Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing (FALL 2016)

Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans obtain from ecosystems. This topic has received increasing attention from both scientists and policymakers as a means to incorporate the numerous benefits that humans receive from ecosystems into land management policy and decisions. Ecosystem services can be classified into provisioning services (e.g. food from agriculture), regulating services (e.g. climate regulation), and cultural services (e.g. recreation). They can be valued based on biophysical, socio-cultural and economic values from both the from both the supply and demand side. This course explores state of the art of tools and valuation methods for quantifying and valuing ecosystem services. Historical, conceptual, theoretical issues, and current trends will be covered in the first four weeks. The rest of the course will focus on case studies that demonstrate the science, economics, and sociopolitical institutions that are involved in ecosystem services assessments. International and regional/local case studies will be used, including studies inIdaho and drylands of southern Spain. Throughout the course, students will examine and review the cutting edge ecosystem services knowledge in the U.S.