral projects are carried out in close collaboration of the participating universities and institutes. Additionally doctoral students are professionally trained and have the opportunity to acquire vocational qualifications.

 

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