Sharing a journey: Chima Iheaturu

Sharing a journey: Chima Iheaturu

Chima Iheaturu, a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Geography, recently returned from a 3-month research stay at the University of Washington, funded by "UniBE Short Travel Grants for (Post)Docs." 🎓✈️

During his stay, Chima immersed himself in research at the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory and made significant progress in his field. 🌐💼

From the majestic views of Mount Rainier to the serene landscapes of Orcas Island, Chima also took time to explore the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. 🏔️🌲

As he returns to Switzerland, Chima reflects on the enriching experiences and connections he made during his time at the University of Washington: "I am filled with gratitude for the relationships I have built and the horizons I have broadened. My heart is full from 3 months of stimulating research and adventures in nature. I will cherish these memories." 🌍🤝

If you'd like to share your own study abroad experience or research journey, we'd love to hear from you! Feel free to DM us and share your story. 📩✨

📸 Thanks for sharing your story and your photos, Chima! 🌟


#unibemobiliy #studyabraod 
#exchangestudent #studentexchange 
#ResearchJourney #UniversityOfWashington 
#UniBEShortTravelGrants #PhDStudent 
#Geography #PacificNorthwestAdventure

(From unibe.mobility on instagram:

Upcoming SUSTAINFORESTS Stakeholder Conference

SUSTAINFORESTS Stakeholder Conference on the 14th of February

14th Februar 2024
08:45 – 14:30

Room A022 UniS
Schanzeneckstrasse 1
3012 Bern

• Present emerging research findings
• Discuss and share insights on sustainable forest management
• Discuss policy strategies for a sustainable livelihood and forest future

Register with this link:

For more information, please contact:



Sustainforests_Flyer.pdf (PDF, 2.2 MB) Conference program (PDF, 172KB)

Kopf der Woche

Summer 2023

Conference reports by SUSTAINFORESTS members

Several SUSTAINFORESTS members attended to various conference this summer. Amongst others, they attended to the "Interdisciplinary summer school on forest ecosystems in Ljubljana, Slowenia or the International Association of the Study of Commons (IASC) Conferenc in Nairobi, Kenya. Have a look at their post-conference reports on the SUSTAINFORESTS webpage

11. March 2022

School visit Stöckacker

Our group visited the 3rd grade of the Alte Schule Stöckacker in Bern. For the subject, “Nature, Humans, and Society”, we organized a lesson morning on the topic, “Basic knowledge of land use: Promotion of spatial orientation and cognition in children”. Using satellite images and GPS, the children learned in a playful way the basics of "Geographical Orientation". They also learned how to draw the school area from a bird's eye view. The school visit was very instructive for all participants and was great fun.

This outreach to the elementary school is part of public engagement in LucFRes, a project at the University of Bern, that is funded by the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (Individual Fellowship) programme.

Link to the project

4. November 2021

New report on the VFSA-project

A new report on the Virtual Food Sustainability Acacdemy Projekt (VFSA) with the topic of "Testing sustainability in the system for small farms".

1. November 2021

Call for PECS Working Groups

The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) is the coordinating body for an exciting network of social-ecological systems scientists working on place-based research in a variety of locations and scales around the world. PECS is one of 19 Global Research Projects of Future Earth and aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social– ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among ecosystems, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.

9. December 2020

Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza has obtained an «ERC Consolidator Grant»

Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Professor of Geography and Sustainable Development, current director of the Institute of Geography and Board member of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) has obtained an ERC Consolidator Grant for a project on «Tropical forest patches under pressure: Dynamics, functions and sustainable management in agricultural landscapes of the West African forest and savannah zones (SUSTAINFORESTS)». The five-year project will analyse the roles of forest patches in the highly fragmented agricultural landscapes of the rainforest and savannah zones of the West African countries, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. SUSTAINFORESTS examines why forest patches persist, how they maintain ecosystem services and livelihood functions, and under what conditions they can have a sustainable future.

Link to the media releases of the university

Media Release (PDF, 78KB)


Flyer Hack4Stustainability

Hackathon - Hack4stustainability

We are excited to bring to you Hack4Sustainability 2019! It is the first event of its kind to take place at the University of Bern. 
Hack4Sustainability is open to students of all disciplines who are passionate about solving our global challenges (Climate Change, Food Production, Health, Education). But all other university members are welcome!

Date & location: postponed to 12th & 13th February 2020, 2019 @ CDE, Bern

More information & Registration

09. May 2019

plenary session IPBES 2019

«World Biodiversity Council warns against drastically accelerated species extinction»

On May 6, 2019, the intergovernmental platform IPBES presented its report on the current state of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Andreas Heinimann from the Geographical Institute (GIUB) and the Center for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern was the only Swiss scientists to collaborate on a chapter of the report among the main authors. Other GIUB members from the Sustainable Land Management Unit (SLM), Sébastien Boillat and Chinwe Ifejika Speranza contributed to another chapter of the report as "contributing authors".

Conclusion of the first worldwide scientific analysis since 2005: The loss of biodiversity and ecosystems is now a threat to human well-being.


Media reports

Uniaktuell (Interview A. Heinimann)

© Radio SRF, 6 Mai 2019 (Tagesgespräch mit A. Heinimann & Eva Spenh)

© Swissinfo, 8 Mai 2019 (Interview mit A. Heinimann)

© RSI TV Telegiornale (Tagesschau), 6 Mai 2019 (Interview A. Heinimann)

© Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ, 6. Mai 2019

© Le Matin, 6 Mai 2019

© La Libertè , 6 Mai 2019


19. March 2019

Task Force Rural Africa group picture

New Publication - AN AFRICA-EUROPE AGENDA FOR RURAL TRANSFORMATION, Report by the Task Force Rural Africa

The European Comission Task Force on Rural Africa, in which Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza (Institute of Geography, University of Bern) is a member, has published its report: “AN AFRICA-EUROPE AGENDA FOR RURAL TRANSFORMATION, Report by the Task Force Rural Africa”.


According to the commissioners Josefa Leonel Correira Sacko (Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission), Neven Mimica (International Cooperation & Development), and Phil Hogan (Agriculture & Rural Development), the report…

  • recognizes the new reality of Africa and Europe as global partners on an equal footing, and that each region must steer its own development.
  • argues that the solution to agriculture will be found beyond agriculture, through a territorial approach to rural development in the widest sense.
  • stresses the importance of good policy as the key to developing the agri-food sector and rural areas.
  • demonstrates that farmers and the food industry are in it together and should work hand in hand to take the new opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area will offer and also, build the regional markets needed for Africa’s long term food security.
  • gives a democratic and legitimacy that is at the heart of responsible investment and sustainable development, by recommending to directly involve farmers, cooperatives, civil society, and the private sector in policymaking and in their own futures.


The Task Force recommends the African Union and the European Union to develop a partnership operating on three levels: government to government, business to business, and people to people. In the next months, the European Commission and the African Union will decide how to translate the Report into action on the ground.

Full report:

Further information:


Hand mit Setzling
report-tfra_mar2019_en.pdf (PDF, 1.3 MB)