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

Postgraduate Course: Ecosystem Values and Management (PGGE11188)

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 intrinsic values (aesthetics, inspiration, cultural) to extractive (e.g. fisheries, forestry, mining). Both theoretical and practical applications of ecosystem valuation are explored through case studies of policies and projects, and case studies. Real-world examples of ecosystem services being valued will be examined, including payment for ecosystem services projects, biodiversity offsets, certification schemes and REDD+. Students have the opportunity to explore a case study in depth. The course concludes with a critique of 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.
Course description The course is organised into two distinctive blocks as follows:

1. An introduction to the ecosystem services concept. (weeks 1-4) This block is largely contextual. It involves critical reflection on the ecosystems services concept and explore its emergence in policy and management.

2. Exploring ecosystem service valuation to support policy. (weeks 4-8) Both social (non-monetary) and economic valuation and their links to policy instruments are explored in this block by reading the foundational literature and exploring themed case studies.

Aside from the expected contributions to the weekly programme there are two coursework assignments (each of which is weighted at 50% of each student's final mark for the course).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This online course is only available to students registered on the Certificate in Global Health Challenges or the MSc in Global Challenges.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 13/01/2025
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Assessment 1 (10min presentation): 12:00 noon, Monday 24th February 2025
Assessment 2 ( 2000 words Essay): 12:00 noon Monday 14th April 2025

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. appreciate the role that core ecosystem functions and dynamics play in terms of underpinning critical services for sustainable humanity
  2. recognise examples in the case studies of services e.g. food, coastal protection, carbon capture, water supplies, recreation. Distinctions and diversities of environmental governance mode related to common property and private resource regimes
  3. construct and model different applications of non-monetary and monetary economic assessment to ecosystem components and services
  4. demonstrate interdisciplinary scenario analysis examining application of different ecosystem service concepts for different habitat and cultural contexts
  5. understand ecosystem provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services; intrinsic and extrinsic valuation, interdisciplinary frameworks, adaptive institutional design, scenario analysis
Reading List
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC.
Orstrom, E. (2009) A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological. Science Vol 325 24 July 2009 p 419-422.
Young, OR (2009) Institutional Dynamics: Resilience, vulnerability and adaptation in environmental resource regimes. Global Environmental Change 20 (2010) 378-385.
Young, OR et al (2006) The Globalization of socio-ecological systems: An agenda for scientific research. Global Environmental Change 16 (2006) 304-316.
Tallis, HM and Karevia, P. (2006). Shaping global environmental decisions using socio-economic models. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution Vo.21 No. 10.
Peterson, G.D. et al (2002) Scenario Planning: A Tool for Conservation in an Uncertain World. Conservation Biology, pp 358-366 Vol 17, No. 2, April 2003.
Grimm, V. et al (2005) Pattern-Oriented Modelling of Agent Based Complex Systems: Lessons from Ecology. Science Vol. 310, 11 Nov 2005.
Tallis H and Polansky S. (2009) Mapping and Valuing Ecosystem Services as an Approach for Conservation and Natural-Resource Management. The Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology 2009: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1162: 265-283(2009)
Baldwin RF et al (2010) Habitat as Architecture: Integrating Conservation Planning into Human Health. AMBIO 28 October 2010.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsEcosystems,Distance Learning
Course organiserDr Rafael De Oliveira Silva
Tel: (0131 6)50 6095
Course secretaryMrs Lynn Taylor
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