Current Courses

Prof. Dr. David Abson

The Economics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

In this course, students will critically assess 1) The current state of biodiversity loss and biological understandings of biodiversity, from genes to ecosystems 2) The changing way that economics has conceptualised the natural environment and its relation to human well-being 3) How economic theories seek to explain the loss of biodiversity and 4) How economics seeks to value and manage biodiversity, including the use of the ecosystem services concept.

To this end, students in this course will learn concepts from ecological, environmental and resource economics, and integrate them/relate them to concepts from ecology, to gain an overview of theecological-economic understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Part I Armageddon Time (The sixth great extinction and the Anthropocene)

1. The meaning, measurement and importance of biodiversity

2. Biodiversity loss, its causes and consequences

3. Ethics and conservation - The nature of value and the value of nature

Part II Money is the root of all evil (An economic view of the environment)

4. Ethics and economics (judging states of the world)

5. Utility as the measure of intrinsic value

6. Marginality, scarcity efficient allocation and the invisible hand

7. Biodiversity as an economic good

8. Substitutability, rebound effect, the environmental Kuznets curve

9. Common pool resources, the tragedy of the commons

Part III A love money can’t buy (Economic valuation and management of biodiversity)

10. Addressing the proximate causes of biodiversity loss

11. Positive and negative externalities

12. Green taxation

13. Ecosystem services (and the payment thereof)

14. Biodiversity valuation methods

15. Biodiversity offsetting; REDD+

Part IV Stop that train (economic growth, it causes and consequences)

16. Addressing the ultimate causes of biodiversity loss

17. Economic growth (e.g. Productivity and technical unemployment)

18. Alternative models to the growth economy (steady state and degrowth)

19. Tools for ending economic growth

To explore each part of the course there will be a lecture followed by a seminar. The lectures will focus on theory and the seminars on contentious debates, and real world examples. There will be strong emphasis on student led discussions in the seminar sessions.

Ziel: The Earth appears to be entering its sixth great extinction event (Banosky et al. 2011) with habitat loss and species extinction rates currently thousands of times higher than the average background rates for the past millennia. The current loss of biodiversity is driven almost entirely by the behaviour of a single species (Homo sapiens). The loss of biodiversity has often been considered an issue for the biological sciences. However, given that human (economic) behaviour is the root cause of the problem it is important to understand how the field of economics conceptualises, understand and influences humanity’s relations with the natural world.

Colloquium Social-ecological system research

Das Kolloquium wird inhaltlich verschiedene Methoden, Ansätze und Ergebnisse sozial-ökologischer Forschung behandeln und unterschiedliche Formate anbieten: Studierende präsentieren ihre Forschungsvorhaben und/ oder Ergebnisse, die dann mit den Betreuuenden und anderen Forschern diskutiert werden können

Ziel: Ziel der Veranstaltung ist ein Austausch zwischen den Forschenden und Promovierenden, aber auch eine Präsentation des Promotionsvorhabens und eine Reflexion über die Fortschritte der Promotion

Further information about courses you will find the academic portal myStudy.