Accessibility statement

Ecosystem Management and Conservation - ENV00050I

« Back to module search

  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Tabitha Kabora
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Ecosystems are vital to human existence and are a key part of the Earth’s natural capital. Our ecosystems on land and sea underpin economic productivity and social wellbeing, providing important ecosystem services and benefits. In recent decades, human influence has expanded to the remotest regions of the planet, to the poles and highest mountains, and to the most remote oceans and the bottom of the deepest abyss. This module will build on knowledge and practical experience gained in first-year modules and integrate an understanding of the physical, ecological, historical, social and economic factors that underpin the use, management and conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. There will be particular focus on how terrestrial and marine ecosystems have responded to human pressures and environmental change in time and space, and how such information can be used to develop management strategies for the future, in the light of increasing demands on resources and ongoing environmental change. Learning through practical experience is an important part of ecological and biogeographical studies, and the module includes a field visit, a practical on natural capital monitoring and assessment, and an analysis of underwater video footage from a marine protected area.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module will provide scientific and policy understanding of the patterns of use and pressures facing terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It will bring together ecological, historical, social and economic factors to understand human impacts on these ecosystems to date, and our options for managing and conserving them for the future in the face of ongoing anthropogenic and environmental change.

The module provides understanding and hands-on experience of some key concepts, theories and practices of ecosystem management and conservation used in a wide range of sectors including:

  • Natural capital assessment

  • Marine protection

  • Marine management

  • Agricultural management

  • Renewable energy

  • Forest management

  • Land use planning

  • Environmental policy

  • Sustainable development

A field visit focusing on upland management challenges and a practical involving analysis and interpretation of underwater video footage from a marine protected area will provide hands-on experience of techniques used for assessing ecosystem health and service provision and the evaluation of management interventions.

The practical component of the course is based on problem-solving within groups, helping to develop a range of generic skills:

  • Group participation and management

  • Problem analysis and task prioritisation

  • Time management

  • People skills

  • Debate and discussion

  • Priority setting

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of natural capital and ecosystem service-based approaches to managing human impacts on the environment.
  • Explain how ecological science interacts with social, economic and historical factors to underpin ecosystem distribution, composition and capacity to support human needs, now and in the future.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the suitability and limitations of different management strategies, including nature-based solutions, for dealing with adverse human impacts and enhancing benefits from ecosystems.
  • Explain how ecosystem management can be monitored and evaluated using a variety of techniques.


Task Length % of module mark
Open Exam (1 day)
Open exam
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Exam (1 day)
Open exam
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback will be provided on assessment in accordance with the University’s Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time

Indicative reading

Cuní-Sanchez A, Sullivan MJP, Platts PJ, Lewis SL, Marchant R, et al. (2021) High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests. Nature 596, 536-542.

Cox, C. B. and Moore, P. D. 2010. Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Dasgupta, P. 2021. The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. Headline Messages. HM Treasury, London.

Guerry, A.D., Polasky, S., Lubchenco, J., et al. 2015. Natural capital and ecosystem services informing decisions: From promise to practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(24), pp.7348-7355.

Huggett, R.J. 2007. Environmental Change: The evolving ecosphere. Routledge.

Kaiser M. et al (2020). Marine Ecology: Processes, Systems, and Impacts. OUP Oxford; 3rd edition, 608pp.

Marchant, R. 2021. East Africa’s Human Environment Interactions, Palgrave Macmillan

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.