About this Course
4.6
99 ratings
43 reviews
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!...
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Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 5 weeks of study, 2-5 hours per week

Approx. 28 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 5 weeks of study, 2-5 hours per week

Approx. 28 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

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....
Reading
15 videos (Total 89 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video15 videos
1.1 Introduction to module 15m
1.2.1 Trade-off game - Part A2m
1.2.2 Trade-off game - Part B3m
1.3 Introductory round table6m
1.4 Why bother with the ecosystem services method?6m
1.5 In what context can the ecosystem services method be used?10m
1.6 What are some weakness and drawbacks of the ecosystem services method?6m
1.7 What is the link between biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable development?6m
1.8 Defining and measuring ecosystem services6m
1.9 True cost of hydro-electric dams (feat. Samuel Vionnet)4m
1.10 RIOS - Making efficient investments in watershed (feat. Adrian Vogl)9m
1.11 Interview with Prof Bradley J. Cardinale (University of Michigan)6m
1.12 Interview with Prof Emeritus Harold Mooney (Stanford University)7m
1.13 Conclusion of module 13m
Reading7 readings
Syllabus10m
Course Plan10m
Key references10m
Acronym List10m
Glossary10m
Acknowledgments10m
Reading: A Safe and Just Space for Humanity45m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Take the quiz of module 1!24m

2

Section
Clock
5 hours to complete

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"....
Reading
18 videos (Total 174 min), 2 quizzes
Video18 videos
2.2 What is valuation? (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)11m
2.3 What is monetization? (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)10m
2.4 The importance of discount rates (feat. Pavan Sukhdev)11m
2.5.1 Economic valuation theory - part A8m
2.5.2 Economic valuation theory - part B10m
2.6 Critique, dangers and biases in favor of monetisable services (feat. Mike Hannis)7m
2.7 Indigenous and local communities cultural values (feat. Brigitte Baptiste)13m
2.8 Indigenous and local systems of knowledge (feat. Brigitte Baptiste)11m
2.9 Valuation of marine conservation zones and implementation into the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill (feat. Salman Hussain)10m
2.10 A case on non-monetary valuation - Impact of water scarcity on riots in Sub-Saharan Africa (feat. Jeremy Lucchetti)7m
2.11 Hedonic evaluation: a case study on landscape beauty and noise6m
2.12 The impact of climate change in agriculture7m
2.13 Could we put a price tag on nature? Interviews with Dr Ken Bagstad (USGS) and Prof Ian Bateman (Exeter University)7m
2.14 Debate between Dr Mike Hannis and Pavan Sukhdev27m
2.15 Interview with Dr Ken Bagstad (USGS)7m
2.16 Interview with Prof Ian Bateman (Exeter University)8m
2.17 Conclusion of module 24m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Take the quiz of module 2!14m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

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...
Reading
11 videos (Total 76 min), 1 quiz
Video11 videos
3.2 Ecosystem services as boundary objects4m
3.3 Critical view on the history of the concept - When concepts are taken for granted3m
3.4 Critical view of the history of the concept - (feat. Christian Kull)8m
3.5 Ideological underpinnings - What is neoliberalism?3m
3.6 Ideological underpinnings - Are ecosystem services neoliberal?5m
3.7 Issues of participation and social justice; stakeholder participation in ecosystem decision-making (feat. Mike Hannis)16m
3.8 Power issues and ideologies - Scenarios, prioritization and implementation (feat. Christian Kull)10m
3.9 Importance of scales and simplicity for policy implementation (feat. Christian Bréthault)5m
3.10 Interview with Prof Stephanie Pincetl (UCLA)9m
3.11 Conclusion of module 35m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Take the quiz of module 3!20m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

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....
Reading
14 videos (Total 104 min), 1 quiz
Video14 videos
4.2.1 Data and knowledge - part A (feat. Gregory Giuliani)5m
4.2.2 Data and knowledge - part B6m
4.3 Remote sensing for ecosystem services (feat. Gregory Giuliani)10m
4.4 Deriving ecosystem services values from your data: models and tools9m
4.5 Learn from the past and the future: scenarios8m
4.6 Integrating ecosystem services into decision-making (feat. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey)9m
4.7 Global - GEOBON essential biodiversity ecosystem services variables (feat. Gary Geller)6m
4.8 Regional - Black Sea catchment7m
4.9 National - Germany's ecosystem services maps (feat. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey)5m
4.10 Local - Seagrass and coral in Negril (Jamaica) (feat. Pascal Peduzzi)9m
4.11 Interview with Prof Walter Jetz (Yale University)10m
4.12 Interview with Dr Simon Ferrier (CSIRO & Water)7m
4.13 Conclusion of module 45m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Take the quiz of module 4!16m
4.6

Top Reviews

By DSSep 7th 2017

Great course. Awesome introduction to Ecosystem Services. Well-balanced portrayal of the many tensions and difficulties in the field. Also a great exposure to MANY experts and many diverse opinions.

By CJun 5th 2017

I found this course very exciting and informative!! I learned a great deal about valuing ecosystem services and its complex challenges. I will highly suggest this course to fellow learners!

Instructors

Martin Schlaepfer

Senior Lecturer
Institute of Environmental Sciences

Anthony Lehmann

Associate Professor
Section of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Institute for Environmental Sciences and

Juliet Jane Fall

Professor
Department of Geography and Environment, Geneva School of Social Sciences

About 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....

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