Current and recent activities

(1) Advisory services for the creation and management of biosphere reserves:

  • Bahrain (2018): Workshop, advisory services and feasibility study for the planned "Al Hawar Islands" biosphere reserve
  • Luxembourg (2017-2018): Advisory services for the planned "Région du Sud" biosphere reserve
  • Maldives (2017-2018): Advisory services and preparation of the nomination dossier for the planned nationwide "Maldives" biosphere reserve
  • Germany (2016-2017): Periodic review of the existing "Flusslandschaft Elbe" biosphere reserve
  • Germany (2016): Collaboration on the preparation of the nomination dosssier for the "Black Forest" biosphere reserve (internationally designated by UNESCO in 2017)
  • Iran (2015): Advisory services for the preparation of the nomination dossier for the "Hamoun" biosphere reserve (internationally designated by UNESCO in 2016)
  • Kazakhstan-Russian Federation (2015): Workshop and advisory services for the transboundary "Great Altay" biosphere reserve and collaboration on the creation of the area's management plan (internationally designated by UNESCO in 2016) 
  • Rwanda (2014): Workshop and advisory services for the planned "Gishwati Forest" biosphere reserve
  • Ethiopia (2014): Advisory services for the planned "Sheko" biosphere reserve and on Participatory Forest Management
  • Botswana (2013): Workshop and advisory services for the planned "Makgadikgadi" biosphere reserve       

(2) Moderation of international scientific seminars:

  • French-German conference on “The Return of Wolves and Lynxes” in the transboundary Pfälzer Wald/Vosges du Nord Biosphere Reserve, Germany/France (2017)
  • French-German conference on “Neophytes” in the transboundary Pfälzer Wald/Vosges du Nord Biosphere Reserve, Germany/France (2015)
  • German-Russian seminar on “Transboundary Biosphere Reserves” in Kaliningrad, Russian Federation (2014)
  • German-Russian seminar on “Green Economy and Protected Areas” in Kaliningrad, Russian Federation (2013).

(3) Guest lecturer at universities:

  • University of Freiburg, Germany (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014): Guest lecturer on international nature conservation
  • University of Bonn, Germany (2018): science seminar on "Sustainable Development - Origins and Presence of a Concept"
  • University of Tsukuba, Japan (2017): Keynote lecturer at the Tsukuba Global Science Week
  • University of Lüneburg, Germany (2015): seminar for university students.
  • University College Dublin, Ireland (2014): External examiner or Master's Course in World Heritage Management.

(4) Papers presented at international conferences:

  • Honolulu, USA (2016): IUCN World Conservation Congress
  • Lima, Peru (2016): 4th World Congress for Biosphere Reserves
  • Huangshan, China (2016): 2nd Huangshan Dialogue on UNESCO Sites
  • Turin, Italy (2016): International Academy on Sustainable Development
  • Malang, Indonesia (2015): 9th Southeast Asian Biosphere Reserve Network Meeting
  • Paris, France (2015): European Geoparks Network Meeting
  • Punta del Este, Uruguay (2015): 12th Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention
  • Paris, France (2015): 27th Session of UNESCO-MAB International Coordinating Council
  • Bonn, Germany (2015): 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee
  • Changbaishan, China (2013): 1st International Eco-Forum
  • Bali, Indonesia (2013): 1st World Culture Forum.

(5) Other advisory services and training:

  • Vienna, Austria (2016-2021): Advisor to the Austrian Academy of Sciences as member of the Advisory Board for the research initiative "Earth System Sciences"
  • Jeju, Republic of Korea (2017): Advisor for the creation of an international training and research centre on internationally designated areas
  • Kigali, Rwanda (2017): Resource person at regional workshop on "UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks in East Africa"
  • Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (2015): Advisory services and trainer (resource person) for anglophone directors of African biosphere reserves within the context of the “Management Manual for UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Africa”
  • Tunis, Tunisia (2015): Advisory services and trainer (resource person) for francophone directors of African biosphere reserves within the context of the “Management Manual for UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Africa”.

(6) Recent publications (see also full list of publications):

  •  Schaaf, Th.: Book review on "Asian Sacred Natural Sites: Philosophy and Practice in Protected Areas and Conservation" (ed. by Bas Verschuuren and Naoya Furuta). Published in the journal "Mountain Research and Development", Vol. 37, Issue 2, (May 2017).
  • Schaaf, Th. & Rodrigues, D.: Managing MIDAs - Harmonising the management of Multi-Internationally Designated Areas: Ramsar Sites, World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks, IUCN, Gland (2016). Available in English, French, Spanish, Korean
  • Schaaf, Th. (with Ibisch, P.L. et al.): Great Altay Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. Development of a management plan of the Great Altay Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, Republic of Kazakhstan and Russian Federation. Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Eberswalde (2015).
  • Richard, Th., Stewart, N. & Schaaf, Th.: Drylands – Sustaining Livelihoods and Conserving Ecosystem Services. The United Nations University (UNU-INWEH), Hamilton, Canada (2014).

During his work at UNESCO, Dr. Thomas Schaaf has been in charge of the following projects (1987-2013):

  • Cooperative Ecological Research Project (CERP), Phases I and II in China, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT). A total of eight field projects on: Research on tropical and temperate forest ecosystems in Southern and Northern China (Bawangling, Xiaoliang, Xishuangbanna, Changbaishan); Eutrophication problems in Lake Chao; Heavy metal pollution in Lo An River; Treatment of municipal wastewater according to ecological principles in Shenyang; Urban ecological studies in Tianjin (1987-1995).
  • Integrated Project on Arid Lands (IPAL) for Combating Desertification in the Southern Drought-Prone District of Lesotho, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Mitigation of erosion problems in an integrated approach (1988-1992).
  • Turkana Resources and Evaluation Monitoring Unit (TREMU) in Kenya, financed by the Norwegian Development Aid Agency (NORAD): Vegetation and livestock studies in the area of the Turkana Nomads in Northeastern Kenya (1988-1992).
  • Cooperative Integrated Project on Savanna Ecosystems in Ghana (CIPSEG), financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Research on the structure and functioning of savanna ecosystems using sacred groves as reference areas (1992-1996).
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, financed by the Swiss Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Applied ecological research as a contribution to the sustained development of the Hindu-Kush - Himalaya region (1989-1992).
  • Mountain Agenda, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Preparation of publications on the state of the world's mountains for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro (1992).
  • Biosphere Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Anglophone Africa (BRAAF), financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ): Conservation and human-environment research in five biosphere reserves in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda (1995-1998).
  • Sacred  Sites - Cultural Integrity and Biological Diversity, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ):  Conceptual development of approaches in basing environmental conservation on traditional beliefs and cultural values in Africa, Asia and Latin America (1997-1999).
  • Environmental Education Kit to Combat Desertification, financed by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Federal Government of Switzerland, and the Government of Monaco: Preparation of an environmental education kit on desertification; the kit was translated into 10 languages (1999-2003).
  • Global Change and Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE), financed by the European Commission through the University of Vienna: Using mountain biosphere reserves to assess and monitor impacts of global change on mountain environments; implementation in all 5 continents (2003-2005).
  • Conserving Nature – The Role of Sacred Natural Sites, financed by the Government of Japan, UNESCO, The Christensen Fund, FAO, UNU and the Flemish Government of Belgium: Organisation of a global scientific symposium on sacred natural sites in Tokyo, Japan (2005).
  • Sustainable Management of Marginal Drylands (SUMAMAD), financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium: Comparative research on sustainable dryland management in China, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan (2004 – 2007).
  • International scientific conference on "The Future of Drylands", financed by UNESCO, The Christensen Fund, ICARDA/NORAD, FAO and the Flemish Government of Belgium. Organization of UNESCO science conference on drylands in Tunisia within the 2006 International Year of Drylands and Desertification (2006).
  • Environmental Education and Outreach Activities, financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium: Preparation of environmental education and outreach material (2006-2008).
  • International conference on Desertification and the International Policy Imperative (DIPI) in Algiers, Algeria, financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium (2006).
  • International MAB Drylands Workshop in Jodhpur (India), financed by UNESCO and the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO (2007).
  • SUMAMAD-Phase 2 Planning Workshop in Jordan and UNESCO Chair on Eremology, financed by Flemish Government of Belgium (2007-2008).
  • International Interdisciplinary Course: Children’s Rights in a Globalized World: From Principles to Practice, financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium (2008).
  • International Desertification Conference (Israel, 2008), sponsored by the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO (2008).
  • SUMAMAD and FETWater Project Synergies, financed by Flemish Government of Belgium (2008).
  • Arabic version of Teaching Resource Kit for Dryland Countries, financed by Saudi Arabia (2008).
  • Climate Change Study at Omayed Biosphere Reserve in Egypt; Aquatrop Training and Outreach activities, financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium (2009).
  •  Implementation of Madrid Action Plan for dryland biosphere reserves, funded by the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO (2009).
  • Sustainable Management of Marginal Drylands, Phase 2 (SUMAMAD-2), funded by Flemish Government of Belgium: Comparative research on sustainable dryland management in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia (2009-2013).
  • Second phase of the Israeli implementation of the Madrid Action Plan, funded by the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO (2010-2011).
  • Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Conference (Israel, 2010), sponsored by the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO.