Trip Report: Forest Carbon Curriculum in China and Indonesia
Post by The Carbon Institute’s Assistant Director, Anup Joshi.
As a part of in-country meetings with the partners, our US based team visited China and Indonesia, May 17-24, 2017. The main objective of the meetings was to discuss the Certificate in Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting curriculum with the faculty who will be teaching in each country.
Our time in Hangzhou centered on meetings between our US team and our partners at the Forest Carbon Accounting and Monitoring Centre (FCAMC) of the State Forestry Administration.
Prof. Gao Xianlian, division director of FCAMC, opened the meeting with an introduction to his team and instructors who will be teaching different sections of TCA curriculum and a welcome speech. He described the major work of the 2017 and the goal of the meeting. John-O Niles presented summary of progress so far and workflow for 2017 with discussions on the TCA tool book, the forthcoming MOUs, and the scoping studies.
In the second session, Dr. Anup Joshi presented a brief summary of the six TCA courses and their learning objectives. He also touched on teaching philosophy, qualifications for instruction, and the necessity of student, course, and instructor evaluations. Following his presentation, Prof. Fu Anmin, the professor for the GIS and field methods courses, discussed the current capacity to teach these courses in China.
Dr. Stuart Sandin and Clint Edward presented TCA statistics and R-code as a part of the statistics section of the curriculum. Stuart and Clint are specially involved on developing rigorous TCA statistics curriculum, and participated in the 2013 TCA program at UCSD, the precursor to The Carbon Institute. Following their presentation, Sun Zhongqiu, who will be teaching TCA statistics, had a long discussion with Stuart and Clint.
Dr. Liu Yingchun from SFA, who will be teaching the Policy Context and IPCC Guidelines courses, presented on pedagogy and the Chinese national context.
Prof. Gao Jinping, the instructor for the Communication of Results course, and TCI Director John O. Niles discussed how the Communication of Results course would be customized and the role of national circumstances.
The full team discussed the comprehensive curriculum. One key outcome was to develop case studies on UNFCCC national reporting, including the greenhouse gas inventory reports in national communications (NCs) and biennieal update reports (NURs), baseline forest reference emission levels (FRELs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
In addition to our meetings, we explored the Zhejiang Tianmu Mountain Forest Ecosystem National Monitoring and Research Station. This is one of the field stations that may be used for the fieldwork component of a TCA Certificate. The station has permanent vegetation plots for measuring and monitoring forest, and has a carbon flux tower. We also met a team of students monitoring the flux tower.
As a special partner of the trip, our partners treated us to a tour of West Lake, a UNESCO world heritage. We visited the Leifeng pagoda with its beautiful woodcarvings.
The US team, Dr. Gao Xianlian and Mr. Wang Wei from China visited Indonesia for meetings with our Indonesian partners at the Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management in Southeast Asia and the Pacific (CCROM-SEAP).
A curriculum meeting between partners and instructors took place at the CCROM office in Bogor. Prof. Rizaldi Boer began with a brief introduction to his staff and instructors who will be teaching different sections of TCA curriculum. John O. Niles provided a brief introduction to the TCA international academic partnership. Professor Yonny Koesmaryono, Vice Rector of Bogor Agriculture University (IPB) and Advisor to the Carbon Institute, opened the meeting with a welcome speech. He provided a brief overview of the Indonesian education system and the steps to get TCA curriculum accredited at IPB. We discussed the TCA curriculum, learning objectives, target students, and the process to integrate TCA curriculum into IPB course offerings.
Anup and Stuart each worked with faculty who will be teaching field methods, remote sensing/GIS, and statistics courses. The Indonesian faculty was very enthusiastic about teaching the courses and had very good suggestions for modifying the curriculum based on national needs.
Higher-level discussions involved the TCA administrative toolbooks, the forthcoming MOUs, project management, and work plans. Anup worked with additional instructors on the GIS and remote sensing courses to explain teaching materials, learning objectives and teaching philosophy. We concluded with Indonesian instructors working on improving and adapting the teaching material to best meet their needs.
One highlight outside the meetings was a visit to Gunung Walat University Forest in Sukabumi with CCROM staff. The Faculty of Forestry at Bogor Agriculture University has managed the forest since 1969. The university students planted trees in nearly barren lands which have now grown into a thick semi-natural forest structurally. The forest is used for education, and is a potential field site for a field trip component of the TCA Certificates. We also enjoyed a visit to Mount Gede Pangrango National Park.
A bonus: traditional Indonesian feast
Our trip concluded with a traditional Indonesian feast known as Cucurak. As Rizaldi explained, it is a tradition for extended family members to gather for a Cucurak before the beginning of Ramadan. It was a great honor for us to join the Cucurak, as extended Carbon Institute family members, on the eve of auspicious Ramadan. The delicious food was prepared from scratch by our own CCROM family.