Learn the theoretical and practical aspects of ecosystem services to describe role of nature for human well-being, through geo-information approaches.
Ecosystem services i.e., the contributions of nature to human well-being, are increasingly used to describe human-nature interactions in an inclusive way. The ecosystem services concept addresses management objectives that go beyond natural resources or human practices alone, as it focuses on the interactions between nature and society. Geo-information is inherent to ecosystem service assessments, since the supply (from ecosystems) and demand (from society) for ecosystem services are spatially explicit. Understanding the ecosystem service concept, selecting and using mapping methods for specific management objectives is therefore essential for incorporating human-nature interactions into environmental maagement and hence the key objective of this course. Managing natural resources in a sustainable way by taking into account human well-being is also at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals as set by United Nations.
Students who are looking for systematic and interdisciplinary approaches in describing the role of nature for human well-being, through the application of geo-information related tools and methods. These are often students with an ambition to work with, or support, decision makers, who have to balance multiple objectives related to our living environment.
Knowledge, methods, skills, approaches that you will learn include:
- Human-nature relations: Scientific concepts over time, terminology of ecosystem services, Natural Capital, Nature-based Solutions, Green/Blue Infrastructure
- Ecosystem service classifications
- Concepts of ecosystem service supply, use, demand, and value
- Decision making frameworks: phases and (geo-) information needs
- Decision making & mapping challenges: in urban, rural and marine systems
- Ecosystem service quantification and valuation approaches: social, economic and ecological measures, interactions, relevance.
- Ecosystem service mapping methods/tools/software: based on GIS (InVEST tool), Remote Sensing, Participatory GIS, and analysis of the results
- Ecosystem service data: requirements, sources, challenges
- Comparing and contrasting ecosystem service mapping methods for decision making challenges
After completing this course, you will have obtained knowledge in the theoretical aspects of ecosystem services and the definitions, classification systems. You will also be able to select and apply mapping methods for ecosystem service assessments on real-life applications in the context of diverse management objectives.
Upon completion you are able to:
- Summarise the history, explain the definitions and types of classification of ecosystem services.
- Distinguish ecosystem service supply, use, demand and value.
- Interpret ecosystem service information for diverse decision-making objectives in three different systems (urban, rural and marine).
- Use data and tools for ecosystem service mapping for one case study application
- Evaluate and select tools for ecosystem service mapping for selected decision-making objectives.
- Formulate opportunities and challenges of geo-information on ecosystem services for resource management and planning.
This course will walk you through all steps needed to undertake a spatial ecosystem services assessment; from setting management objectives, conducting field work, applying mapping and modelling tools and methods, to collaborating in an interdisciplinary team. The course brings together expertise from three ITC departments: Natural Resource, Geo-information Processing, and Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course.
Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing the name, and if applicable, all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code,
subject, EC credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.
This certificate course is part of the accredited Master’s programme Geo-information Science and earth Observation at ITC. If you decide to take the full Master’s programme Geo-information Science and Earth Observation programme at ITC, the Examination Board will give you in principle exemption from the course you followed successfully as a certificate course.
Academic level and background
Applicants for the Certificate programme should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognized university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.
Some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.
Skills in taught or related subjects are a prerequisite for some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules. Even if the applicant satisfies the overall admission requirements, acceptance is not automatic.
The faculty accepts transcripts, degrees and diplomas in the following languages: Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. It is at the discretion of the faculty to require additional English translations of all documents in other languages as well.
As all courses are given in English, proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite.
If you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF), you are exempted from an English language test.
Please note: the requirements when applying for fellowships may vary according to the regulations of the fellowship provider.
English language tests: minimum requirements
Only internationally recognised test results are accepted.
TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT)
TOEFL Internet-based Test
British Council / IELTS
C2 Proficiency / C1 Advanced
Applicants lacking computer experience are strongly advised to follow basic courses in their home countries.