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Ecosystem management, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Naturvård

This syllabus is valid: 2023-01-30 and until further notice

Course code: 5BI268

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Biology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Department of Ecology and Environmental Science

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2022-08-19

Revised by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2023-01-20


The course provides broad knowledge of ecosystem management work, and discusses and critically evaluates the scientific basis on which ecosystem management practices rest. Focus is also put on understanding the roles different actors play in management of ecosystems, especially the role of ecologists. The course includes an in-depth assignment in which the students work in groups to analyze some aspect of the restoration and conservation of species and ecosystems, as well as excursions where ecosystem management practices are studied in the field.

The course is divided into the following modules:

Module 1, Theory, 8 credits

The module covers the following areas:

Social dimensions of ecosystem management. The goals and implementation of ecosystem management is affected by views and attitudes that do not have its roots in ecological science, but which ecologists must deal with. The section deals with how conflicts of interest, attitudes and human values influence the management of nature.

Landscape ecology. The course provides an overview of the principles and concepts that form the basis of landscape planning. The students get an introduction to how landscapes can be described and quantified, as well as to the effects of land use on landscape structure (e.g., fragmentation and edge effects).

Management and restoration of populations and ecosystems. Various methods aimed at conserving species and protecting or restoring ecosystems are covered, including compensatory measures in case of permanent exploitation, restoration of ecosystems, and different types of management and conservation with examples from several ecosystems, such as rivers, forests and agricultural lands.

Module 2, Group project, 6 credits.

The module consists of an in-depth assignment where the students analyze some aspect of the management or conservation of species and ecosystems. Special emphasis is placed on scientifically evaluating ecosystem management practices and the scientific evidence that various management practices have the desired results. The students are expected to search for information themselves using e.g., scientific literature and interviews with ecosystem management actors, and the progress of the work is continuously followed by the group's supervisor. The work results in a written report and the results are presented in an oral seminar. The students then do an individual assignment, where they compare and reflect on similarities and differences in ecosystem management conditions and practices among ecosystem types and organism groups.

Module 3, Excursions and field assignments, 1 credit

The module consists of excursions where the students get to see examples of different conservation, restoration and compensatory practices in for example boreal forest, streams and rivers and agricultural landscapes  

Expected learning outcomes

After completed course, for pass the student is expected to:

Module 1

FSR 1. Understand how ecological knowledge can underpin ecosystem management,
FSR 2. Be able to apply and evaluate methods for ecological analysis of landscapes and how these can be used in ecosystem management,
FSR 3. Have knowledge on the roles of different stake holders in ecosystem management and understand how differences in attitudes, ways of thinking and commitment affect how ecosystems are managed,
FSR 4. Be able to apply methods to manage, conserve, restore and create different types of ecosystems to achieve the goals of ecosystem management,
Module 2

FSR 5. Be able to describe the process of conserving ecosystems and species,
Module 3

FSR 6. Scientifically evaluate different management actions and be able to apply methods for evaluating effects of conservation and management actions.

After completed course, for pass with distinction the student is expected to:

Module 1

FSR 7. Be able to apply the course contents on new problems,
FSR 8. Show analytical skills in problem solving within the topic of the course,
FSR 9. Be able to critically review and evaluate scientific literature within the topic of the course.

Required Knowledge

Univ: 120 ECTS including 60 ECTS Biology of which 30 ECTS Ecology or 60 ECTS earth science/ natural geography or environmental science and 30 ECTS ecology or equivalent knowledge. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Form of instruction

he course consists of lectures, work in groups, group discussions, an individual written assignment, seminars and excursions. Excursions are mandatory. These teach methods and practices necessary in later work life. Many aspects of the teaching are of problem solving character where the students are expected to solve the assignments in group.

Examination modes

Both written examinations and an individual written assignments are used, along with oral and/or written presentations of group project, group seminars and field studies. On written examinations the grades Not pass (U), Pass (G) and Pass with distinction (VG) will be used. For the group project report and excursions only the grades Not Pass (U) and Pass (G) are used. For the entire course the students will be awarded one of the following grades: Not pass (U), Pass (G) and Pass with distinction (VG). For the grade Pass, the student must fulfill all expected study outcomes for the grade Pass. For the grade Pass with Distinction, the student must also fulfill all expected study outcome for the grade Pass with Distinction. A student that has passed an exam may not retake it in order to get a higher grade. A student, who has passed two exams for a course or part of a course without an approved result, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless special reasons speak against it (HF chapter 6, 11b §). Requests for a new examiner are submitted to the head of department of Ecology, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Students have the right to have their previous education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession tested whether it can be credited for the corresponding course at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Centre / Examinations. For more information on credit transfer available on Umeå University's student web, www.student.umu.se, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of accreditation may be appealed against (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as well as part of the application if accreditation is refused.

Other regulations

In the event that the course plan ceases to apply or undergoes major changes, students are guaranteed at least three exam opportunities (including regular examinations) according to the rules in the syllabus that the student was originally registered for, for a maximum of two years from the date of expiry of the previous course plan or the course ceased being offered.


Valid from: 2024 week 1

Conservation Science : balancing the needs of people and nature
Kareiva Peter, Marvier Michelle
Second edition. : New York : Roberts and Company : 2017 : 642 sidor :
ISBN: 9781319146719
Search the University Library catalogue