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Area Study Sustainability Indonesia



Please note student safety is our top priority and as such field courses may be subject to alteration/cancellation due to potential continuation of Covid19 travel restrictions.

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), a top 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 sustainability issues in Indonesia in relation to the conservation of its tropical biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides.
In teams with students and teachers from UI, students from Leiden University will work on projects to investigate human threats and opportunities for sustainable use and preservation of the natural environment. Within these projects, 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. Within each of the projects, the research will have a clear transdisciplinary component to exchange views on sustainable use of natural resources with local stakeholders, local population and e.g. the school youth. In addition, each project is expected to combine measurements on impacts on biodiversity and/or ecosystem services with social science research, e.g. through interviews. In combination, these activities will provide the students will an integral view on sustainable use of natural resources. The projects will be presented at UI and pon return to the Netherlands, students finalise the data analyses and present their work through a written report.
To support the project work, lectures on tropical biodiversity, cultural and political backgrounds will be provided both by teachers and by peer-to-peer teaching. These activities 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.
The course focusses alternately on marine biodiversity by staying at the field station in the 1000-islands national park and terrestrial biodiversity, with a stay at the field station of the national park on the Gunung Gedeh, with emphasis on tropical rainforest conservation.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students

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

  • Understand how societal contexts affect our sustainable use of natural resources

  • 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. 4 January - 29 January 2021. 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:

  • The performance of the lecture students need to prepare (in project groups) for their peers

  • Research proposal and execution of their research

  • Oral presentation(s) on the research done

  • Written report
    Detailed instructions on each of these components will be provided on Blackboard


Brightspace will be used for communication.

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.


Please note student safety is our top priority and as such field courses may be subject to alteration/cancellation due to potential continuation of Covid19 travel restrictions.