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Restoration ecology aims to assist in the recovery of the ecological integrity of ecosystems that have been damaged, degraded or destroyed by human activity. The Society of Ecological Restoration Europe (SER Europe) is a network of restoration experts, exchanging knowledge and expertise for the promotion of ecological restoration in Europe.

SER Europe summer school 2018 is an intensive 5-day program focusing on the state, threats, management and restoration of dry grassland habitats in Europe, many of which are under Natura2000 protection. The summer school will be held by the MTA Centre for Ecological Restoration under the auspices of EUROSITE and SER Europe.

The program includes both theoretical aspects and practical issues related to the state, threats, management and restoration of dry grasslands with a special focus on Natura2000 areas. The course is aimed at site managers, ecologists, students and policy makers and will provide participants with state-of-the-art information during field visits and lectures. The language will be English.

We hope that the course will give a frame for intensive exchange between participants and lecturers. You can also bring an own showcase from your work to discuss it with participants, researchers and practitioners.

Important dates
06 February 2018: Registration opens
30 June 2018: Deadline for registration and payment

Thematic Framework
The majority of grasslands are semi-natural in Europe resulting from the long history of clearing natural forests and subsequent extensive grazing and mowing for human purposes. Within the past decades such semi-natural grasslands become strongly reduced in area and diversity due to the intensification of agricultural production and the abandonment of traditional extensive management.

Central and Eastern Europe has preserved high-value grasslands that harbor many endemic or relict species, especially from the steppe and forest-steppe flora. Land abandonment following the fall of the socialist systems resulted in large areas suitable for restoration and conservation especially in low productive areas. At the same time, there is a high risk of invasion of alien plants and animals at abandoned land, and climate change impacts the dynamics of recovery and persistence of dry grasslands.

The course will provide contributions on the present state and richness of dry grasslands, the major threats deriving from global change, the possibility of spontaneous recovery of these grasslands, methods to facilitate recovery and the implementation of suitable management schemes to maintain habitats and preserve biodiversity by applying traditional knowledge. The course will include indoor lectures and inspiring field visits in the Pannonian region.

Expected participants
The course is aimed at site managers, ecologists, students and policy makers. The course language will be English.


  • General introduction to restoration ecology and SER Europe (lecture)
  • Grasslands, their threats and management in Europe (lecture)
  • Grassland sensitivity and resilience in the face of climate change (lecture&field visit)
  • Restoration of invaded grasslands in a changing world: Impacts of invasive plants and climate changes on ecosystem functioning (lecture&field visit)
  • Restoring at large scale - Managing Green Infrastructure in Central European Landscapes to be confirmed
  • The choice of seed materials for restoring plant communities to be confirmed (lecture)
  • Grassland Restoration in the White Carpathian Mts. (lecture)
  • Spontaneous succession – is it a viable alternative to restoration in dry grasslands? (field visit)
  • Useful techniques in restoration (seeding, mowing, nutrient reduction) (field visit)
  • Conserving natural and historical values together - the role of kurgans in maintaining steppe vegetation (field visit)
  • Integration of traditional ecological knowledge into nature conservation (lecture&field visit)

Main lecturers

  • Bartha, Sándor - MTA Centre for Ecology, Hungary
  • Bucharova, Anna - Institute of Evolution & Ecology, University of Tubingen to be confirmed
  • Deák, Balázs - Universsity of Debrecen, Hungary
  • Janišová, Monika - Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences, in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
  • Jongepierová, Ivana, Czech Republic
  • Kollmann , Johannes (Technische Universität München, Germany) – seed sourcing
  • Lengyel, Szabolcs (MTA Centre for Ecology, Hungary)
  • Török, Péter - MTA-DE Lendület Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group
  • Varga, Anna (MTA Centre for Ecology, Hungary)