Introductory lessons to the theoretical concepts and approaches to the ES-concept, including the origin, history and evolution of the ES-concept, biodiversity – ecosystem functioning concepts. The students will be made familiar with the most common ES-classifications, the ES-cascade, ES-flow mechanisms, ES bundles and trade-offs. We will explore what the ES-concept can signify for governance in the context of global change and sustainable development. An overview of the most important global and international ES initiatives. Linkages between ES and the SDG’s. Followed by a synthesis of the success and failure factors regarding the uptake of teh concept in policy. We will have attention for the criticism on the ES-concept, its myths and misperceptions.
In a second part we will explore various ecosstem services in more depth. We will cover many regulating services (climate mitigation, water regulation, noise mitigation, erosion prevention, flood prevention, coastal protection...), provisioning services (forestry, agriculture, water provisioning, ...) and cultural services (health-effects, recreation, education,...). How are ES framed, quantified and valued? What are the challenges for identification, quantification, measuring, modelling and validation?
In a third part we will focus on the uptake and implementation of the ES concept in planning and decision making at the regional and local scale. By means of case study examples and projects, students will learn approaches to embed ES in planning and vision building (stakeholder analysis, participatory approaches, valuation & prioritisation methods, presentation and communication of results). We will also explore existing tools for spatial analysis and integrated modelling.