Module DXX-3016:
Forest Ecosystems & Services

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Andy Smith

Overall aims and purpose

This module covers the concepts of forest ecosystem stability and destabilisation through anthropogenic perturbations, and provides an opportunity to learn and discuss current concepts of interactions between forest and air pollutants and the effects of global climate change. It also examines the ecosystem services that forests can provide and considers different approaches to valuing forests and forest ecosystem services.

Course content

Forest ecosystems: ecosystem theory and processes; genetic diversity in forest ecosystems. Anthropogenic impacts: increases in temperature, fire frequency, ozone and carbon dioxide levels; soil acidification and nitrogen deposition. Climate change impacts on tropical forests. Ecosystem services from forests: provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services. Valuing forests and forest ecosystem services: conventional methods – market value, NPV, etc.; cost-benefit analysis; payment for ecosystem services (PES).

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Grade D- to D+ Seminar presentation covers several of the main points of the set paper but omits some important details. Slides are readable and the talk is audible, but there is little engagement with the audience. Some, but not all, of the questions asked by the audience are answered satisfactorily. The valuation report includes a conventional forest valuation and an attempt to value individual forest ecosystem services, but contains some numerical and other errors. Exam answers show a basic understanding of forest ecosystems, their biogeochemistry and stability, and of forest ecosystem services.

good

Grade C- to B+ Seminar presentation covers all the main points of the set paper but omits some minor details. Slides are clear, the talk is audible, and there is a good attempt to engage with the audience. Most of the questions asked by the audience are answered satisfactorily. The valuation report includes a conventional forest valuation and a valuation of many individual forest ecosystem services, with few numerical errors. Exam answers show a good understanding of forest ecosystems, their biogeochemistry and stability, and of forest ecosystem services.

excellent

Grade A- to A** Seminar presentation covers all the main points of the set paper in as much detail as time allows. Slides are of a high professional standard, the talk is audible, and there is excellent engagement with the audience. All of the questions asked by the audience are answered in detail. The valuation report includes a conventional forest valuation and a complete valuation of individual forest ecosystem services, with very few numerical errors. Exam answers show a comprehensive, detailed understanding of forest ecosystems, their biogeochemistry and stability, and of forest ecosystem services.

Learning outcomes

  1. Describe and evaluate conventional and emerging methods for valuing forests and forest ecosystem services.

  2. Show a detailed understanding of forest ecosystems and their biogeochemistry.

  3. Critically discuss the concepts of ecosystem stability and the destabilisation effects of environmental pollutants and climate change.

  4. Critically discuss the concept of forest ecosystem services.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS PARTICIPATION Group Seminar Presentation (in class) 20
REPORT Valuation Report 40
EXAM Exam 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

12 × 2-hour lectures

24
Practical classes and workshops

Two × 2-hour computer practicals

4
External visit

Three × 4-hour forest visits

12
Private study 160

Transferable skills

  • 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
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: