Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
The class aims to stimulate the discussion about the issue of sustainability and if it could be considered an eco or anthropocentric concept. Often it is declined in terms of Sustainable Development, but does it really exist? The sustainability is deeply rooted in the ecology and it could be considered an emergent property of ecosystems. Even if usually applied within the context of human society, the sustainability Is strictly linked to the ecological limits issue (i.e the carry capacity) and this drives to the idea that our species (with all its peculiarities) has to considered as just one of the million ones that lived in our Planet during the last 3-4 billions years. Is it possible, and how, measure the sustainability? In absolute or relative terms? In order to answer these questions, a useful contribute could be find in the ecosystem services analysis.
The ecosystem services are defined as the contribution of ecosystem structure and functioning to human well-being. The ecosystem services allow us to analyze the relationships between human society and natural environment, rising the human dependence from the nature; their supply depend on the state of the system, a degradation of which is expected to reflect in a decrease of the human benefits. Within this context, the ecosystems services could be considered a useful tool for assessing on one side the dependence of our society from natural ecosystems, on the other their health and the functioning.
Expected learning outcomes
The aim of the class is to give the tools for understanding what are the key elements to be considered within the context of the environmental and renewable resources management. The opportunity to simulate the ecosystem services analysis in a real environment will be offered, with a discussion of the possible implications regarding the preparation of a management plan. Particular emphasize will be devoted to the ‘participatory approach’ as a crucial issue in determining the success of a management strategy implementation.
No specific prerequisites
The definition of the sustainability concept and the conceptual models used for its description. The ecological fundaments of the sustainability and the development of the integrated sustainability concept, moving the the ‘Limits to growth’ report (1972).
Moving from the Ecosystem Services concept, the attention will be focused on those ecological processes which determining the ecosystem functioning, are expected to directly affect the services supply. Subsequently, it will be possible to define the renewable resource concept and describe the key issues about the exploitation process.
The ecological disturbance concept and its main features will be used to analyze the procedure of the impact assessment within a context of the renewable resource exploitation. The Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) approach will be discussed, taking into consideration legislation, criticalities and main gaps. In particular, the Ecosystem Approach, the Maritime Spatial Planning and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, recently implemented by EU, will be assumed as the basis for the management planning.
Scientific papers of specific issues will be used
The exam mark will be the combination of the partecipation to the class activites and the final discussion of 2 issues developed during the course, including an issue at the choice of the student, aimed to verify the student capability to apply the studied concepts to specific case studies.
Frontal teaching, multimedia resources and group discussion on specific topics
Type of exam
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development
Last update of the programme: 05/08/2020
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