AP3AE80-Ecosystem Services

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Martin Lukac

Email: m.lukac@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The module aims to introduce students to the notion and rationale behind ecosystem services, their consumption, management and conservation. The module provides a concise overview of the topic and uses examples of natural and managed ecosystems to illustrate the role of ecosystem services. Case studies will be introduced by researchers to bring cutting edge information and knowledge to the module.

To encourage and enable students to:
~ understand the role of Earth’s ecosystems in underpinning human society
~ develop an understanding of the hidden subsidies and feedbacks which currently are often not considered and consequently not valued
~ evaluate the contribution of ecosystem services to human economy and its stability
~ think beyond the immediately obvious and uncover relationships and feedback between the natural environment and human society
~ further develop reasoning and communication skills in moderated discussions and question sessions during lectures and external visits

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
~ critically assess the reasoning behind the quantification and valuation of ecosystem services in modern society, with particular regard to underpinning the existence of human society
~ explore the potential consequences overuse of several types of ecosystem services
~ explain the relationship between ecosystem function and delivery of ecosystem services
~ describe existing and future policy mechanisms designed to promote ecosystem management favourable to ecosystem service delivery

Additional outcomes:
~ communicate findings and conclusions clearly in writing and orally to academic staff and their peers
~ demonstrate good academic practice in use, citation and referencing of source material

Outline content:
Lectures on ecosystem ecology and the relationship between diversity and function will be complemented by a description of ecosystem dynamics as influenced by human interventions. These topics will be used to build up a detailed picture of the link between ecosystem services and human wellbeing, with further linkages to poverty alleviation and development. The module will explain the principles of assessment and valuation of ecosystem services and existing governance structures and policy mechanisms, with a discussion of issues of spatial and temporal scales, location of negative and positive impacts and externalities. The latter part of the module will focus on ecosystem management with study of trade-offs, managing complex systems, participatory ecosystem management. Field visits will illustrate and highlight the contribution of ecosystem services to the provision of stable living environment. Students will be encouraged to participate in group discussions throughout the module.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The principles and underlying rationale of ecosystem services will be covered during lectures. Three field visits are planned to illustrate the function and contribution of ecosystem services in contrasting environments.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
External visits 12
Guided independent study 74
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One two hour exam

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The module will be assessed by one piece of written coursework (50%) and an exam (50%).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By re-examination in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


    Things to do now