Teaching Environmental Sciences in an International and Interdisciplinary Framework: From Arid to Alpine Ecosystems in NE Spain

  • D. Badía
  • N. Bayfield
  • A. Cernusca
  • F. Fillat
  • D. Gómez
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 20)


There is a growing need to develop, teach, and apply successful problem-solving and interdisciplinary approaches on environmental sciences education. Some of most effective learning activities are fieldwork, although sites to be visited have to be carefully selected to reduce time and expenses as well as to take account of safety concerns. That is the case for the teaching locations selected to develop an interdisciplinary, international, and intensive course in NE Spain. Within a distance of about 150 km, students can visit arid, Mediterranean, and Alpine environments, in one of the largest ecological gradients in Europe. In each environment, different sites are visited to analyse natural characteristics, ecological and socio-economic constraints and potentials, as well as the impact of the historical human utilisation in landscapes and ecosystems. Throughout the course, the participants focus on exploring sustainable land-use alternatives to developing rural areas in the visited environments. This teaching approach is aimed at students at degree, master, and Ph.D. level of biology, ecology, agriculture and forestry, landscape planning, and environmental technology. More than 400 students from different countries in Europe have participated since 1998 under the auspices of different SOCRATES and ERASMUS Intensive Programmes.


Wind Farm Field Visit Natural Park Shrub Encroachment Wildfire Risk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would very much like to acknowledge the great collaboration of the following people and entities; without them, it would have been impossible to carry out the course:

Research Institutions: Institut Jaume Almera (Geology-CSIC), Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (Agriculture-CSIC), Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (Mountain ecology-CSIC), and Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria (DGA)

Universities: U. de Zaragoza, U. Pública de Navarra, U. de Lleida, U. Autónoma de Barcelona

Public Administrations: SODEMASA, Department of Environment of Govern of Aragón, Geoparque de Sobrarbe, Birdwatching Tourism Office (Diputació de Lleida), ARAMON (Public society to improve ski resorts), Junta de Bardenas Reales, Ayuntamientos de Fraga, Hecho y San Martin del Moncayo, Comarca del Baix Cinca

Private Consultants and Companies: EGA consultores, FOLIA consultores, ENDESA Educa, GAMESA, Compañia Guias de Loarre y Museos de Mequinenza

Stakeholders: Shepherds of Moncayo, Quesería “Xortical”, Restaurante “La Corza Blanca”, Asociación de Ganaderos del Valle de Hecho, Daniel Orte, Producciones cinematográficas


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  1. Introduction to soil science.
  2. Millenium Ecosystem Assessment.
  3. Soil and landscape relationships in Aragon region.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Badía
    • 1
  • N. Bayfield
    • 2
  • A. Cernusca
    • 3
  • F. Fillat
    • 4
  • D. Gómez
    • 4
  1. 1.Technic School of Environmental Sciences and Agrarian EngineeringUniversity of ZaragozaHuescaSpain
  2. 2.University of Aberdeen, King’s CollegeAberdeenScotland, UK
  3. 3.Institute of EcologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  4. 4.Pyrenean Institute of Ecology. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)JacaSpain

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