„Sustainable Land Management – What is that?“

Status seminar Module B, 23/24 November 2011, Berlin

An event organized by the Scientific Co-ordination Project (B) 2011 in co-operation with the joint projects

One year after the official  kick-off of the funding measure „Sustainable Land Management“ (SLM) the  status seminar of Module B took place in Berlin from November 23rd through 24th 2011. Central question was “Sustainable Land Management – What is that?” About 150 participants from 13 joint projects shared the event. Also representatives from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Project Management Jülich, the Module B scientific co-ordination project, Module A plus further ministries and public institutions participated.
The status seminar aimed to promote the exchange of current results from the joint projects and to intensify cross-project co-operation. In addition, the discussion was also focussed on the term “sustainable land management”.  

The opening notes were given by Dr. Metz from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The BMBF is the funding institution of the FONA activities (Research for Sustainability). Mrs. Metz stressed the importance of co-operation between academics and practitioners (transdisciplinarity) as well as between research sectors (interdisciplinarity) within the funding measure. Resilience, flexibility and robustness are three management aspects that are of special importance in current debates.

Prof. Dr. Müller, representing the scientific co-ordination project of Module B (ZALF), introduced the intentions as well as the program of the status seminar. Mr. Müller stressed main challenges for the funding measure while doing research for regions, developing integrative and adaptive solutions and realising implementation and consolidation of research results. At the same time, science has to meet its quality standards under conditions of permanent contextual change (e.g. energy policy change, financial market developments). Mr. Müller further emphasised the importance of developing a participative culture as well as a co-production of knowledge between academics and regional actors.

PD Dr. Weith, also representing the scientific co-ordination project of Module B (ZALF), shared information on the latest acknowledgements, activities and experiences gathered by the scientific co-ordination project. Mr. Weith underlined the diversity of  approaches, methods and instruments applied by the joint projects. A stepwise organized networking and information exchange can provide an additional value for the joint projects.. In this context future tasks and forms of collaboration were presented.

During the opening day representatives from several joint projects discussed issues of SLM in a panel. They further presented forms of collaboration in order to support cross-project exchange. Prof. Dr. Gertz (€LAN), Prof. Dr. Joosten (VIP), Prof. Dr. Krüger (RegioProjektCheck), Prof. Dr. Lischeid (ELaN) and Prof. Dr. Spellmann (NaLaMa-nT) especially reflected on  transdisciplinary practice, solution approaches and obstacles in SLM.

During the opening day’s afternoon session  participants of the status seminar seized the opportunity to reflect on relevant questions themselves. During an Open-Space-sequence they firstly presented their issues in front of the entire audience and subsequently discussed them in smaller groups.

The following topics were discussed in eight groups: transfer, perspectives on urban-rural-relations and their impact on SLM, spatial governance, demand-driven research and obstacles in SLM, sustainabilty indicators, participation-management, governance, and interdisciplinarity as science. In some groups concrete activities between joint projects emerged and will be realised, partly through joined collaboration with the scientific co-ordination project of Module B.

During the second day of the status seminar the debate about the term “sustainable land management” was put into focus. In the morning session external experts that are not part of the funding measure provided keynote speeches to this topic. Prof. Dr. Schlüter representing the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics from the Cologne University of Applied Studies discussed perspectives of a sustainable land management from an international co-operation perspective. Mrs. Schlüter traced multiple areas of conflicts within transdisciplinary projects and reflected on the issue of useful detailing in modelling considering scientists and practioners perspectives.

Dr. Bachmann from the German Council for Sustainable Development discussed the issue of sustainable land management along the term’s semantic parts. Mr. Bachmann asked for goals in a model that follows a management by objectives. Apart from that, Mr. Bachmann underlined the importance of diverse actors within the management process.

Dr. Engelke representing the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (as well as vice-president for ISOCARP) pinpointed the different perspectives of land use practice. In this context, Mr. Engelke highlighted adequate consideration of different levels of intervention (spatial structure, governance, capacity) as a necessity for sustainable land management, in order to counteract on problem shifts within and between all levels.

During the second days afternoon session aspects and interrelations of SLM were discussed. In a   World Café dialogue small groups gathered around 14 tables in total and dealt with the subject intensively. It turned out that diversity prevails about SLM especially about the aspects ‘sustainability’ and ‘management’. During the process ideas were collected how to deal with conceptional diversity within the funding measure.
Eventually Mr. Müller and Mrs. Metz gave a résumé of the status seminar. They pointed out that heterogeneity in perspectives on sustainable land management requires further exchange within and between all joint projects. Apart from that, it became clear that co-operation between different actors is a key component fur successful projects.