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This two-week summer school will focus on sustainable land use and municipal planning through the combination of four different problem areas of rural areas: water management, forestry, sustainable agriculture, the decline and ageing of their population. These challenges will be introduced with both Hungarian and Spanish examples in parallel - showing the different realizations of the same problematic topic throughout Europe. Our participants are encouraged to pin point local and global solutions while they learn to identify local and general trends out of the local flavours and vice versa.
Rural areas are highly effected by climate change. Even though EU agriculture is technologically developed, its capacity to deliver food and to contribute to ecosystem services for the European society is directly dependent on climatic conditions. European small communities will need to define their strategies for production, farm management and investment in face of increasing uncertainty.
The unsustainable usage of the natural resources increases the effects of global warming, erosion and biodiversity loss. Choice of land use methods and types has a dramatic influence on the environmental footprint. The inadequate agricultural cultivation not only destroys the soil locally but also has negative effects on the running water and the ground-water. Forestry activities such as silviculture determines the forest capability to fulfill its function as natural habitat. These and many other land use related decisions will define the pathways for the human society towards more sustainable land use strategies and practices.
From a sociological point of view these small communities are losing their attractiveness especially in the eyes of young people who are moving to cities. This phenomenon is generating larger and larger urban areas which become more and more vulnerable to climate change creating longer and longer value chains. Therefore, the well-being of rural areas and their capacity to keep their population are crucial to urban areas as well.
Global climate change certainly increases several risks of the rural areas putting under pressure the rural economy and population. The overall aim of our course is to find effective multidisciplinary tools to improve the livelihood and income generation capability of the small European communities while we increase the resilience and the environmental services of the area.