InTeGrate Modules and Courses >An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources > Unit 3: Using an Ecosystem Services Approach for Civic Engagement > Unit 3.1: Land-Use Change and Stakeholders
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Unit 3.1: Land-Use Change and Stakeholders

Developed by Ed Barbanell (University of Utah), Meghann Jarchow (University of South Dakota), and John Ritter (Wittenberg University)

Summary

The example of a proposed land-use change that was used in Unit 2.3 is built upon here. The activities in this unit are meant to broaden the discussion beyond calculating quantitative run-off changes. Now we will also bring in consideration of a broader range of ecosystem services, as well as other ways in which a landscape can be valued, some of which may not be easily measured or even conceptualized as "services." Classroom time is devoted to the instructor and students exploring both (a) the stakeholders who have an interest in a particular place and (b) the various interests/uses those stakeholders may have for that place. By the end of the activity, the class should have identified several major stakeholder groups and several distinct ecosystem services. Students, organized into groups representing particular stakeholders, will then be tasked to prepare, for Unit 3.2, a group presentation, to be discussed on class on the last day of the module, that utilizes those ecosystem services as much as possible.

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Learning Goals

Overall Learning objective: Students will be able to express the interests and values of multiple stakeholder groups.

Specific learning objectives for this activity:

  1. Students will be able to assess a proposed land-use change from a broad perspective, including multiple uses and multiple stakeholders.
  2. Students will be able to express disparate stakeholder values in terms of discrete ecosystem services.
  3. Students will be able to construct scenarios matching stakeholder values with ecosystem services.
  4. Students will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of mapping stakeholder values onto ecosystem services.

Context for Use

This activity is intended to be used as an extension of the activity used in Unit 2.3 of this module. As such, it would be appropriate in a range of introductory courses, including courses in water resources, sustainability, ecology, environmental science, Earth science and geology, land-use planning, anthropology, and landscape design.

Class Size: This activity can be adapted for a variety of class sizes.
Class Format: This activity is designed for individual lecture sessions, but it is suitable for use in a lab setting or as a homework assignment as well. Students can work together, in groups of 4–5 students.
Time Required: This activity is designed to be completed in a 50-minute class period.
Special Equipment: Student groups should have a computer with access to the Internet as well as the results from their work in Unit 2.3.
Skills or concepts that students should have already mastered before encountering the activity: This activity assumes mastery of basic concepts of ecosystem services and the hydrologic cycle through the completion of Units 1 and 2.

Description and Teaching Materials

In preparation for this activity, prior to class students should (1) watch the short YouTube Mind Mapping Video, and (2) read the short article by F. Stuart Chapin III Celebrating and Shaping Nature (Acrobat (PDF) 425kB Nov30 16). The video illustrates the process for creating a mind map, which will be the main tool for teasing out the ecosystem services and stakeholders involved in the proposed land-use change example. The Chapin article sets up a context for evaluating an ecosystem services approach to resource management, which should become an aspect of both the in-class discussion following the mind mapping exercise, as well as the reflective part of the module's summative assessment. (As a jump start to the in-class activity, students might be asked to come to class with a list of 4–5 potential interested parties and at least 3 uses/values of the land, in either its current or its re-developed state of affairs.)

During the first part of class, students will be put in groups of 4–5 individuals and asked to create mind maps whose main "topics" should be organized around either (a) people who have interests in the land and/or the land-use change or (b) uses to which the land is used or could be used under various land-use change scenarios (see the References and Resources section below for examples of actual mind maps created by student groups during the piloting phase of this module).

From these group mind maps, two consensus lists—one listing the major stakeholders, and one listing of the variety of uses of the land—should be created by the instructor on the board. At this juncture, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) categorization of ecosystem services (MEA ecosystem services categories (Acrobat (PDF) 510kB Aug4 15)), which was described in Unit 1.1, should be reintroduced into the discussion. The discussion should then turn to translating the variety of uses listed on the board into discrete ecosystem services/benefits categories (i.e., Provisioning, Regulating, Cultural or Supporting) as identified in the MA.

In the context of this discussion, the difficulty of translating all of the uses identified in the mind map/list of uses into discrete ecosystem services as described in the MA will manifest itself, which will present an avenue for discussing the Chapin article.

Finally, students should organize into groups of 4–6 students representing major stakeholder groups. It is in these groups that they will create their presentations for the Unit 3.2 activity.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Below is a lesson plan for a 50-minute class period.

Discussion of the Chapin article (5 min)

In the Chapin article, he discusses how an ecosystem services approach tries to incorporate cultural and aesthetic values in services' trade-off calculations, but he also states that these values are more simply viewed as a "sense of place"—i.e., "the collection of meanings, beliefs, symbols, values and feelings that individuals and groups associate with a particular locality" (p.167). So, a question the students might consider before they began their mind-mapping exercise: is an ecosystem services approach capable of capturing/modeling all those thick-textured sense-of-place values?

Mind Mapping (15 min):

Materials needed:

  1. Enough (a) large sheets of unlined paper, or poster board, and—if you are going to have the students do a full-blown mind map, (b) sets of 4–5 different colored markers to accommodate groups of 4–5 students: one (a) and (b) for each group. (Using large sheets with a self-adhesive strip on the back is good, if you want to stick the completed group mind maps on the wall around the room afterward for folks to look at and reference.)
  2. Copies of the land-use change exercise used in Unit 2.3 (enough so there is one for each group).
  3. Write or project on the board the six main features of a good mind map:
  • Start in the center of a blank page turned sideways
  • Use an image or picture as your central idea
  • Use colors throughout
  • Connect your main branches to the central image, your second- and third-level branches to the first, etc.
  • Use one key word or phrase per line
  • Use images when appropriate

Put the students in groups, and instruct them to use the picture of the site of the proposed land-use change as the center image of their mind map.

Tell them that they are to create a mind map about the site, considering (1) all the kinds of people who might either use the site or have an interest in it (either in its current state or when it is developed in some fashion—maybe not the exact one proposed) and (2) all the different ways it might be used or valued (either in its current state or when it is developed in some fashion—again, maybe not the exact one proposed). They should use either (1) or (2) as the main branches of their mind map.

If time or inclination permits, a discussion of the pros/cons of using mind maps for this exercise could occur.

Ecosystem Services (5 min):

Project on the board or pass out copies of MEA ecosystem services categories (Acrobat (PDF) 510kB Aug4 15) from Unit 1.1. Have the students use their group's mind map (or the instructors, if s/he created one) to see which of the ways/uses/values identified on it can be translated into an ecosystem service that fits into a particular category.

Stakeholders and Ecosystem Services (10–20 min):

After clarifying that "stakeholder" merely means "someone who is involved in or affected by a course of action," the instructor at the board should extract from the groups two lists (1) Stakeholders and (2) Ecosystem Services. Additionally, stakeholders and ecosystem services can be paired or connected during this part of the discussion.

Ecosystem Services versus other values and interests (10–15 min):

Aspects of this part of the discussion will undoubtedly arise as students work through the above exercises, but the issue that not all "ways of using/valuing" can be easily or fruitfully translated into "ecosystem services" will be a cause of much frustration for students, and that is part of the point. Here, the instructor should refer to aspects of the Chapin article, particularly pp. 166–68, where he discusses all of this. How these non-ecosystem services values are characterized and utilized in public forum discussions is a vital question, and students should come away from the discussion with some ambivalence about the efficacy of ecosystem services as a comprehensive approach for making land-use change decisions.

Group Presentation Assignment and Groupings (10 min):

Students should be put in groups of 4–5 (or stay in the groups they have been put in), and each group should be assigned a main stakeholder or cluster of closely aligned stakeholders. Students will be working in these same groups for Unit 3.2.

Assessment

There is no assessment for this particular activity.

References and Resources

Mind Mapping Video

Celebrating and Shaping Nature (Acrobat (PDF) 425kB Nov30 16)

MEA ecosystem services categories (Acrobat (PDF) 510kB Aug4 15)

Mind map examples: Mind map examples from Barbanell course (Acrobat (PDF) 468kB Jun22 16), Mind map examples from Jarchow course (1) (Acrobat (PDF) 4.1MB Jun22 16), Mind map examples from Jarchow course (2) (Acrobat (PDF) 115kB Jun22 16), Mind map examples from Jarchow course (3) (Acrobat (PDF) 97kB Jun22 16), and Mind map examples from Jarchow course (4) (Acrobat (PDF) 67kB Jun22 16).

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »