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“Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald” goes into the second phase

Research project for the development of the Black Forest national park region receives funding for a further two years

Freiburg, Jan 25, 2018

“Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald” goes into the second phase

Market square discussions at the state-of-the-project event in Baiersbronn, November 2017. Photo: “Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald” 2017

Promoting exchange between academia and society while advancing sustainable development in the region – the Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald project has accompanied the establishment of the first national park in the state of Baden-Württemberg since 2015 and now moves into its second funding round. The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts is sponsoring the project for another two years with nearly 320,000 euros. “There are issues which science can only process in collaboration with society. In this real-time laboratory, Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald has succeeded. From the start, the research issues were set out and developed jointly by academics, local communities, business, and local citizens. I am very happy that the University of Freiburg and the University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg will go further in-depth with these processes over the next two years,” says science minister Theresia Bauer.

In the first project phase, the scientists involved developed research ideas in dialogue with locals from politics, business, and civil society and presented them for discussion at a “trade fair of ideas” in the region. This led to subprojects on issues like tourism and mobility, the human-driven development of the landscape, the spread of bark beetles, attitudes to wild animals, and the local people’s knowledge about nature and the use of land in the national park region. “In the second phase we will continue to develop the subprojects which have a special relevance for the people in the region,” says project director, Dr. Barbara Koch of the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Freiburg. Those subprojects focus on issues such as “forest-based health tourism,” “bark beetle, storm and drought,” as well as “sustainable regional development/ sustainability transformation.”

Furthermore, the first phase demonstrated that two methodological approaches were particularly valuable; “learning while researching” and a series of events titled “knowledge dialogue on the spot” became dialogue-based cooperative platforms which gave a decided boost to the exchange between scientists and local people. The Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald team plans to work further with these approaches over the next two years. They will develop formats to make visible the central findings of their research to date, and to create a lasting anchor for research in teaching about sustainability transformation at the participating institutions. A job created for the Nationalparkregion Schwarzwald association will serve as a point of contact between the region and academics at the two institutions of higher education for future student projects and research project projects in the region.

The partners in the second phase of “Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald” are the University of Freiburg, the University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg, die Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg, and the Verein Nationalparkregion Schwarzwald association. The administrations of the Nationalpark Schwarzwald and the Naturpark Schwarzwald Mitte/Nord are also supporting the project in their role as cooperative partners.


Press release on the conclusion of the first funding phase

Research project website


Dr. Regina Rhodius
Business manager
Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-67657