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Area Study Sustainability Indonesia


Admission requirements

This course is part of the Minor Sustainable Development. To take part in the course Area Study Sustainability, students must have followed the previous courses Big Issues New Answers and Resilient Cities.


The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University organises in close collaboration with the Biology Department of Universitas Indonesia (UI), the 1st ranked university of Indonesia from Jakarta, an interdisciplinary winter school on tropical biodiversity and sustainability. Within this course, students from UI and CML will be made acquainted with tropical biodiversity in general and that of Indonesia in particular. The biological mechanisms that led to these biodiversity hot spots are taught and discussed and the human threats and opportunities for sustainable use and preservation of these areas are investigated.
A brief period of preparation in the Netherlands prepares the students for the societal, and political situation in Indonesia and its relation to sustainability issues. In Indonesia, lectures on tropical biodiversity and sustainability are intermingled with excursions and social activities. In addition, a major component of the winter school consists of a stay within one of the national parks close to Jakarta. Within this national park, students will in small groups on a project related to tropical biodiversity in relation to the challenges this biodiversity is facing. Each group develops its own research questions, sampling design and acquires and analyses the essential data under supervision of staff from UI and CML/Naturalis. Upon return to the Netherlands, students finalise the data analyses and present their work through an oral presentation and written report.
The course focusses alternately on marine biodiversity with a field visit to the 1000-islands national park and terrestrial biodiversity, with a field visit to the national park on the Gunung Gedeh.

Course objectives

Course objectives:
At the end of the course, students

  • Understand the mechanisms that led to biodiversity hotspots in the tropics.

  • Understand the mechanisms through which human society affects tropical biodiversity.

  • Understand how societal contexts affects our ways of thinking on biodiversity

  • Have a basic understanding on how the interaction between society and biodiversity can be investigated.

  • Can make a research design to investigate tropical biodiversity and sustainability issues

  • Know how to quantitatively analyse data collected by field research
    Final qualifications:
    The student has an overview of the basic scientific concepts to understand the interactions between society, sustainability and biodiversity in the tropics and to formulate his/her founded opinion on these matters.


From ca. 6 January - 31 January 2020. Exact timing of the course, and programme details will be announced via Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

Mode of instruction:

  • Lectures and excursions introducing the concepts including the societal setting

  • Project research (research proposal, field research, data analysis and report)

Assessment method

The grade for the course is based on a number of components, such as a research proposal, doing research and oral presentations.

Detailed instructions on each of these components will be provided on Blackboard.


The Blackboard module of this course will be open and available to selected students after the selection procedure is completed. Blackboard will be used to communicate course related information, including the schedule, literature, assignment details and lecture notes.

Reading List

The reading list is made available on Blackboard


There are a maximum of 12 available places. Students are advised to join the information session about this course in September during the programme of the Minor Sustainable Development. Here, you will be informed of the registration procedure, and the draft programme and practical matters of the course. In order to have an interdisciplinary group of motivated students participate in this course, a selection will be made of students who register for this course on the basis of their motivation letter and their major studies disciplines. The results of the selection will be announced mid-October.


Coordinator: P.M. van Bodegom


This course has some additional costs involved:

  • The contribution per student for the local transport costs, accommodation and food is ca. 500 Euros (this amount is still under consideration and will be definitively announced at the information meeting). This covers about 66 % of the total costs per student. This amount needs to be transferred to the bank account of Leiden University (details follow for selected students).

  • In addition, students have to arrange and pay for their airline ticket to Indonesia, their visa (free for a stay up to 30 days), insurances (universal health insurance with World coverage, Third part liability, travel insurance) and inoculations and malaria prophylaxes (depending on personal history and doctor’s advice). The total costs of these differ per person but is estimated to be on average 800 Euros.