The nearly complete team of the research unit at the kick-off workshop – two newly hired members from Rwanda had not yet arrived in Germany, and two other members were sick and therefore could not attend. test

Our KickOff on Dec 14 & 15, 2023

In December 2023, a kick-off workshop took place at Leuphana University Lueneburg, and this marked the official start of the work of our research unit funded by the German Research Foundation which will specifically approach ecosystem restoration from a social-ecological systems perspective. Rwanda was chosen as the study area because of its ambitious efforts in ecosystem restoration over the last decades. The research unit involves 20 core members from four different research institutions in Germany, as well as collaborations with many additional researchers (and other stakeholders) from Rwanda.

An agroforestry landscape in western Rwanda (photo by Dula Wakassa Duguma).

Over the two workshop days, the project team had ample opportunity to get to know each other and set a roadmap for the research process. A presentation of impressions from a recent scoping trip helped to familiarise everyone with the study area and Rwanda’s unique landscapes. Following that, the teams of the various subprojects had the chance to connect and discuss methodological questions. The workshop’s positive and productive atmosphere fostered a lively exchange and will form the basis for future collaboration.

Dula Wakassa Duguma sharing findings and impressions from the field.
The team at dinner.


An ambitious agenda has been set for the following four years, including multiple PhD projects and workshops with government and NGO stakeholders in Rwanda. The next step will be a team visit to Rwanda at the end of January. To learn more about the research unit and to receive regular updates, follow this blog!