Land Use Change & Conservation
Run by School of Natural Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Isabel Rosa
Overall aims and purpose
Land use and land cover change worldwide has extended impacts on food security, biodiversity, climate, economic development, epidemiology, and many other fields, as recently highlighted by two high-level policy documents from the IPCC (Special Report on Land) and IPBES (Global Assessment). This research-led module aims to equip the students with the necessary skills to understand, monitor and model changes in ecosystems worldwide and its potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Making use of scenarios and taking an interdisciplinary approach, projections of future changes will be simulated in a series of case studies addressing real-world conservation issues (e.g. deforestation in the Amazon).
In more detail, the module will have a mix of theory and practice. Topics covered in lectures may include:
- land use vs land cover: importance and impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being;
- how to monitor ecosystem change (measuring fragmentation)
- direct and indirect drivers of change (e.g. socio-economic dynamics, geographical features)
- what are scenarios and models useful for? The importance of scenarios in policy at all levels.
- estimating impacts on biodiversity (e.g species ranges) and ecosystem services (e.g. water regulation)
'Real-world' examples will be presented and discussed via regular presentations by invited speakers from UK and international institutions.
Computer practices will use open software to analyse ecosystem change and its impacts, and topics may include:
- measuring landscape change: learn to find, access and process datasets available to study landscapes, including relevant fragmentation metrics;
- simulating future landscapes: using a freely-available model to simulate future landscape change under different scenarios;
- estimating impacts on biodiversity (species richness and abundance) and ecosystem services (carbon, pollination) using freely available software.
Computer practicals will help the students acquire the skills needed to conduct the group project.
Grade D- to D+ A basic understanding of the issues covered. Demonstrate an ability to distinguish land use and land cover change, and identify potential impacts of future environmental change. Such knowledge are then supported by a basic ability to use a software with minimal errors. Basic presentation and communication skills demonstrated.
Grade A- to A**: An excellent understanding of the issues covered, and confidence in using the tools learnt. Demonstration of time invested in reading from a variety of sources (e.g. books, journal articles and research reports) on the topic. Ability to clearly communicate advanced critical evaluation of the concepts learnt and the case studies analysed, effort to go beyond what is presented in Lectures, showing an ability to analyse and synthesise arguments and information. Elegant and flowing presentation and writing.
Grade B- to B+ A good understanding of the issues covered. Demonstrate an ability to think critically about land use and land cover change, and the ability to creatively discuss strategies/scenarios of future environmental change. Such knowledge are then supported by a good understanding of how to apply a computer model, finding the right data, and using the software correctly. High standards of presentation and clarity of communication.
C- to C+
Grade C- to C+ A fair understanding of the issues covered. Demonstrate an ability to describe land use and land cover change, and to discuss potential impacts of future environmental change. Such knowledge are then supported by a fair understanding of how to apply a computer model, finding the right data, and using the software with minimal errors. Good standards of presentation and clarity of communication.
To analyze the nature of land use change and its direct and indirect drivers
To critically evaluate and appraise different types of geographical evidence (for example, land use maps)
To plan, design and execute a piece of rigorous research, independently and in group, including writing and reviewing a report
To utilise and apply simple computer models for spatial analysis (e.g. GLOBIO, InVEST) of land use impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services
|INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION||Poster Presentation||
Each student will present in a poster format (either in-person or virtual) their land use change case study.
The students will be put into small groups that work on a joint research project (individually marked). This project entails describing a land use change problem and its impacts. For example, how deforestation in a part of the Amazon impacts local species richness; or how urbanisation in a part of Asia impacts an ecosystem service (e.g. carbon sequestration).
These are meant to assess whether the students are following the topics being delivered on the lectures and practical sessions and adjust where needed. They are simple online multiple choice questionnaires solely based on what has been taught in-class. They will cover both the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired throughout the semester. There will be 4 throughout the semester (5% each).
Teaching and Learning Strategy
|Practical classes and workshops||
2 hours * 9 practicals (in person or remote, depending on existing government rules)
Students will work individually but within a common theme as a group. They will put into practice the skills learnt during the semester both in theory and in practice. The students will also develop inter-personnel skills, and project planning skills.
Each Lecture will be two hours and there will be 11 Lectures. In several of the lectures there will be invited speakers (both from Bangor University and other universities in the UK and abroad) to demonstrate with practical examples the concepts that the students will learn during the lectures. (in person or remote, depending on existing government rules)
Conference-Style Poster session where the students will present theirs individual posters and obtain peer feedback (possibly revised under covid rules).
Time for individual studying and working with models introduced in practical classes
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
Subject specific skills
- Appreciate the interdisciplinary and/or reciprocal nature of relationships within the subject area.
- Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
- Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
- Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
- Prepare effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
- Engagement with current subject developments and their application.
- Demonstrate the independence and skills required for continuing professional development
- Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate quantitative techniques.
- Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
- Prepare effective maps, graphs/plots, diagrams and visualizations.
- Engagement with current subject developments and their applications.
- Engage in discussions with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
Resource implications for students
Students will be encouraged to access appropriate text provided in the library, and to install Rstudio on their personal computers. All software used in this module is open-access and will also be provided on computers within the School. All software is open access so in case the covid restrictions continue to hinder in-person teaching, the students will be able to download and install the software on their own computers at home.
- IPBES Global Assessment (2019): https://ipbes.net/global-assessment-report-biodiversity-ecosystem-services
- IPCC Special Report on Land (2019): https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/
- UNEP-WCMC (2016): A review on land use change models: https://www.unep-wcmc.org/system/comfy/cms/files/files/000/000/802/original/Land_Use_Change_Models_2016_WEB.pdf
- Song et al. (2018) "Global land change from 1982 to 2016" https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0411-9/
- Meyfroidt et al. (2013) "Globalization of land use: distant drivers of land change and geographic displacement of land use" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877343513000353
- Thuiller et al. (2009) "BIOMOD – a platform for ensemble forecasting of species distributions" https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2008.05742.x
- Chaplin-Kramer et al. (2019) "Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people" https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6462/255
- Hesselbarth et al. (2019) "landscapemetrics: an open‐source R tool to calculate landscape metrics" https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ecog.04617
See the lecture notes for further (more up-to-date) reading. Hyperlinks to all papers reference in the lectures will be available on the notes.
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- C183: BSC Appl.Terrestrial & Marine Ec 4 year 4 (BSC/APTME)
- C185: BSc Applied Terrestrial & Marine Ecology with Intl Exp (5yr) year 4 (BSC/APTMIE)
- C180: BSc Appl. Terrestrial &Marine Ec year 3 (BSC/ATME)
- C184: BSc App Terrestrial & Marine Ecology with Intl Experience year 4 (BSC/ATMEIE)
- D503: BSc Conservation with Forestry with International Experience year 4 (BSC/CFIE)
- 5DKD: BSc Conservation with Forestry year 3 (BSC/CWF)
- 5DLD: BSc Conservation with Forestry (four year) year 4 (BSC/CWF4)
- D447: BSC Environmental Conservation year 3 (BSC/ECON)
- D448: BSC Environmental Conservation year 4 (BSC/ECON4)
- D451: BSc Environmental Conservation (International Experience) year 4 (BSC/ENIE)
- F803: BSc Geography with Environmental Forestry year 3 (BSC/GEF)
- F804: BSc Geography with Environmental Forestry year 4 (BSC/GEF4)
- F807: BSc Geography with Environmental Forestry with Intl Exp year 4 (BSC/GEFIE)
- C328: BSc Wildlife Conservation year 3 (BSC/WLC)
- C332: BSc Wildlife Conservation with Place Yr year 4 (BSC/WLCP)
- C3L2: BSC Zoology with Conservation year 3 (BSC/ZC)
- C3L3: BSc Zoology with Conservation with International Experience year 4 (BSC/ZCIE)
- C3L4: BSc Zoology with Conservation with Placement Year year 4 (BSC/ZCP)
- CD34: MZool Zoology with Conservation year 3 (MZOOL/CONS)
- CD3P: MZool Zoology with Conservation with Placement Year year 4 (MZOOL/CONSP)
- CD35: MZool Zoology with Conservation w International Experience year 4 (MZOOL/ZCIE)