The UNU-LRT programme is academically governed by a Studies Committee, chaired be the Programme Director.
The Studies Committee includes members from leading research institutes and universities in the area of land restoration and sustainable land management. Currently, experts in the Committee are from the Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI), the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI), the University of Iceland (UI), and the Ministry for the Environment (MFE). The Studies Committee develop detailed study plans and teaching materials in collaboration with the staff of the UNU-LRT, and is very important in setting the academic standards for the UNU-LRT programme.
Soil Concervation Service of Iceland
Ph.D. in Rangeland Science, Colorado State University, USA M.Sc. in Rangeland Ecology, Washington State University, USA B.Sc. in Agriculture, Agricultural University of Iceland
Andres Arnalds is Assistant Director of the Icelandic Soil Conservation Service. He has had a leading role in the development of strategies for conservation of soil and vegetation in Iceland, with a special emphasis on work at the grass roots level and sustainable land use. He initiated the successful land-care program Farmers Heal the Land. Andres has a professional interest in fostering community engagement, linking knowledge, policy and action, land literacy and planning ability at the farm level. Andres is also involved in devlopment of strategies for minimizing the impact of tourism on the Icelandic nature.
Agricultural University of Iceland
Asa L. Aradottir is a Professor at the Agricultural University of Iceland, where she teaches courses in Restoration Ecology and related subjects. She headed the research division of the Icelandic Soil Conservation Service 1998-2006 and was a senior research scientist at the Iceland Forest Research Station 1990-1998. Ása holds a Ph.D. in Range Science from Texas A&M University (1991), an M.Sc. in Biology from Montana State University (1984) and a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Iceland (1981). Her research interests include restoration of severely degraded land, woodland restoration, restoration to mitigate the effects on infrastructural interventions, effects of restoration interventions on ecological succession and ecosystem services (including carbon sequestration), and evaluation of restoration. Ása has participated in a number of national and international research projects and networks and is currently on the Board of Directors for the European chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration.
Ph.D., Plant Ecology, University of Basel, Switzerland
M.Sc., Biology, University of Iceland
B.Sc., Biology, University of Iceland
Hafdis Hanna Aegisdottir is a plant ecologist by training. She joined the programme in 2008 and was appointed Director of UNU-LRT in 2010, where she is responsible for the direction of the programme as well as its organization, curriculum development and administration. This includes traveling to interview and select suitable candidates in their home countries, and to establish contacts and partners for the programme among local and international organizations and institutions. Hafdis Hanna has taught at the university level, and has organised and participated in botanical and ecological field courses and expeditions in many different ecosystems, from Svalbard in the Arctic to the Galapagos Islands at the Equator. Her research interests are in the fields of plant and restoration ecology, biogeography, and science education. Hafdis Hanna has published on plant ecology, biogeography and travels in peer-reviewed journals and/or public literature.
Soil Conservation Service of Iceland
Minstry for the Environment and Natural Resources
Ph.D. Environment and Development Studies; Environmental Governance. Norwegian University of Life Sciences M.Sc. Forestry; Silviculture. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences B.Sc., Biology; General biology. University of Iceland
Jon Geir Petursson is the Director General of the Department for Land and Natural Heritage at the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources in Iceland. He has been on the UNU-LRT Studies Committee since the beginning of the program in addition to teaching and supervision. His professional interest is within the broad field of environmental governance at multiple levels; collective action and natural resource management; institutional and policy analyses; poverty, local livelihoods; and resources access. Jon Geir has extensive field experience from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, where he has been actively involved in research on many aspects of sustainable land management, conservation, governance and local livelihoods.
Agricultural University of Iceland
Olafur Arnalds has a Ph.D. in Soil Science from Texas A&M University. He has been a professor at the Agricultural University of Iceland since 2005 (Dean until 2012). He has participated in numerous international research and policy programmes related to soil and environmental sciences (e.g. EU COST, and Nordic networks). He served three years on the board of the Icelandic Research Fund. Olafur has emphasized outreach programmes and the development of educational materials in addition to scientific publications. See www.moldin.net for CV and publications.
His research focus has been on the soils of volcanic areas, genesis and properties of Icelandic soils, ecological restoration and carbon sequestration. He has written/co-written and edited/co-edited several international scientific books on soils, soil conservation, and rangeland sciences in addition to numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is also the author of the Icelandic soil map and The Soils of Iceland. His program on “Soil Erosion in Iceland” earned the Nordic Nature and Environmental Award in 1998. He has devoted efforts on aeolian processes in Icelandic desert areas and has quantified/mapped dust production from Icelandic dust sources.