Land Dynamics (POSTPONED TO 2021)

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International Postgraduate Course

Land Dynamics in an Era of Change (POSTPONED TO 2021)

Learning from the past to shape the future

Monday 12 - Friday 23 October 2020 - 2021

Northern Maloti-Drakensberg, South Africa

Photos Drakensberg.png


Under the influence of many interwoven natural and anthropogenic processes, especially in the context of climate change and societal developments, the landscape is continually changing. Indeed, given the increasing human influences landscape processes such as erosion, desertification, soil depletion and fire threaten the sustainability of the landscapes we depend on. To tackle these challenges, and to understand the complexity of landscape dynamics and processes, requires an approach that combines physical, environmental, and socio-economic domains in an interdisciplinary way. Hence, this course takes an interdisciplinary perspective to study the complex issues related to the dynamics of the landscape and the development of sustainable systems.

Learning goals

The course will focus on past, present, and future trajectories of landscape dynamics and developments, taking into account physical as well as social processes and their interrelation. For this course we use the slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa as a case study.

Course set-up

The course consists of a combination of lectures, discussions, field visits and group work, and analysis and interpretation of literature, secondary data and maps focusing on contemporary and essential issues related to several land-use themes. Lectures will be provided by local and international experts in relevant fields.

Group work activities

Participants will be split into 4-5 groups where each group will focus on a burning issue regarding land-use and dynamics in the Drakensberg region. During the course groups must collect, analyse and synthesise information to come with a view on the main drivers of the issue, the historical perspective, what the challenges are of the past and current dynamics and a prediction of possible futures and how the issues identified should be challenged.

Collection of data will occur via:

  • Literature/documentation research: A significant source of information will be available but more can be sought for via internet and local sources
  • Fieldwork: The groups will visit their area and gather data through interviews and field observations. An array of factors can be included in determining the land dynamics, such as: soil fertility, erosion, water (availability, flow, distribution and quality), food security (quality and quantity), livelihood, income, labour, migration, etc.

The group work will be spread out over the two weeks. We start off with a general tour in which all participants are introduced to the various issues and land use systems.
After groups and assignments have been divided groups start making an inventory via field visits and study of literature. Groups will regularly briefly present their findings, where they stand, the way forward and what the possible issues might be. The rest of the attendees will accordingly reflect and give input.
Modelling (primarily conceptual) will be a central element of the course that supports groups in synthesising and coming to understanding of the drivers and states of the systems’ dynamics.
The course will end with a presentation session in which each group present their final result of the past and current dynamics of the region and their prediction of possible futures. This will be done on Campus.

Course organisers
  • Claudius van de Vijver (Graduate School PE&RC)
  • Arnaud Temme (Kansas State University)
  • Linus Franke (University of Free State)
  • Ralph Clark (University of Free State)
  • Samuel Adelabu (University of Free State)
  • Geofrey Mukwada (University of Free State)
  • Jacqueline Verhoef (Graduate School PE&RC)​
General information
Target Group The course welcomes participation by academics (especially early career), managers, practitioners, professionals and governance agencies
Group Size Min. 15 / Max. 25 participants
Course duration 10 days
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Once every three years
Number of credits 3 ECTS
Location Berghouse and Cottages, Drakensberg, South Africa
Accommodation Accommodation and full board catering is included in the fee of the course


Fees 1
PhD candidates / Postdocs / Staff from UFS ZAR 20.300 ZAR 21.110
PE&RC / WIMEK / WASS / WIAS PhD candidates with an approved TSP € 750,-
ZAR 12.180 
€ 800,-
ZAR 12.993 
a) All other PhD candidates
b) Postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools
€ 1.580,-
ZAR 25.660 
€ 1.630,-
ZAR 26.475 
All others € 2.000,-
ZAR 32.480 
€ 2.050,-
ZAR 33.250 

1 The course fee includes accommodation, all meals, excursions and course materials
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 28 August 2020

3 Indicative fee ZAR based on current exchange rate


  • Please be aware that any trips that you book are at your own risk. If these trips can not take place due to extension of Corona measures we cannot reimburse you.
  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 750,- / ZAR 12.180 will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 1.580,- / ZAR 25.660 will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all, a fee of € 2.000,- / ZAR 32.480 will nevertheless be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us and do not assume that by NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is automatically cancelled, because it isn't (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions).

More information

Dr. Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116


To register, please enter your details below and click "Register".