In this three-week module, students will investigate the ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. Students will be introduced to ecosystem services as a way of integrating the components of the hydrologic cycle as a system, synthesizing the interaction between the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, and linking those processes to the needs and aspirations of particular communities in particular places. Rezoning, annexation, and land-use changes are some of the most common issues that come before local governing bodies; many of these changes involve natural areas and green spaces becoming industrial, commercial, or residential developments. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to actively engage in the public dialogues that are typically part of the process, from understanding and analyzing a problem to presenting reasonable solutions from particular stakeholders' perspectives.
Strengths of the Module
Students who learn with this module will:
- Be able to recognize the range and variety of ecosystem services associated with land use and its relation to the hydrologic cycle. They accomplish this by evaluating how the production of ecosystem services varies over time and among multiple land uses and land covers, explaining the hydrologic cycle using authentic rainfall and runoff data, and assessing human impacts on different components of the hydrologic cycle using a systems-thinking approach.
- Be able to infer and estimate the ecosystem services of natural or pervious land cover based on modeling the impact of development on the hydrologic cycle, specifically stormwater runoff. They accomplish this by modeling the impact of development on stormwater runoff and by assessing methods to mitigate the impact of development on stormwater runoff using low impact development.
- Be able to articulate and evaluate the impact of land use change on water resources utilizing an ecosystem services approach. They accomplish this by recognizing the interests and values of multiple stakeholder groups, creating a presentation, supported by hydrologic data, that aligns with stakeholder group interests, and assessing an ecosystem services approach to land use change.
A great fit for courses in:
- Environmental Studies
- Environmental Science
- Earth Science
- Environmental Ethics
- Land Use Planning and Design
- Physical Geography
Instructor Stories: How this module was adapted
for use at several institutions »
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: An Ecosystems Services Approach to Water Resources module
Unit 1Recognizing Ecosystem Services and their Relation to the Hydrologic Cycle Unit 2Measuring and Modeling Ecosystem Services Unit 3Using an Ecosystem Services Approach for Civic Engagement
- Student Materials
- Instructor Stories
- Join the Community
- Barbanell E., Jarchow M., Ritter J. (2019) Using Ecosystem Services to Engage Students in Public Dialogue About Water Resources. In: Gosselin D., Egger A., Taber J. (eds) Interdisciplinary Teaching About Earth and the Environment for a Sustainable Future. AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series. Springer, Cham