Research on global change and sustainable development issues requires a transdisciplinary approach, which implies close cooperation both between different scientific disciplines (interdisciplinarity), and between scientists and other societal actors. This, in turn, calls for a training approach that supports this type of research. We refer to this training as “integrative training”, i.e. training that integrates students from different scientific disciplines, brings together researchers and practitioners, and takes into account different cultures in academic training. The training is based on “case-study-based learning”, implemented in 8- to 10-day courses in environments that offer options for 2- to 3-day fieldwork activities on complex global change issues. The present guidelines offer practical assistance for trainers who wish to design, plan, and conduct training events in complex research settings. Print copies are available at: nccr-north-south[at]cde.unibe.ch
Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn, Susette Biber-Klemm, Walter Grossenbacher-Mansuy, Holger Hoffmann-Riem, Dominique Joye, Christian Pohl, Urs Wiesmann, Elisabeth Zemp, 2008
Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research: The emergence of Transdisciplinarity as a Form of Research
Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn, Susette Biber-Klemm, Walter Grossenbacher-Mansuy, Holger Hoffmann-Riem, Dominique Joye, Christian Pohl, Urs Wiesmann, Elisabeth Zemp, 2007
By transgressing disciplinary paradigms and surpassing the practical problems of single actors, transdisciplinary research is challenged by the following requirements: to grasp the complexity of the problems, to take into account the diversity of scientific and societal views of the problems, to link abstract and case specific knowledge, and to constitute knowledge with a focus on problem-solving for what is perceived to be the common good. Transdisciplinary research relates to three types of knowledge: systems knowledge, target knowledge and transformation knowledge, and reflects their mutual dependencies in the research process. Research that addresses problems in the life-world comprises the phase of problem identification and problem structuring, the phase of problem investigation and the phase of bringing results to fruition.
Humankind today is challenged by numerous threats brought about by the speed and scope of global change dynamics. A concerted and informed approach to solutions is needed to face the severity and magnitude of current development problems. Generating shared knowledge is a key to addressing global challenges. This requires developing the ability to cross multiple borders wherever radically different understandings of issues such as health and environmental sanitation, governance and conflict, livelihood options and globalisation, and natural resources and development exist.
Global Change and Sustainable Development presents 36 peer-reviewed articles written by interdisciplinary teams of authors who reflected on results of development-oriented research conducted from 2001 to 2008. Scientific activities were – and continue to be – carried out in partnerships involving people and institutions in the global North, South and East, guided by principles of sustainability. The articles seek to inform solutions for mitigating, or adapting to, the negative impacts of global dynamics in the social, political, ecological, institutional and economic spheres.
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The Ethiopian Highlands cover over 50% of the country and are home to more than 90% of Ethiopia's population of over 80 million people (estimate for 2010); 60% of the livestock and 90% of the area suited for agriculture are also located here. Although more than 90% of the Highlands was once forested, today a mere 20% of this area is covered by trees, and the percentage
of forest cover is less than 4%. This is evidence of a high incidence of degradation of vegetation in the past, which has continued to the present. Land-use and land-cover changes have been particularly dynamic in the 20th century, during which climate change also began to have effects; wildlife in natural habitats have been restricted to those few areas that were preserved naturally due to rugged topography or natural aridity. Soil erosion has been severe throughout the Highlands, but mainly on agricultural land; the current
severity and extent of soil degradation seriously threaten food security. [...]
In: Hurni H, Wiesmann U, editors; with an international group of co-editors. Global Change and Sustainable Development: A Synthesis of Regional Experiences from Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, University of Bern, Vol. 5. Bern, Switzerland: Geographica Bernensia, pp 187-207.
Land-use change is one of the main drivers of many environmental change processes. It influences the basic resources of land use, including the soil. Its impact on soil often occurs so creepingly that land managers hardly contemplate initiating ameliorative or counterbalance measures. Poor land management has degraded vast amounts of land, reduced our ability to produce enough food, and is a major threat to rural livelihoods in many developing countries.
To date, there has been no single unifying volume that addresses the multifaceted impacts of land use on soils. This book has responded to this challenge by bringing together renowned academics and policy experts to analyze the patterns, driving factors and proximate causes, and the socioeconomic impacts of soil degradation. Policy measures to prevent irreversible degradation and rehabilitate degraded soils are also identified.
In: Braimoh AK, Vlek PLG, editors. Land Use and Soil Resources. Dordrecht, The Netherlands; London, UK: Springer, pp 41–71.