Master in Environmental Management of Mountain Areas (M.D. 270/2004)with the University of Innsbruck (Austria)
Degree class: LM-73
The sustainable development of mountain regions has to consider economic, ecological and social aspects. Currently, in particular the environments of the European Alps are facing ecological (e.g. climate change, glacier retreat, hydrological changes) as well as land-use changes (e.g. urbanization, abandonment of mountain agriculture), the latter often driven by socio-economic reasons. While human activities in the mountain areas should be economically viable and broaden opportunities for local communities in terms of profit and jobs, it also has to match the goal of contributing to improving the degree of conservation and renewal of biotic and abiotic resources at the ecosystem level, which ultimately represent, over time, the essential ingredients of sustainable management. Social changes including immigration from countries outside Europe as well as ageing of resident populations are also changing the social structure of the society in mountain areas. Additionally, there is an increasing need for expanding the production of energy from renewable sources (e.g. wood biomass, biogas, and hydropower).
There is a common understanding that environmental problems should be solved by an international and interdisciplinary cooperation. Thus, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (FUB, Northern Italy) and the University of Innsbruck (Austria), both located in the Alps, have developed an international Master program (Italian class: laurea magistrale, LM 73) which focuses on sustainable landscape development as well as ecosystem and land-use management in mountain regions. The cooperation between these universities combines in an integrative way the ecological as well as the socio-economic perspective of ecology and management of mountain landscapes. Additionally, it contributes to an intensification of cooperation between Italy and Austria on the university level.
These two universities integrate their particular expertise into the Master Program, i.e. the University of Innsbruck contributes with basic, applied and landscape ecology, information technology for landscape analysis and planning, and bioengineering technology and the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Faculty of Science and Technology) with applied landscape ecology, mountain agriculture, mountain forestry, and ecosystem management. The Master Program is focusing on river management, ecosystem restoration, sustainable management of agricultural and forest systems, natural hazards and energy production. The study program takes advantage of the particular location of the partner universities and includes both student and teacher mobility between the cooperating countries. Courses will be taught by professors from both universities. The students will spend the first year at the FUB and most part of the second year at the University of Innsbruck. Finally they will be involved in current research projects for their Master thesis at one of the partner universities.
The Master program reflects and promotes the Bologna process in Europe with regard to the cooperation between European universities at both student and teacher level and strengthens the academic axes of Bolzano-Innsbruck from the Southern towards the Northern Alps. Within the courses, an intensive cooperation with the stakeholders in the mountain environment will be realized. The course language is English with possibilities to improve the knowledge of German and Italian. Students will become acquainted with mountain-specific topics from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.