Azerbaijan

Landscape ecological excursion and preparation of an excursion guide

In order to protect biodiversity it is crucial to be able to identify the species of flora and fauna and to know and understand their habitats and how they are embedded in the landscape. This knowledge and understanding is best learned while being outside in the landscape. Comissioned by the „Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit“ (GIZ) the Michael Succow Foundation is supporting the education of students of ecology at the Baku State University by organizing an excursion in Azerbaijan and by creating a corresponding excursion guide.

 

In recent years the Michael Succow Foundation has already been working with the Baku State University to improve teaching in the field of ecology and biology and to strengthen the aspect of landscape ecology. It developed a curriculum and teaching materials for a two-years training programme addressed to lecturers and students of the Faculty of Biology. Several trainings for determining and monitoring bird species, butterflies and plants were held in 2013 and 2014.

 

An international landscape ecological summer school and excursion continued this cooperation. It was carried out together with students of the University of Baku and the University of Greifswald in late summer of 2015. For two weeks, 20 students from both countries examined the vast diversity of the landscapes of Azerbaijan, trained plant determination skills and learned about landscape ecological coherences and interrelationships. They visited numerous excursion points in the Greater Caucasus - from alpine grasslands and montane forests down to coastal forests and arid dune landscapes, mainly in the north of Azerbaijan.

Issues of conservation management and problems associated with degradation and overexploitation were discussed with local land users and conservationists. The Michael Succow Foundation, in collaboration with the lecturers of the Universities of Baku and the University of Greifswald, guided the excursion and provided training during the summer school.

 

In cooperation with Jonathan Etzold of ESTOK an excursion guide is compiled based on the extensive material of the excursion and the preparatory seminars. The guide will include the protocols and other contributions of the students, complemented with expert contributions of the Michael Succow Foundation and the University of Greifswald.

The excursion guide aims at enabling the lecturers and the students of the University of Baku to carry out similar excursions in the Greater Caucasus, thus promoting and consolidating the skills of the target group in terms of landscape ecology. The finalization of the excursion guide is planned for August 2016.

 

The excursion and the preparation of the excursion guide are realized within the GIZ-programme "Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS)".   

 

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Projektkoordination: Sophie Hirschelmann, e-mail: sophie.hirschelmann(at)succow-stiftung.de