InTeGrate Modules and Courses >An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources > Unit 3: Using an Ecosystem Services Approach for Civic Engagement
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Unit 3: Using an Ecosystem Services Approach for Civic Engagement

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

Summary

In this unit, students will explore the larger context in which ecosystem services are often utilized and real-world proposals for land-use change typically occur. Presented with a scenario for a proposed land-use change, students will consider both a broad range of ecosystem services as well as a variety of different stakeholder groups who benefit from those services. Students will then prepare group presentations, utilizing materials created in Units 1 and 2, describing a proposed land-use change, along with preferred mitigation strategies, from the perspective of particular stakeholders. Additionally, students will be prompted to reflect, individually, on an ecosystem services approach to natural resources management.

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Learning Goals

Overall Learning objective: Students will be able to evaluate the impact of land-use change on water resources utilizing an ecosystem services approach.

  1. Students will be able to express the interests and values of identified stakeholder groups.
  2. Students will create a presentation, supported by hydrologic data, that aligns with stakeholder groups' interests.
  3. Students will assess an ecosystem services approach to land-use change.

Context for Use

This unit is designed to be used in conjunction with Unit 2 of this module. The example utilized by the instructor in Unit 2.3 should be extended/elaborated for the activities in this unit. This unit 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 unit can be adapted for a variety of class sizes.
Class Format and Time Required: These activities are designed for at least three 50-minute lecture periods if students will be giving oral presentations. Students will work in groups of 4–5 students.
Special Equipment: Student groups should have a computer with access to the Internet as well as 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

This unit is divided into two sub-units:

  1. Identifying the range of both ecosystem services and affected stakeholders associated with a land-use change.
  2. Using stakeholder perspectives to create a group presentation describing a proposed land-use change along with a preferred mitigation strategy.
Either with the teacher leading the discussion or with the students working in groups, "mind maps" are created for considering a proposed land-use change (the same example used in Unit 2.3). Then through discussion, extract from the mind maps the range of (a) interests and (b) interested parties, from which students, organized into groups, will identify a range of both stakeholders and ecosystem services that need to be considered. Then, organized into stakeholder groups, students prepare a group presentation describing their preferred land-use change and mitigation strategy. Finally, at the conclusion of the unit and the module, students are asked to individually reflect on the efficacy of an ecosystem services approach for managing natural resources.

Assessment

The summative assessment for the module has two parts. Part I is a group presentation where students will develop a presentation describing a proposed land-use change and mitigation strategy from the perspective of a particular stakeholder group. Part II is a set of reflective questions that should be responded to individually. Both parts are contained in Module summative assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 28kB Sep4 16).

References and Resources

Module summative assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 28kB Sep4 16)

Mind Mapping Video

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

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

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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 »