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The world is facing a looming scarcity of land necessary to secure agricultural commodities production and experience competition from other land uses. At the same time, evidence suggests underuse and full farmland abandonment is a global land change process. It is Europe's most common land change process, with a recent spread of abandonment in the Global South. Farmland abandonment has strong implications for the environment and societal well-being, including food security. Abandoned lands in Europe and other parts of the world are now perceived as a source for environmental restoration and implications for carbon offsets as a part of the Green Transition, and opportunities for rewilding. Yet, to study abandonment is challenging from the definition of this process and methods applied to monitor abandonment and study the drivers and implications of farmland abandonment.
The scope of the Ph.D. course is to bring students and researchers who are interested in an interdisciplinary outlook on farmland abandonment from different angles of science. A critical point would be to assist students in selecting appropriate methods and data sets to study farmland abandonment. A set of lectures with a focus on a history of abandonment approaches to measure abandonment and empirical toolboxes to evaluate causal drivers of farmland abandonment will be presented. A special focus would be on the theoretical understanding of the farmland abandonment process, including behavioral mechanisms of farmland abandonment. The lectures will be complemented by discussions of key readings and several labs. We will also provide a space for students to present their preliminary results and give a space for fruitful constructive feedback.
Students will get comprehensive knowledge of the farmland abandonment process and methods to monitor and evaluate the drivers of farmland abandonment and the implications of socioeconomic and environmental processes. We expect that students will improve the design of their studies. Priority will be given first to those who conduct research on this topic.
The course will be taught by national and international Faculty and through an interdisciplinary angle, they will cover different aspects of understanding farmland abandonment.