Between the 26th and the 28th of January 2020, 22 doctoral students met at Rigi-Kulm (CH) with five experts, to share their knowledge, discuss and think about impacts and challenges of global changes in agriculture, forestry and conservation.
During three days, the doctoral students, coming from 11 different institutions were asked to think about global changes in terms of current issues such as challenges and opportunities regarding agriculture, forestry and general conservation. The aim was to find potential solutions for sustainable land uses and long-term conservation of species and ecosystems, focusing mainly on central Europe.
Working in different groups, according to their background, the highly motivated students went through intense discussions, receiving also inputs from the five experts from ETH Zurich (Martin Hartmann), WSL (Yann Vitasse and Martin Gossner), FiBL (Sibylle Stöckli) and the Swiss Ornithological Institute (Nicolas Strebel).
Despite their different scientific backgrounds, the students all came up with the fact that public awareness and effective communication are the main keys for the future. For instance: to promote behavioural changes in food consumption and thus, food production; to think “long-term”, especially with forests whose response to changes may occur decades down the road; to change the public perception of nature, to raise biodiversity conservation awareness so that policy changes can be made.
Finding consensus on conservation strategies and sustainability among the scientists is an important challenge as to deliver a clear message to all stakeholders.
The workshop was supported by the SwissForestLab and the Commission for Phenology and Seasonality as well as the following institutions: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Swiss Ornithological Institute. The input lectures during the workshop were given by Martin M. Gossner (WSL), Martin Hartmann (ETH), Sibylle Stöckli (FiBL), Nicolas Strebel (Swiss Ornithological Institute) and Yann Vitasse (WSL).