IALE-Europe PhD Course 2017

From pattern and process to people and action

Ghent / Dourbes, Belgium

September 10 - 11 and 15 - 19

The course was linked with the IALE 2017 European congress in Ghent and has taken place in the period of the 10 – 11 and 15 – 19 September 2017. This provided young researchers with the opportunity to participate in the congress and to meet with the wider European landscape ecology community. 

This PhD Course fits in the series of PhD Courses in Landscape Ecology organised by IALE-Europe. Previous editions were organised in 2012 (Évora), 2013 (Manchester) and 2015 (Copenhagen), each in collaboration with a local university and with around 25 participating PhD researchers. 

During the course, the participants had the opportunity to reflect on their PhD research with the wider landscape ecological thinking by interacting with young and notably senior researchers. The course was organised as a mixture of lectures, feedback on students’ papers, time for discussion as well as a field trip to explore the area of the PhD course.

Topic and Theme

Since the early stages of modern landscape ecology, there has been recognition that humans, in broad sense, cannot be ignored in a landscape ecological approach that aims to be holistic and applied. Progresses have been made in the integration of both the biophysical and the cultural perspectives in landscape ecology. Still there is a gap between those focusing on “pattern and processes” and another on “people and action”. Merging the two is still a challenge ahead. Bringing people from diverse disciplines together with differences in jargon, methods and approaches creates the setting for emphasising the role of landscape ecology as a meeting point, where pattern and process meet people and action. Evolving towards inter- and transdisciplinary approaches is fundamental when dealing with culture induced nature of European landscapes. This requires a true interaction between natural and social sciences and between science, policy and practice. The course addressed topics from both natural and social sciences and had a more specifically focus on the integration of both.

In line with the congress, the theme of the PhD course was “From pattern and process to people and action”. In this course, we wanted to capitalise on the variety of disciplinary backgrounds of PhD students, and the diversity of case studies to foster a discussion on clarifying the conceptual frameworks and methodological approaches to address the complexity of European landscapes today.

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