Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE BIO5140

 
TITLE Ecosystem Goods and Services

 
LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 5

 
DEPARTMENT Biology

 
DESCRIPTION An understanding of the value of the services provided by ecosystems is essential in order to help the general public, administrators and politicians appreciate the importance of ecosystems and measures to ensure sustainable use of natural environmental resources. Although ecosystem goods and services are hugely important for ecological integrity, and there is heavy reliance on them by the human population for economic and recreational purposes, they are prone to overexploitation and unsustainable use.

Consequently, there is a drive towards assessing and monitoring ecosystem goods and services, in order to ensure sustainability.

The main topics will be covered as part of this study-unit as follows:

- Good and services provided by species and ecosystems
- Human impact on ecosystem goods and services
- Assessment and monitoring of ecosystem goods and services
- Environmental economics
- Ecotourism
- Other eco-activities and eco-friendly measures including ecolabelling
- Examples of the application of ecosystem to projects and activities: green roofs and eco-diving

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit is mainly aimed at equipping students with knowledge of:

- The significance of ecosystem goods and services; their value from the environmental, economic, recreational and cultural points of view;
- Human impacts on ecosystem goods and services: main threats and risks to ecosystems, biodiversity and natural resources;
- Assessing and monitoring ecosystem goods and services;
- Environmental economics, including green and circular economy and blue growth;
- Valuation of ecosystem goods and services;
- Concepts underlying ecotourism;
- Other eco-friendly activities and concepts, including eco-labeling;
- Case examples and projects utilising the ecosystem goods and services concept: green roofs and eco-diving.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Recognise and understand the importance of ecosystem goods and services;
- Identify and acknowledge the influence of human activities on ecosystems, biodiversity and natural living resources;
- Identify and understand methods and procedures for assessing and monitoring ecosystem goods and services;
- Recognise and understand the importance of carrying out valuation of ecosystem goods and services;
- Identify and understand the concepts underlying ecotourism as a major activity that exploits ecosystem goods and services;
- Identify and understand the importance of eco-friendly activities, which contribute to sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Define ecosystem goods and services, and how these contribute to the environment and the human population;
- Identify problems of over-exploitation and unsustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and apply knowledge to propose measures and actions to counteract these;
- Apply knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods and procedures for assessing and monitoring ecosystem goods and services to practical situations;
- Identify methods for the valuation of ecosystem goods and services and apply such methods to practical situations;
- Define ecotourism, identify how ecosystem goods and services contribute to the activity, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the activity, and apply knowledge to practical situations concerning ecotourism;
- Apply the principles underlying eco-friendly activities (e.g. deploying green roofs, eco-diving, eco-labelling) to situations in practice.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

Bouma J. & Van Beukering P. (2015). Ecosystem services: from concept to practice. Cambridge University Press.

Dendoncker N., Jacobs S. & Keune H. (2014). Ecosystem services: global issues and local practices. Elsevier.

Grunewald K (2015). Ecosystem Services - Concept, Methods and Case Studies. Elsevier.

Supplementary Readings:

Kareiva P., Tallis H., Ricketts T H, Daily G C & Polasky S (2011). Nature capital: Theory and practice of mapping ecosystem services. Oxford University Press.

Potschin M., Haines-Young R., Fish R & Kerry Turner R (2016). Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services. Taylor & Francis.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Fieldwork, Lecture, Independent Study & Project

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Practical SEM2 No 20%
Project SEM2 Yes 30%
Presentation (30 Minutes) SEM2 Yes 50%

 
LECTURER/S

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

https://www.um.edu.mt/course/studyunit