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VirtualForests Project

VIRTUALIZATION OF FOREST STUDIES

The VirtualForest project aims at fostering forest education by developing and sharing innovative, digital-based educational tools, platforms, teaching methods and frameworks in forest ecosystem studies.

The Covid-19 crises showed that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been crucial for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), teachers and learners. However, the forest sector is generally considered as late adopters in new ICTs due to several reasons, including that the economic profitability of the sector is very low and online connectivity in the forests is poor. As a result, incentives for the actors (learners, teachers, ICT services providers...) to develop ICT adapted services for the sector are low while forests are a source of a great number of ecosystem services and their impact on green development is crucial.
In this context, VirtualForests will develop innovative outputs to foster forest sector education at different levels and to facilitate informed citizens’ participation in decision making processes. The project involves experts in forestry, geoinformatics and information technology from four HEIs and two non-governmental organizations and targets a large scope of participants, from students, teachers, staff to working professionals and citizens.

VirtualForests will follow these main objectives :

  • Promote the development, testing, and implementation of innovative open educational resources and learning practices.
  • Provide new Open Educational Resources (OER) and other good practices that can be integrated in formal and informal education programs.
  • Provide skills to citizens about forest ecosystems
  • Expand international student access to open educational resources in the forest sector.
  • Increase the international visibility and reputation of participating HEIs.
  • In the long-term, promote a rapid socioeconomic recovery with special emphasis on a more resilient rural job market by introducing cutting-edge technology in forest education.

In order to fulfill its main objectives, the project will implement the following activities :

  • Training workshops and intensive learning periods targeting consortium members (i.e. teachers, students and staff) and industry professionals
  • Integrative virtual forest tours, the implementation of "Internet of Trees”, teaching guides to use citizen science apps, situational learning experiences, Linked Open Data in modelling and simulation platforms, among others activities.
  • Events hosted by the partners. For example AgroParisTech will host the event “Citizens in Forestry”.
  • Learning, teaching and training activities which consist in intensive programmes for higher education learners and short-term joint staff training events.
Coordinator University of Valladolid (ES)
Partners AgroParisTech (FR), Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (DE), Hanoi University of Science (VN), Institut Européen de la Forêt Cultivée (FR), Fundación centro de servicios y promoción forestal y de su industria de Castilla y León (Cesefor) (ES)
Duration 2 years (from 01/03/2021 to 28/02/2023)

VirtualForests website : https://virtualforests.eu/
Contact at AgroParisTech : Myriam Legay

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