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From the Ground Up: Managing and Preserving Our Terrestrial Ecosystems

SDG Academy via edX

  • Provider edX
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Self Paced
  • Language English
  • Certificate $49 Certificate Available
  • Effort 2-4 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 9 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

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Overview

Examine our reliance on the Earth’s resources – and vice versa – and you will discover a stunning tapestry of complex interactions between ecosystems and human life. From preventing the extinction of species (from plants to animals) to mitigating the effects of long-term environmental shifts, how do we ensure that our interaction with the world around us doesn’t leave it destroyed?

In this course, you’ll learn the science behind the capacities of various ecosystems including extinction rates, desertification and how their physical makeup has evolved with environmental shifts. You’ll experience the lives of local populations dependent upon these resources, from their economic activities to their societal norms.

After taking this course, you will be equipped with an understanding of diverse ecosystems and how responsible use of these resources is imperative to our planet’s survival.

This course is for:
  • Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students studying ecosystem management, forestry, sustainable development, economics, sustainable business and related fields
  • Practitioners in forestry, ecosystem management, conservation and related fields who are interested in current science and research around use and preservation
  • Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors, such as those who work in corporate sustainability and responsibility, land development or tourism – who need to understand responsible consumption and interaction with our ecosystems

Syllabus

Module 1: Introduction to Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • 1.1 Welcome to the Course
  • 1.2 Introduction to SDG 15
  • 1.3 Terrestrial and Inland Freshwater Ecosystems
  • 1.4 Social and Economic Importance of Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • 1.5 Human Dimension of Ecosystem Protection and Management
  • 1.6 The Savanna Grasslands
Module 2: The Challenges Facing Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • 2.1 Ecosystem Degradation
  • 2.2 Ecosystem Conversion
  • 2.3 Biodiversity Loss
  • 2.4 Thresholds and Tipping Points
  • 2.5 Fragmentation and Landscape Management
Module 3: Terrestrial Ecosystem Valuation
  • 3.1 Valuing ecosystems services
  • 3.2 Payment for environmental services
  • 3.3 The Cost of Inaction
  • 3.4 Forest certification
Module 4: Management Systems for Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • 4.1 Protected Area Management I
  • 4.2 Protected Area Management II
  • 4.3 Agroforestry Systems
  • 4.4 Sustainable Forest Management
  • 4.5 Cross-sectoral Issues: The Case of Small-scale Gold Mining
Module 5: Designing Sustainable Ecosystem Programs
  • 5.1 From Strategy to Action
  • 5.2 Designing for Complex Landscapes
  • 5.3 Designing Participatory Methods
  • 5.4 Designing Sustainable Institutions: The case of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation
  • 5.5 The Amazon Rainforest: The Bolsa Floresta Program
Module 6: Public Policies, Programs and Projects: Evaluation and Assessment
  • 6.1 The Holistic Design of Public Policies for SDG 15
  • 6.2 Evaluation of Public Policies for SDG 15
  • 6.3 Evaluation of projects and programs related to SDG15
  • 6.4 Evaluation of international policies related to SDG15
Module 7: Enabling Institutional Environments for SDG 15
  • 7.1 Partnerships for Implementing SDG15
  • 7.2 Integrating SDG15 into Local, National and Development Strategies
  • 7.3 Enabling Environments for SDG15: The Case of Bhutan
  • 7.4 Financial Resources for Achieving SDG15
  • 7.5 Technology: Latin American and Caribbean Regional Case Study
  • 7.6 How SDG15 Links with Other SDGs
  • 7.7 Putting this Course into Action

Taught by

Jeffrey Sachs, Virgilio Viana, Thomas Lovejoy, Rita Mesquita and Emma Torres

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