ECE Helsinki 2014 Summer School INFO Pre-course assignment More information

ECE European Summer School on Measuring and Valuing Ecosystem Services

People at Viikki Campus ECE European Summer School on Measuring and Valuing Ecosystem Services is an interdisciplinary course integrating forest sciences, agricultural sciences, social sciences, economics and management.

Organiser: The University of Helsinki

Date: 18 August – 5 Sept 2014

Location: Viikki Campus, Helsinki, Finland and Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station.

Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Teaching language: English

The selected 25 students will come from 14 countries and represent such study disciplines as environmental studies, including environmental policy and law, geography, economics, sociology, forestry and agricultural sciences.

The course will be highly interactive and rich in practical learning. Lectures, practical and fieldwork and excursions will provide the students with the relevant theoretical concepts and practical approaches.

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Course description

The state of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources are the foundations of human wellbeing. Sustainability of food, feed and wood production will claim an ever-increasing significance in a world of rapidly growing population. The role and utilisation of natural, ecological processes for sustained production will receive – and is already receiving – increasing attention from practitioners, policy makers and the public. The ecological processes, dependent in turn on the diversity of life, form a basis for ecosystem services.
Ecosystem services (ES) are the goods and services derived from natural and managed ecosystems upon which human welfare depends. Ecosystem services include highly diverse phenomena, from the production of food and wood to recreational and aesthetic benefits. And the range of performance varies from microbes to landscapes. The challenges are therefore to recognise, measure and value the existing ecosystem services and mediate this knowledge for the use of decision making.

This course is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the concept of ecosystem services and its use in agriculture and forestry together with the applicability of ecological data in economics and decision making.

The course will demonstrate how natural processes in 1) agricultural ecosystems and 2) forests support the continuous provisioning of ecosystem services such as food, biomass, carbon sequestration, purification of water and soil, sustainable nutrient cycling, recreational and cultural experiences. On a practical level, the course will equip students with practical skills in the field, in the lab and in interview studies. The data collected by the students will be used to demonstrate how to translate ecological data to aid in economic decisions.