spring 2017
BIO-3004 Ecosystem-based management - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 28.03.2017

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses: Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course can be taken as an optional course by students enrolled in master programs in biology, resource management or social sciences. The course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

Local admission, application code 9371 - Master's level singular course.

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.

Course content

Students will learn the rapidly emerging research field associated with sustainability science and ecosystem management. The ecosystem approach embraces broader interdisciplinary approaches to understand the interactions between natural and social systems, and how those interactions affect sustainability. Students will learn the conceptual and analytic foundations for analyzing terrestrial and aquatic socio-ecological systems.

The following topics are covered in this course:

  • Global environmental change and policy relevant research (MA/IPBES/IPCC)
  • Protected area management and surrounding landscapes and seascapes
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services approach
  • Adaptive monitoring /management
  • Community-based management/Co-management and adaptive governance
  • Socio-ecological systems in the Arctic

Objectives of the course

Students will learn:

  • Key principles of ecosystem management and sustainability science
  • Conceptual and analytical approaches to analyze socio-ecological systems (SES)
  • Approaches to mapping and monitoring biodiversity/ecosystem services
  • Governance and management approaches to sustainability problems
  • International policies and assessments, such as the UN Convention of Biological Diversity, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

 Students will have the ability to:

  • Synthesize research to answer questions relevant for policy makers and managers
  • Identify appropriate solutions within the limits of different governance systems
  • Communicate disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge of socio-ecological systems to a broader audience
  • Read and understand articles in the field of sustainability science and ecosystem management.

General competence:

  • Can communicate scientific findings in an appropriate and accessible way to policy-makers
  • Have insights in opportunities and barriers in the science-policy interface
  • Understand the differences between disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • Can read, write essays and present scientific literature in this field for the broader audience
  • Competence in discussing the scientific knowledge on policy relevant questions in plenaries/workshops

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Assignments and the examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

To teach students concepts and analytic approaches in sustainability science and ecosystem management, a variety of teaching and assessment techniques will be used.

The course is structured around 1 student workshop and 5 workshop/panels with invited experts that will train students to synthesize research and evaluate questions relevant for policy makers and managers. The supervised preparations and the participation in workshop/panel are an essential teaching method in this course.

Students will be prepared through lectures (14 hrs) and seminars (28 hrs). In the seminars students will learn to critically analyze both seminal and recent articles in sustainability science/ ecosystem management research. The topics of the seminars will be related to the workshop/panels.

The seminars and the workshops will communicate and bridge different disciplines, and teach students to communicate research papers to a broader audience. Oral feed-back on the presentation in class will be provided.

Finally the oral exam questions, including the presentation of a selected paper, will be available 24 hrs in advance to encourage learning rather than memorization and regurgitation on the exam.


Portifolio assessment: The exam will be assessed with a graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail. Seminar assignment: Students will be assigned the responsibility to lead the discussion of scientific papers in seminars. Three such assignments need to be approved before taking the exam. Written assignment: In the written assignment students will write a paper. The topics for the paper will be presented 21 days before delivery of the assignment and should be 2500-4000 words, not including references. Oral exam: The oral exam includes the presentation of one paper, as well as questions from the different topics covered in the course. Students will be given questions 24 hr in advance to prepare for the oral exam. There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination. The final grade for the course is based upon a complete evaluation of the written assignment and the oral exam. The written assignment will account for 40%; while the oral exam will count for approximately 60% of the final grade. There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Teaching material is mainly a reading list of seminal and recent scientific papers available on-line at university campus, but it could also include on-line material from e.g. Ted talks or You tube. Supplementary information will be uploaded on Classfronter.
  • Om emnet
  • Studiested: Tromsø |
  • Studiepoeng: 10
  • Emnekode: BIO-3004