Login for PhD students/staff at UCPH      Login for others
Global farmland abandonment: patterns, drivers and implications
Provider: Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management

Activity no.: 5442-23-05-11 
Enrollment deadline: 01/06/2023
PlaceDepartment of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Date and time03.07.2023, at: 09:00 - 07.07.2023, at: 17:00
Regular seats16
ECTS credits5.00
Contact personKitt Vium Bjørn    E-mail address: kvb@ign.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserAlexander Prishchepov    E-mail address: alpr@ign.ku.dk

Aim and content

The world is facing a looming scarcity of land necessary to secure agricultural commodities production and experience competition from other land uses. At the same time, evidence suggests underuse and full farmland abandonment is a global land change process. It is Europe's most common land change process, with a recent spread of abandonment in the Global South. Farmland abandonment has strong implications for the environment and societal well-being, including food security. Abandoned lands in Europe and other parts of the world are now perceived as a source for environmental restoration and implications for carbon offsets as a part of the Green Transition, and opportunities for rewilding. Yet, to study abandonment is challenging from the definition of this process and methods applied to monitor abandonment and study the drivers and implications of farmland abandonment.

The scope of the Ph.D. course is to bring students and researchers who are interested in an interdisciplinary outlook on farmland abandonment from different angles of science. A critical point would be to assist students in selecting appropriate methods and data sets to study farmland abandonment. A set of lectures with a focus on a history of abandonment approaches to measure abandonment and empirical toolboxes to evaluate causal drivers of farmland abandonment will be presented. A special focus would be on the theoretical understanding of the farmland abandonment process, including behavioral mechanisms of farmland abandonment. The lectures will be complemented by discussions of key readings and several labs. We will also provide a space for students to present their preliminary results and give a space for fruitful constructive feedback.

Students will get comprehensive knowledge of the farmland abandonment process and methods to monitor and evaluate the drivers of farmland abandonment and the implications of socioeconomic and environmental processes. We expect that students will improve the design of their studies. Priority will be given first to those who conduct research on this topic.

The course will be taught by national and international Faculty and through an interdisciplinary angle, they will cover different aspects of understanding farmland abandonment. https://www.land-abandonment.org/blank-5 

• Global land use transitions for the last millennium;
• Farmland abandonment as a historical land-change process;
• Implications of farmland abandonment on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
• Conceptualizing and evaluating the drivers of farmland abandonment;
• Techniques and approaches to measure farmland abandonment with satellite data and GIS;
• Farmland abandonment and underused lands as a part of political debate (e.g., Common Agricultural Policy, Green Deal, etc.);
• If farmland abandonment is a transition process-emerging land uses.

Learning outcome

• Obtained theoretical grounding on global land transitions and role or farmland abandonment;
• Gained experience in measuring farmland abandonment with statistics and satellite data;
• Evaluation of existing theories to study the drivers of farmland abandonment;
• Ability to develop the surveys to evaluate the drivers of farmland abandonment;
• Understanding the principles of econometrics, causal inference, and behavioral economics to study farmland abandonment;
• Knowledge of implications of farmland abandonment on environmental and socioeconomic processes and the role of telecoupling;
• Offered extra post-summer school ad-hoc feedback and assisted in the preparation of research manuscripts.

• Critical literature evaluation on abandoned farmland;
• Applying econometric methods and elements of behavioral economics to study farmland abandonment;
• Able to select, process and classify satellite imagery to study farmland abandonment.

• Knowledge of farmland abandonment topic and key literature
• Apply the models, theories and approaches to conduct research on farmland abandonment.


The participants will be supplied with a detailed syllabus and selected journal articles, in total, ca 600 pages.

Recommended Academic Qualifications

We do not expect specific academic qualifications in this field.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The course will consist of lectures, seminars, and exercises. In seminars, students will discuss papers linked to lectures. During the exercises, students will get practical experience applying learned material during the lecture. We will also provide a space for students to present and discuss their preliminary results and we will give a space for fruitful constructive feedback.


The course will be taught from July 3rd till July 7th, 2023. The course includes a half day field trip. The evaluation will be based on a submitted essay. Participants, who complete the course, will receive ECTS and a course certificate.

Sign up

Applicants are required to send a motivation letter and CV to the course organiser, and the attendees will be preselected on this basis.

Self-Service at KUnet
for enrolled students: Rules etc at https://studies.ku.dk/masters/geography-and-geoinformatics/programme-structure/

For international students, please check
Additionally, you may contact to

Feedback form

Continuous feedback during the course


Lectures 20
Preparation 88
Exercises 8
Seminar 8

Total 148

Click the search button to search Courses.

Course calendar
See which courses you can attend and when

Publication of new courses
All planned PhD courses at the PhD School are visible in the course catalogue. Courses are published regularly.