Project ”Management of Natural Resources in the Tropics and Subtropics - Innovation of Study Programs of the Mendel University in Brno”

The project aims to implement innovation to the Forestry and Horticulture study programmes at Mendel University in Brno in order to enhance competitiveness of its graduates. A modular system of study superstructure enables the university students to apply general knowledge obtained through studies in the conditions of tropical and subtropical regions and to compare it with cultural landscape management in Central Europe. The project’s primary objective is to train competitive graduates for professional activities and project management in tropical and subtropical countries.

We were approached to participate in the preparation and implementation of the project’s theoretical part in the Czech Republic as well as in its practical training abroad. The project modifies the former, purely forestry-oriented approach towards a broader environmental scope on the landscape level. For this purpose we utilize the platform of two biosphere reserves, Lower Morava BR and Sokotra BR.

These two biosphere reserves share similar properties, despite different socio-economic, environmental and geographic conditions. Not only that they became the members of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves the same year (2003), but they both have a World Heritage Site and Ramsar Site designations within the biosphere reserve area. This multi-international designation status makes these two sites unofficial "twin biosphere reserves".

The project’s output will encompass graduates (200) who in the course of three years will undergo theoretical and practical training (60), as well as innovative study material and well-designed field projects which the members of target group carry out in collaboration with employees of the Sokotra BR and local nature conservation bodies.

Our participation is in accordance with our Foundation Contract, the Seville Strategy and the Madrid Action Plan. Involvement in this project gives us the opportunity to influence the management of an important international project, to participate in designing the training modules and to obtain experience for designing lectures which compare the models of both BR under different conditions.

The project was funded by the European Social Fund and state budget of the Czech Republic under the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness.