Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development

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Description

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About this course: Ecosystem services are a way of thinking about – and evaluating – the goods and services provided by nature that contribute to the well-being of humans. This MOOC will cover scientific (technical), economic, and socio-political dimensions of the concept through a mix of theory, case-studies, interviews with specialists and a serious-game. By the end of this course, our aim is to enable you to: • define the concept of ecosystem services, its principles and limitations • understand the key services associated with any ressource (e.g., fresh water) through readings and case-studies • appreciate the advantages and potential risks of monetising ecosystem services • appreci…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Ecosystem services are a way of thinking about – and evaluating – the goods and services provided by nature that contribute to the well-being of humans. This MOOC will cover scientific (technical), economic, and socio-political dimensions of the concept through a mix of theory, case-studies, interviews with specialists and a serious-game. By the end of this course, our aim is to enable you to: • define the concept of ecosystem services, its principles and limitations • understand the key services associated with any ressource (e.g., fresh water) through readings and case-studies • appreciate the advantages and potential risks of monetising ecosystem services • appreciate the social dimensions (power issues, cultural biases) embedded within any method • integrate tactical advice on mainstreaming this approach into policy and standard government practices • Optional: learn how to map ecosystem services with GIS tools The session that runs May 29th- July 10th will be actively monitored by the instructors, and learners will have the opportunity to ask questions. This course was developed by instructors from the University of Geneva with the help of numerous researchers and input from the Geneva Water Hub and the Natural Capital Project. The course was financed by the University of Geneva, the Global Programme Water Initiatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Luc Hoffmann Institute. This MOOC is supported by the Geneva Water Hub and the University of Geneva along with the MOOC in « Water Resources Management and Policy » (www.coursera.org/learn/water-management) and the one in « International Water Law » (www.coursera.org/learn/droit-eau). We look forward to you joining us!

Who is this class for: - Professionals and students who wish to go beyond basic notions of the ecosystem services - Anyone who wish to engage with society and contribute to a better world

Created by:  University of Geneva
  • Taught by:  Martin Schlaepfer, Senior Lecturer

    Institute of Environmental Sciences
  • Taught by:  Juliet Jane Fall, Professor

    Department of Geography and Environment, Geneva School of Social Sciences
  • Taught by:  Anthony Lehmann, Associate Professor

    Section of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Institute for Environmental Sciences and
Level Intermediate Commitment 5 weeks of study, 2-5 hours per week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.8 stars Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said Coursework

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University of Geneva Founded in 1559, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is one of Europe's leading universities. Devoted to research, education and dialogue, the UNIGE shares the international calling of its host city, Geneva, a centre of international and multicultural activities with a venerable cosmopolitan tradition.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Module 1: Frontiers in Ecosystem Services
Play the TRADE-OFF game (online), meet the primary instructors of this course, and discover the key questions that we will be revisiting throughout this course in this introductory module.


15 videos, 7 readings expand


  1. Video: 1.0 General introduction
  2. Reading: Syllabus
  3. Reading: Course Plan
  4. Reading: Key references
  5. Reading: Acronym List
  6. Reading: Glossary
  7. Reading: Acknowledgments
  8. Video: 1.1 Introduction to module 1
  9. Video: 1.2.1 Trade-off game - Part A
  10. Discussion Prompt: What are the limitations of the TRADE-OFF game?
  11. Video: 1.2.2 Trade-off game - Part B
  12. Video: 1.3 Introductory round table
  13. Video: 1.4 Why bother with the ecosystem services method?
  14. Reading: Reading: A Safe and Just Space for Humanity
  15. Video: 1.5 In what context can the ecosystem services method be used?
  16. Video: 1.6 What are some weakness and drawbacks of the ecosystem services method?
  17. Discussion Prompt: According to you, what limits the implementation of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UKNEA)?
  18. Video: 1.7 What is the link between biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable development?
  19. Video: 1.8 Defining and measuring ecosystem services
  20. Video: 1.9 True cost of hydro-electric dams (feat. Samuel Vionnet)
  21. Video: 1.10 RIOS - Making efficient investments in watershed (feat. Adrian Vogl)
  22. Video: 1.11 Interview with Prof Bradley J. Cardinale (University of Michigan)
  23. Video: 1.12 Interview with Prof Emeritus Harold Mooney (Stanford University)
  24. Video: 1.13 Conclusion of module 1

Graded: Take the quiz of module 1!

WEEK 2


Module 2: Valuation of Ecosystem Services



Here you learn about what is valuation, the difference between a price and a value, and various ways to derive a monetary estimate for different ecosystem services. You will also learn about world views that differ radically from the anglo-saxon model with respect to concepts such as "nature" and "biodiversity".


18 videos expand


  1. Video: 2.1 Introduction to module 2
  2. Video: 2.2 What is valuation? (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)
  3. Video: 2.3 What is monetization? (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)
  4. Video: 2.4 The importance of discount rates (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)
  5. Video: 2.5.1 Economic valuation theory - part A
  6. Video: 2.5.2 Economic valuation theory - part B
  7. Video: 2.6 Critique, dangers and biases in favor of monetisable services (feat. Mike Hannis)
  8. Video: 2.7 Indigenous and local communities cultural values (feat. Brigitte Baptiste)
  9. Discussion Prompt: Is local knowledge determined by nature?
  10. Video: 2.8 Indigenous and local systems of knowledge (feat. Brigitte Baptiste)
  11. Discussion Prompt: Can ecological values be separated from knowledge?
  12. Video: 2.9 Valuation of marine conservation zones and implementation into the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill (feat. Salman Hussain)
  13. Video: 2.10 A case on non-monetary valuation - Impact of water scarcity on riots in Sub-Saharan Africa (feat. Jeremy Lucchetti)
  14. Video: 2.11 Hedonic evaluation: a case study on landscape beauty and noise
  15. Video: 2.12 The impact of climate change in agriculture
  16. Discussion Prompt: Nature and cultural services
  17. Video: 2.13 Could we put a price tag on nature? Interviews with Dr Ken Bagstad (USGS) and Prof Ian Bateman (Exeter University)
  18. Video: 2.14 Debate between Dr Mike Hannis and Pavan Sukhdev
  19. Discussion Prompt: What is your position on this debate?
  20. Video: 2.15 Interview with Dr Ken Bagstad (USGS)
  21. Video: 2.16 Interview with Prof Ian Bateman (Exeter University)
  22. Video: 2.17 Conclusion of module 2

Graded: Take the quiz of module 2!
Graded: Short essay and peer review evaluation on Valuation

WEEK 3


Module 3: Understanding the Normative Dimensions of Ecosystem Services



Valuing ecosystem services is a new way of thinking about nature and the environment. Such a change reflects contemporary norms and values, and speaks to contemporary trends in social, cultural, political and economic policies. In this module, you will learn about how the idea of ecosystem services was born, and get a grasp of the specific historical events, places and people who were behind it. You will also understand why it is useful to understand how this approach fits into global trends such as neoliberalism, learn to evalute how you position yourself within these normative and critical perspectives. You will reflect on whether it matters to think about the big picture, and become away of how such an approach can unexpectedly serve to perpetuate unethical or practices


11 videos expand


  1. Video: 3.1 Introduction to module 3
  2. Video: 3.2 Ecosystem services as boundary objects
  3. Video: 3.3 Critical view on the history of the concept - When concepts are taken for granted
  4. Video: 3.4 Critical view of the history of the concept - (feat. Christian Kull)
  5. Video: 3.5 Ideological underpinnings - What is neoliberalism?
  6. Video: 3.6 Ideological underpinnings - Are ecosystem services neoliberal?
  7. Discussion Prompt: Rhetorical question on the values of bats and crops
  8. Video: 3.7 Issues of participation and social justice; stakeholder participation in ecosystem decision-making (feat. Mike Hannis)
  9. Video: 3.8 Power issues and ideologies - Scenarios, prioritization and implementation (feat. Christian Kull)
  10. Video: 3.9 Importance of scales and simplicity for policy implementation (feat. Christian Bréthault)
  11. Video: 3.10 Interview with Prof Stephanie Pincetl (UCLA)
  12. Video: 3.11 Conclusion of module 3

Graded: Take the quiz of module 3!

WEEK 4


Module 4: Quantitative and Spatially-Explicit Assessment of Ecosystem Services



Now that you have learned what are Ecosystem Services, as well as their strengths and limitations to be used in the environment policy arena, you should be curious to know how we can in fact monitor, model and predict their values in space and time. In this module, we will explore how existing data (e.g. elevation, climate, land use, remote sensing) can be used to assess Ecosystem Services through mapping and models. We will then see that once we have a model we can predict the outcomes of different scenarios on the value of Ecosystem Services. Scenarios are themselves particularly useful when interacting with various stakeholders, policy and decision makers. In order to illustrate this process, we present four case studies at various spatial scales: global, European, national and local.


14 videos expand


  1. Video: 4.1 Introduction to module 4
  2. Video: 4.2.1 Data and knowledge - part A (feat. Gregory Giuliani)
  3. Video: 4.2.2 Data and knowledge - part B
  4. Video: 4.3 Remote sensing for ecosystem services (feat. Gregory Giuliani)
  5. Video: 4.4 Deriving ecosystem services values from your data: models and tools
  6. Video: 4.5 Learn from the past and the future: scenarios
  7. Video: 4.6 Integrating ecosystem services into decision-making (feat. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey)
  8. Video: 4.7 Global - GEOBON essential biodiversity ecosystem services variables (feat. Gary Geller)
  9. Video: 4.8 Regional - Black Sea catchment
  10. Video: 4.9 National - Germany's ecosystem services maps (feat. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey)
  11. Video: 4.10 Local - Seagrass and coral in Negril (Jamaica) (feat. Pascal Peduzzi)
  12. Video: 4.11 Interview with Prof Walter Jetz (Yale University)
  13. Video: 4.12 Interview with Dr Simon Ferrier (CSIRO & Water)
  14. Video: 4.13 Conclusion of module 4

Graded: Take the quiz of module 4!

WEEK 5


Module 5: Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into Decision-Making Process



The ecosystem service approach is based on the premise (and promise?) that more sustainable use of natural ressources can be identified through a scientific and social process (Modules 1-4). But how does one get governments (international, national, local) to adopt such practices and then to implement the policy recommendations? This is the challenge of "mainstreaming" a new idea. In this module, you will learn about the challenges and some tips for mainstreaming ecosystem services.


15 videos expand


  1. Video: 5.1 Introduction to module 5
  2. Video: 5.2 What is mainstreaming?
  3. Video: 5.3 Governance, rules, regulations and legislative context (feat. Constanza Martinez)
  4. Discussion Prompt: Global database on emerging laws on Ecosystem Services
  5. Video: 5.4 Factors that enable ecosystem service approaches to succeed (feat. Emily McKenzie)
  6. Video: 5.5 Critical assessment
  7. Video: 5.6 Mainstreaming ecosystem services into the private sector (feat. Samuel Vionnet)
  8. Video: 5.7 Sustainable finance
  9. Video: 5.8 Mainstreaming ecosystem services into the international organisations
  10. Video: 5.9 The role of IPBES - interview with Dr Anne Larigauderie (Executive Secretary IPBES)
  11. Video: 5.10 Ecosystem services in Europe and Central Asia: interview with Prof Markus Fischer (University of Bern)
  12. Video: 5.11 Peru and the ecosystem services: interview with Luis Alberto Gonzales (The Nature Conservancy)
  13. Video: 5.12 The Mekong River Basin and the ecosystem services - interview with Dr Nirmal Bhagabati (WWF Int.)
  14. Video: 5.13 Future of the field (multiple speakers)
  15. Video: 5.14 Conclusion of module 5
  16. Video: 5.15 Conclusive round table

Graded: Multiple Choice questions on Module 5
Graded: Short-essay on mainstreaming the ES method

Module 6: Create your own Ecosystem Services Case (optional)



With this last optional module, we would like to give you the opportunity to move from theory to practice by encouraging you to assess a water related ecosystem services (water yield). The aim is to help you discover where you can find useful data to assess ES; how you have to prepare this geospatial data in Geographic information System (here QGIS); how you can use this data to run a simple hydrological model to assess water yield with a dedicated tool with the InVEST package; how you can explore plausible futures of this water resource through scenarios; and finally how you can interpret the outputs of your model as maps in QGIS. Data for a case study is provided with the Tana River basin in Kenya, but you are encouraged to reproduce similar results with your own case study from anywhere in the World. If it will be easier to complete this exercise if you already are somewhat familiar with GIS.


2 videos, 5 readings expand


  1. Video: 6.1.1 Modeling ecosystem services with InVEST
  2. Video: 6.1.2 The Natural Capital Project Toolbox
  3. Reading: 6.2 Getting data for assessing ecosystem services
  4. Reading: 6.3 Preprocessing in QGIS
  5. Reading: 6.4 Water yield model
  6. Reading: 6.5 Preparing Climate Change Scenarios
  7. Reading: 6.6 Interpreting the results with QGIS
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There are no frequently asked questions yet. Send an Email to info@springest.co.uk