ALTER-Net Summer School 2008


The Third ALTER-Net Summer School

"Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services"

took place 2 - 14 September 2008 in Peyresq, France

Peyresq, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France (Photo: Esteban Tapella)


More information


Summer School 2008

The ALTER-Net EU Network of Excellence organized it´s third summer school from 2 to 14 September 2008 in Peyresq, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France on "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services". Please find here a short version of the programme (pdf: 100KB). In case you are interested you can have a look at the programmes of 2006 on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Ecological and Socio-economic Aspects or of 2007 on Trends in Biodiversity: European Ecosystems and Policy.



Detailed Programme

Please click on the title of the presentation which you are interested in to learn more. There you will find a pdf of the talk, a summary by a student, some background literature and if you are interested in the CV of the speaker click on the name.

Arrival and

Welcome and general introduction
Wolfgang Cramer & Sabine Lütkemeier
Poster session The history of Peyresq
(Introduction and village walk)
Jean Vancompernolle
Trends in and Threats for Biodiversity / Posters Trends in biodiversity, regional, European and global...
Allan Watt
Ecosystem services and global change - The environmental dimension of human vulnerability
Dagmar Schröter
Tony Patt (guest)
Poster session The Anthropocene: From hunter-gatherers to a global geophysical force
Will Steffen
Scenarios Introducing scenarios in environmental change assessments: concepts and methods
Mark Rounsevell
European ecosystems in alternative future worlds
Tim Carter

Introduction to the scenario exercise
Mark Rounsevell
Working group sessions on scenarios Whose future? The Nicobar Islands in the aftermath of the tsunami
Simron Jit Singh
Impacts and Services Sociometabolic transitions in human history and present, and their impact upon biodiversity
Marina Fischer-Kowalski
Indicators for ecosystem services
Michael Bredemeier
Working group sessions: Kick-off meeting Why conserve biodiversity?
Martin Sharman
Ecosystem Processes Landscape variability and impacts of ammonia in relation to the Habitats Directive
Mark Sutton
Forest ecosystems in a CO2-rich world
Christian Körner
Walk to the shepherds
Jean Vancompernolle
Land use and Land Management Monitoring, modelling and managing land-use change on a large scale
Hermann Lotze-Campen
Public views on biodiversity - the construction of attitudes towards biodiversity management
Anke Fischer
Working group sessions Do we need other conservation targets facing climate change?
Katrin Vohland
Excursion: Land-Use Change in the Provence Excursion
Global and Local Risks Biodiversity in mountain regions
Georg Grabherr
Working group sessions Ecosystem services: (some) ethical issues
Sybille van den Hove
The Social Dimension of Biodiversity Management Biodiversity, local participation and gender - Or: The introduction of a feminist political ecology
Hanne Svarstad
The 2010 biodiversity target and long-term climate protection targets
Rik Leemans
Working group sessions: Interim meeting Major transitions in biosphere and anthroposphere
Wolfgang Lucht
Free Day Free day
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and other Global Studies The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ― Where we have been and where we are going
Hal Mooney
One way to value diversity - the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment
Wolfgang Cramer
Working group sessions
Stoichiometric Constraints / Historical Dimension Ecological stoichiometry - a bottleneck for biodiversity and ecosystem services
Jaroslav Vrba
Reconstructing historic socio-environmental interactions: the role of the very long term
Sander van der Leeuw
Working group sessions Assessment of the posters
Rik Leemans
Results and Outlook Presentation of the working groups Working group sessions Vulnerability studies today and tomorrow
Wolfgang Cramer
Working group sessions: Draft of the final report





Summer School Objectives

The ALTER-Net Summer School is contributing to durable integration and spread of excellence within and beyond the network, with a view to promote interdisciplinary approaches.

The 2008 Summer School focussed on:

  • Biodiversity in Europe - state of the art;
  • Monitoring and assessment;
  • Critical ecosystem properties to sustain ecosystem services;
  • Resilience of social and natural systems;
  • Ecological and socio-economic modelling;
  • Linking biodiversity research with policy and the public.


In the plenary (Photo: Elle Rajandu)


The programme included two talks in the morning and an aperitif talk in the late afternoon before dinner. All talks provided ample time for discussions and as the speakers usually stayed for some days in Peyresq informal discussions were going on till late at night. Tutors guided the working groups in the afternoons this year in a rotating scheme not fixed to a special group. The participants discussed implications of findings for their case studies and compiled a report (pdf: 6MB). The working groups concentrated on the local region that is the Var catchment and on the following sectors: Water, agriculture, rural-urban transition and nature conservation. One delegate from each of these working groups joined the synthesis group summarizing the results in a synthesis report aimed at policy makers. An excursion illustrated land-use change in the Provence. Of course there were also opportunities to relax in the beautiful village of Peyresq and its surroundings.




Speakers of the summer school

- Michael Bredemeier, Forest Ecosystems Research Centre, Göttingen University, Germany
- Tim Carter, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Helsinki, Finland
- Wolfgang Cramer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
- Anke Fischer, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, UK
- Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Institute for Social Ecology (IFF), Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Klagenfurt University, Vienna, Austria
- Georg Grabherr, Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria
- Hermann Lotze-Campen, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
- Christian Körner, Botanisches Institut, University of Basel, Switzerland
- Rik Leemans, Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
- Wolfgang Lucht, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
- Hal Mooney, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA
- Mark Rounsevell, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability (CECS), University of Edinburgh, UK
- Dagmar Schröter, Umweltbundesamt, Vienna, Austria
- Martin Sharman, Directorate General for Research, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
- Simron Jit Singh, Institute for Social Ecology (IFF), Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Klagenfurt University, Vienna, Austria
- Will Steffen, Climate Change Institute, The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia
- Mark Sutton, Atmospheric Sciences, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh, UK
- Hanne Svarstad, Unit for Human—Environment Studies, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Oslo, Norway
- Sybille van den Hove, Median SCP & ICTA-UAB, Barcelona, Spain
- Sander van der Leeuw, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tucson, USA
- Katrin Vohland, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
- Jarda Vrba, Biology Centre, University of South Bohemia and Institute of Hydrobiology, Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
- Allan Watt, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh, UK





The ALTER-Net 2008 summer school was open to young graduate and post-graduate scientists from the network partners, universities and for two participants from developing countries and Australia. Adequate English skills were required. All participants presented a poster on their own research. The summer school was limited to 32 participants, who were selected with the goal of achieving an optimal mix among regions, disciplines and gender. There were no registration fees and accommodation (double rooms) and meals were provided for free. Travel costs had to be covered by the participants.

Here you can download the application form. (We suggest to use Adobe Acrobat 5.0 for completing the form because with this version you are able to save what you filled in.) The deadline for applications was 15 April 2008. The successful applicants were notified by 15 June 2008.

An evaluation questionnaire was included in the folder of the participants and a shorter one in the folder of the speakers. The evaluation of the summer school from the articipants as well as from the speakers was very favourable and some tangible suggestions will help to organize future summer schools even better.

Please contact the Summer School Director concerning any questions you might have in respect to the summer school:

Sabine Lütkemeier
Summer School Director
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Telegrafenberg A62
14473 Potsdam
E-mail: Sabine.Luetkemeier -at-


All the particpants and tutors (Photo: Martin Sharman)



Please have a look at the short report of an alumni meeting after the summer school of 2008 below.ideenhof.jpg






Summer School Conveners

Wolfgang Cramer
Earth System Analysis -
Research Domain I
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Telegrafenberg A62
14473 Potsdam
E-mail: Wolfgang.Cramer -at-

Uta Fritsch
(Chief Tutor)
Coordinator of EURAC-Junior
Science Communication
EURAC research
Viale Druso 1
I-39100 Bolzano

Rik Leemans
Environmental Systems Analysis Group
Wageningen University
P.O. Box 47
6700 Wageningen
The Netherlands
E-mail: Rik.Leemans -at-

Sabine Lütkemeier
(Summer School Director)
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Telegrafenberg A62
14473 Potsdam
E-mail: Sabine.Luetkemeier -at-

Dagmar Schröter
Spittelauer Lände 5
1090 Vienna
E-mail: dagmar.schroeter -at-

Allan Watt
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)
Edinburgh, Bush Estate
Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB
United Kingdom
E-mail: a.watt -at-



Poster session (Photo: Esteban Tapella)


Executive Board of the ALTER-Net Summer School

Karl Baadsvik, Chair, NINA, Trondheim, Norway
Wolfgang Cramer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
Lars Lundin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Henk Siepel, ALTERRA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Jana Spulerova, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
Jaroslav Vrba, Hydrobiological Institute, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic