Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Forestry Economics and Social Sciences - Dr. Elizabeth Gosling receives the Gerhard Speidel Award 2022

Campus, Award |

Dr. Elizabeth Gosling, a staff member at the Chair of Forest Management at the TUM School of Life Sciences has been awarded the Gerhard Speidel Prize 2022 for her dissertation. In her socio-economically oriented dissertation, she developed a landscape approach to optimize land allocation, which she uses to evaluate and assess the likely acceptability of agroforestry systems.

Dr. Elizabeth Gosling (with child and husband, Daniel Lehmberg) at the award ceremony in Freiburg, Germany.
Dr. Elizabeth Gosling (with child and husband, Daniel Lehmberg) at the award ceremony in Freiburg (Photo: Prof. Dr. Verena Griess)

Agriculture represents an often drastic intervention in our natural environment, the negative ecological effects of which can possibly be mitigated by the involvement of trees. New forms of land use are urgently needed to achieve sustainable production of food and renewable resources. In this context, agroforestry systems represent an alternative to conventional agriculture and forestry, which is considered to have great global potential. However, so far the use of agroforestry systems has been relatively limited.

Improved Acceptance of Agroforestry Systems

Dr. Elizabeth Gosling presented an innovative model-based dissertation on this topic titled: "Evaluating agroforestry from the farmers' perspective: Insights from robust multi-criteria optimization in eastern Panama". The dissertation allows new insights into the mechanisms of land allocation considering agroforestry systems, uncertainty and multiple objectives. Thus, it provides starting points for a possible improvement of the acceptance of agroforestry systems in (tropical) agriculture. To obtain meaningful data, Dr. Gosling herself conducted interviews with farmers in Panama.

A Cross-forestry and Cross-agriculture Approach is Needed

Her dissertation considers purely forestry land use types, as well as agricultural land use types, in addition to agroforestry systems. "A multidisciplinary approach that integrates forestry and agriculture is forward-looking and essential for solving pressing land use problems," said Prof. Thomas Knoke, head of the Chair of Forest Inventory and Sustainable Use, in praise of the work, which he was privileged to supervise together with Prof. Dr. Carola Paul (Georg August University of Göttingen).  

In his nomination, Prof. Thomas Knoke particularly emphasized the intellectual potential as well as the meticulous way of working. "Ms. Gosling impresses with outstanding scientific talent, which combined with great diligence and perseverance has also enabled her to achieve outstanding results," he stated.

About the Award:

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Speidel was one of the outstanding German-speaking forest economists. He was appointed to the Chair of Forest Policy and Forest Management at the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Hann. Münden in 1957 and moved to the Chair of Forest Management and Forest Policy at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg in 1965. With his scientific program, Gerhard Speidel significantly influenced research and teaching in forest business administration over several decades and laid the foundations for the development of modern forest economics and social sciences through the supervision of more than 60 dissertations and postdoctoral theses.

The prize is awarded by a board of trustees consisting of the founder, as well as professors from the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, the Georg August University of Göttingen and the ETH Zurich.  The prize is endowed with prize money in the amount of 10,000€.

Susanne Neumann
TUM School of Life Sciences
Press and Public Relations