The world’s population increases rapidly, climate changes, our natural resources are running out and biodiversity decreases. These issues result in an increased pressure on our ecosystems (both natural and man-made). However, we rely on these ecosystems to provide important services to man, such as the production of food, purification of air and water, pollination of crops, regulation of diseases and climate, and opportunities for recreation. Degradation of ecosystems results in a reduced capacity for ecosystem services and hence in a reduction in benefits to our society. It is time to change this process!
In this course, you will learn to consider our natural capital (i.e. ecosystems) and the services it provides, as a starting point for sustainable development. By looking at aspects like biodiversity, health, food, energy and green business opportunities, we can see our ecosystems as an endless source – if used wisely – of services that are essential to our high quality of life. We will look at the value of ecosystem services for different goals and at different scales. Would you, too, like to learn how to develop sustainable regional plans, green business plans or innovative nature management plans by taking ecosystem services and their value to society as a starting point?
Besides understanding the theory of ecosystem services, an important part of the minor is a multidisciplinary group assignment, in which the concept of ecosystem services is used as a principle to find sustainable solutions for challenges in national and international case studies and study areas.
Solutions can be found in social innovations, in improved nature management and agricultural methods or in new green business models.
This minor is part of the ERDI-project, a co-funded prestigious European project about bioeconomy. The project aimed at boosting local bio economy suffering from an increasing lack of skilled employees and creative business models. Joining this minor will therefore enhance your chances of a challenging (international) job within the sector. For more information: www.erdiproject.eu