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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management (PGGE11169)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the concept of ecosystem services, its history and rise to prominence. We explore the ways in which ecosystem services can be valued, measured and monetized by society, across the spectrum from extractive to aesthetic values. Both theoretical and practical applications of ecosystem valuation are explored through case studies of policies and projects, as well as through fieldwork near Edinburgh. Real-world examples of ecosystem services being valued are presented, and current policy responses are examined including payment for ecosystem services projects, biodiversity offsets, certification schemes and REDD+. Students have the opportunity to explore a case study in depth in a group through both class work and assessment.

This course engages both critically and creatively with the idea of valuing ecosystem services, looking at the importance of governance and power structures, the difficulties in valuing complex and unpredictable ecosystems, and the trade-offs between efficiency and equity that often occur. Students will work in groups to design and implement an ecosystem assessment, a task that is typically too multidisciplinary and demanding to undertake as an individual. Strategies for effective group work will be explored and you will be able to reflect on your own participation and role within a learning community.
Course description W1 Ecosystem services in a historical and social context
W2 Practical valuation 1: Introduction, revealed preferences and cost-based approaches
W3 Practical valuation 2: Stated preferences
W4 Beyond monetary valuation - plural approaches to value, followed by possibilities and pitfalls of ecosystem assessments
W5 Integration of different types of ecosystem service values and discussion session for planning Assignment 2
W6 'Surgery': to provide feedback on study design and fieldwork plan for A2
W7 Governing Ecosystem Services: Challenges
W8 Fieldwork and analysis time for A2
W9 Governing Ecosystem Services: Policies
W10 A2: Ecosystem service assessments: student presentations
W11 Test, course overview and feedback
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have taken Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions (PGGE11170) and passed at MSc level (only applicable to those not on the MSc Ecosystem Services). If you have not, and wish to take this course, you will need to have passed ecosystem science/ecology at honours level as part of a previous degree.

Students must have some prior knowledge of statistics to satisfy the learning outcomes of this course. Students should contact the course organiser if they are unsure whether or not their background is suitable.

Note that, because the assessment forms and integral part of the course, students are not permitted to sit in and/or audit this course.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the role that ecosystems play in terms of underpinning critical services for human wellbeing
  2. Critically analyse the ecosystem services paradigm and the application of these ideas in ecological assessments, and in public life more broadly
  3. Apply and critique non-monetary and monetary assessment to various ecosystem services
  4. Analyse the challenges to governing ecosystem services, from an ecological, social and economic perspective
  5. Assess their work in a group context, and achieve effective collaboration with people from different backgrounds
Reading List
Key texts
Bateman, I.J. et al. (2010). Economic Analysis for Ecosystem Service Assessments.
Environmental and Resource Economics, 48(2), pp.177-218.
Foster, J. (1997) Valuing nature? Ethics, economics and the environment.
Routledge, London.
MEA (2005). Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing:
Synthesis. Washington, DC.
TEEB (2009) The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity for national and
international policy makers. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Particularly Chapters 4 and 5. , full text at:
UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK National Ecosystem
Assessment Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. http://uknea.unepwcmc.
org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=m%2BvhAV3c9uk%3D&tabid=82] and in
WBCD (2011): Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Services Valuation. World Business
Council for Sustainable Development.
Beyond these core texts, each lecturer will provide links to reading materials for each
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsecosystem services,valuation,PES,REDD
Course organiserDr Janet Fisher
Tel: (0131 6)50 5097
Course secretaryMiss Susie Crocker
Tel: (0131 6)51 7126
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