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Special course funded by NSF-USA: Next-gen forest surveys in Tropical Asia
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ArticleSource: PFS-Tropical Asia
Update time: 2012-05-15
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This course will focus on the major issues surrounding tropical Asian forest management and the use of  biotic surveys to monitor forest change.  The course will consist of two parts: an on-line discussion course in Fall 2012 and a four week field course in July 2013 at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) in Yunnan, China, a research institute in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Full scholarships will be provided for 12 students from any graduate degree granting institution in the U.S.A. and six students from similar nstitutions in tropical Asia.  These scholarships are funded by the National Science Foundation (USA).  Students will be accepted from Chinese institutions, who will pay course fees.  Credit for the online course will be offered through Texas Tech University’s Graduate School. The course will be led by Chuck Cannon (Texas Tech University/Chinese Academy of Sciences, www.ecologicalevolution.org) and David Lohman (City College of New York-CUNY, www.sci.ccny.cuny.edu/lohman/) with additional support of the Program for Field Studies office based at XTBG.

Online course
The students will enroll in an online course that will meet once a week in the fall semester of 2012. Lectures and discussions will introduce students to the major issues concerning forest management in tropical Asia. The region’s biological and cultural diversity is enormously complex and the challenges for creating sustainable environmental policies are daunting. Students will form partnerships with classmates and perform research projects on specific regions of the Asian tropics. Given the ease of web-based global communication, the students will be expected to develop proficiency in communicating with peers across technological, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Students will also explore the use of near-sensing techniques by conducting pilot studies in their nearby forests or natural areas using widely available digital data-collecting and -sharing technologies.  Guest lecturers for the course include Jin CHEN (Director, XTBG), Richard CORLETT (National University of Singapore/XTBG), Rhett HARRISON (Director of Program for Field Studies, XTBG), Gary HARTSHORN (CEO, World Forestry Institute), Erik MEIJAARD (Senior Scientist, People and Nature Consulting), Gary PAOLI (Director of Research, Daemeter Consulting), Douglas SHEIL (Director, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation), Cam WEBB (Arnold Arboretum/Harvard), Jianchu XU (Chief Scientific Officer, ICRAF/China), and Baoping YAN (Chief Engineer, Computer Network Information Center, CAS).

Field course
The Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (http://english.xtbg.cas.cn/) has been performing scientific research and providing agro-forestry outreach and training for over 50 years in the remote southwestern corner of China, near the borders of Laos and Myanmar. With an active community of international scientists and graduate students, XTBG is a leading ecological and botanical research institute in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Because of environmental concerns about the conversion of natural forests to plantation monocultures, XTBG and the local government have planned several experimental agro-forestry trials for forest restoration and improved ecosystem management. The students in the field course will travel to XTBG in the summer of 2013 and establish baseline survey data for these experimental forests, using the near-sensing techniques established during the online course.  Location: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan, China  Time and duration: four weeks in July-Aug 2013.

To apply, please visit the registration page. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2012. If you have any questions about the course, please email chuck.cannon@ttu.edu or dlohman@ccny.cuny.edu.

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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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