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Educational Network on Soil and Plant Ecology and Management
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Soils are the basis for plant production and provide numerous ecosystem services. Many human activities are affecting the soil conditions in several ways. Effects like soil compaction, degradation, acidification and salt accumulation restrain the basic requirements for plant production and thus food supply for humans. The overall objective is to provide an interdisciplinary international activity under the title “Educational network on Soil and Plant ecology and management”. The whole activity is divided into four workpackages (WP): WP1: Summer School „Soil & Water“, WP2: Establishing of a permanent teaching Module „Soil and Plant Ecology and Management“ at each University, WP3: Enhancing teaching and networking potential for teachers, WP4: Transposing the educational network into future research and teaching activities. The project aims to provide a teaching standard for a European wide perspective from the expertise of the consortium (see below) integrating humid, intermediate and dry Mediterranean environments. This approach is a novelty at the European level. The involved partners from four countries are strong in the following fields: University of Life Sciences, Estonia: soil science, sustainable use of soils, degradation, compaction University of South Behemia, Czech republic: wetland ecology, soil microbiology and related processes Université d'Aix-Marseille, France: soil-plant-interaction, soil organic matter turn-over, plant ecophysiology (especially drought) Ulm University, Germany: wetlands and methane emissions, plants and soils under limited oxygen supply, plant ecophysiology This broad international cooperation was already established in 2012 (Erasmus IP Soil & Water) and shall be continued within the proposed Erasmus+ activity. It promotes general academic competences and has substantial value for subsequent teaching activities for all project partners. The target groups are students from advanced undergraduate and graduate levels with previous teaching curricula focussed on biology and environmental sciences. The yearly interdisciplinary international course for about 30 students from four countries will bring together expertise from different geographical and climatic locations in Europe. Different land-use and land-history patterns as well as societal structures will be included into the teaching. The next level of the proposed activity is an intensive partnership on the topic resulting in further activities including teaching and research grants. There are four intelectual outputs to be achieved within the project duration reaching from standardized study material up to curricula development and follow-up research activities. The quality of the project will be monitored by an independent Quality assurance unit run by the Ulm University. The dissemination ranges from providing specific teaching material, information on project web pages to final meeting activity at the end of the project.
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