Download the Climate Change Curriculum Brochure

As part of its efforts to prepare a future cadre of climate change professionals, USAID LEAF and the US Forest Service worked with 14 universities and training institutes from the Asia-Pacific to develop an innovative climate change curriculum for the Asia-Pacific region. The curriculum materials include presentations, lecturer notes and supporting materials. 

Disclaimer: This USAID LEAF curriculum is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of the curriculum does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the US Government.

Given the enormous significance of climate change for people and our environment, it is imperative that university students gain broad knowledge on climate change topics. Understanding climate change has relevance for students across many disciplines because it includes learning topics related to the physical sciences, biological sciences, environmental science, social science, agriculture, forestry, health and medicine, communications, and public service.  The course covers a broad range of climate change topics, including causes and effects, mitigation and adaptation, application of tools and technologies, and communications.

This module covers a broad range of social and environmental soundness topics, focusing on core underlying principles as well as REDD+ project application. By focusing on these core principles, much of the course material is highly relevant to any climate change action realized through on-the-ground projects, whether framed in terms of mitigation or adaptation, whether carried out by the public or private sector, and whether in response to an established multilateral climate change convention mechanism such as REDD+ or not. The material is most closely relevant to payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs and projects.

This module is divided into three parts, each including multiple sections. Sections and sub-sections (or topics) are accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation file used as teaching materials, including: an overall structure for class delivery; section-specific learning objectives; suggested active-learning activities; and a short topical list of references. Some topics are accompanied by separate classroom hand-out files to support the suggested active-learning activities

Land use planning combines the scientific disciplines of ecology, economics and social sciences into an effort to meet current and future societal needs for the utilization and conservation of land and natural resources. It must combine the best of current technology (such as satellite imagery) with the oldest of human values (e.g., people and their relationship to the land and the land of their ancestors) in an open and transparent process. It must engage people (the stakeholders), who often hold different interests and values, in a dialogue that reaches agreement on the sustainable land use in rural areas.

But the task of developing a low emission land use plan is becoming increasingly challenging. National policy makers are also now introducing carbon constraining policies and directing land management agencies to introduce greenhouse gas mitigation actions to meet these national targets. The question is therefore: How can greenhouse gas emissions (and removal from the atmosphere) be incorporated into a land use planning process to achieve environmentally sustainable, socially just and economically sound land use?

This low emission land use planning course guides land use planners at the sub-national level to respond to this question. The course provides a well-integrated framework that is flexible, scalable and adaptable to a variety of different contexts with the goal of producing a low emission land use plan. However it is not a detailed blueprint on land use planning, nor a highly technical document on landscape level carbon accounting.

Forests play an important role in regulating the climate of the Earth. Deforestation accounts for a substantial minority of global carbon emissions (about 10 to 18 %). Increasing forest area and avoiding deforestation and forest degradation are key components of climate change mitigation. The UNFCCC has called for transparent, reliable and accurate inventories of carbon emissions and stocks at regional and national scales from all signatory countries as a first step towards climate mitigation. National carbon inventories rely on the integration of field measurements, remote sensing data and models. International efforts such as REDD+ and various carbon markets are being developed which allow developing nations to benefit financially from avoided emissions from deforestation or forest degradation as long as these can be quantified.

Apart from the overview of forest carbon stocks and change, this module provides methodologies for forest carbon measurement and monitoring.