The course programme is basically divided into three areas:

  1. Theoretical foundations of selected topics of technology use in the national park management. This is mediated through university lectures as well as through two guest lectures from cooperating research institutes about the following issues: quality of environmental data, programming environmental applications, earth observation and data mining.
  2. Practical exercises to deepen the theoretical part of the lecture
  3. Events for the providing of information for the study location Germany as well as for the culture and the regional studies (see Opens internal link in current windowaccompanying programme)

National Park Management:

Lecturers: Dr. Harald Egidi und Claus-Andreas Lessander, National Park Office  Hunsrück-Hochwald

In this block, the objectives of a national park as well as national and international standards will be introduced at the beginning. In addition to the description of the process of the national park´s establishment and the importance of participation as well as network building, the necessary inventories can be discussed briefly (geo-ecological terrain factors, vegetation, fauna, socio-economic parameters, etc.). The importance of a national park management with regard to the development of the area starting from the current state towards the desired wilderness is presented through short-, medium- and long-term management measures of the National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald. Moreover, the mediation of different levels of monitoring processes and their connection to the national park management will be discussed. 

In a subsequent excursion to the neighbouring national park Hunsrück-Hochwald, the natural environment basics, the forest composition, special locations, monitoring systems etc. will be presented to the participants.

Earth Observation:

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Fabio Del Frate, University of Rome Tor Vergata

This module will give an introduction on the basics of optical and microwave Remote Sensing keeping an eye to the last opportunities stemming from the satellite data provided for free under the EU Copernicus programme. The potential of such a technology for the monitoring and management of forests will be then explained presenting suitable techniques for image processing and data fusion, and also addressing the issues related to the use of different spatial and spectral resolutions. The main considered applications will regard the production of forest maps, the estimation of biophysical parameters, the detection of scars and subsequent monitoring of vegetation re-growth. Practical sessions will follow the presentation of the theoretical aspects. 

Programming Environmental Monitoring Applications with Arduino:

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Anna Förster, Director of the Sustainable Communication Networks group at the University of Bremen; Prof. Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gollmer, University of Applied Sciences Trier, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld.

Many functions of environmental monitoring, like temperature, humidity, light and rain, can be most efficiently implemented as automated applications, where a device is deployed in the wild, gathers the relevant information and sends it autonomously to a nearby server. This teaching module will introduce programming of simple environmental monitoring applications with Arduino. Arduino is a very user-friendly and cost-efficient hardware platform with simple programming environment, which allows complete programming novices to quickly implement a simple program like temperature or light monitoring. We will learn how to program simple applications, how to connect different sensors and how to deploy the device later in the real-world. Also typical problems in the wild will be discussed, lie protection of the devices from humidity or from animals and tourists. The main goal of this module is to enable the participants to use Arduino in their learning or research projects to more efficiently gather high-quality data.

Weather Station in the Nationalpark Hunsrück Hochwald
Weather Station

Quality of Environmental Data:

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Rolf Krieger, University of Applied Sciences Trier, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld

Today, environmental research, like many other research areas, has to struggle with a growing flood of structured data as well as unstructured data. Environmental monitoring networks continuously deliver data about the air, climate, water or radiation etc.  Usually, the data are stored, analysed and interpreted by environmental information systems. These systems provide a detailed picture about the environmental status and its evolution. In addition it is also important that experts and the interested general public can get information about completed, ongoing and planned research projects and even the generated results to support knowledge exchange and communication. Necessary metadata has to be gathered and made accessible through search engines. In this context it is important and necessary that the data meet basic quality requirements, such as timeliness, completeness, accuracy, accessibility, consistency etc. Data quality is an essential characteristic that determines the reliability of data for making decisions. This module will provide a useful introduction to this topic.  

Topics of the module include data quality models, organization of data quality projects and methods and tools used in these projects in general. In the practical exercises focus is also on environmental data, e.g. sensor data and metadata in the environmental sector relating to the national park.

Statistical Methods / Time Series Analysis:

Lecturer: Dr. Stephan Didas, University of Trier, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld

The module "Statistical Methods" will cover the basics of statistical time series analysis. This is a suitable tool to detect changes in the dataset of long-term measurement series at an early stage and, if necessary, to take countermeasures. At the beginning, nonlinear regression models will be presented to get a first view. Then, advanced models such as ARMA-models will be discussed. In this context tools for change point analysis are really interesting and will be briefly introduced.

In the practical exercises specific data records from longtime weather and climate measurements of the German Weather Service, as well as from the Forest Air Station Leisel in the National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald, will be used.

Guest Lectures:

Wildlife Detection: Dr. Ulf Hohmann, Dr. Cornelia Ebert, Dipl. Biol. Carolin Tröger - (Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry (FAWF))

Environmental Sensor Networks (N.N.)

Forest observation in the Nationalpark Hunsrück Hochwald
Forest observation - Landesforsten Hoffman
Drone in the Nationalpark Hunsrück Hochwald