NIGK13007U Ecosystem Services from Forests and Nature

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Nature Management
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management


The course explores the variety of ecosystem services (ES) provided by forest and nature ecosystems. Focus will be on ecosystem functions providing the services, ES assessment and quantification, valuation and decision-making. The following key topics are covered: (1) ES and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, classification of ES types, (2) carbon storage and sequestration, nitrogen retention and other services related to the biogeochemical cycles, (3) water quality and quantity, (4) primary productivity and environmental responses, (5) Biodiversity conservation, (6) Economic methods and valuation of ES, (7) Trade-offs and synergies between ES, (8) Policy, priorities and decision-making.

Learning Outcome

This course focuses on enabling students’ ability to apply scientific knowledge and reasoning to critically assess, and discuss synergies and trade-offs.


  • Understand categories and key contemporary issues on ecosystem services
  • Understand ecosystem functioning leading to ES
  • Understand interactions between ecosystem services and effects of utilization and conservation
  • Understand underlying synergies and trade-offs between ecosystem services and how management can affect the provision of ES
  • Understand the ecosystem services in relation to climate change
  • Summarize environmental economic and policy theory and knowledge of the decision support tools utilized in management of ecosystem services



  • Develop, quantify and apply theoretical and practical models and software for ecosystem service quantification
  • Apply decision support tools to model, analyze, and prioritize the provision of ecosystem services
  • Assess the possibilities and limitations of theories and methodologies
  • Tackle problems by collecting, analyzing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively



  • Turn demands on ecosystem services into concrete priorities, potential actions and projects based on both natural and social science
  • Transfer theories and principles to new situations and assume independent and professional responsibility
  • Manage operations and development tasks in the framework set by society (legislation, regulations, realities)
  • Display the competences, key skills ,behaviour and attitudes required in a professional working life
  • Transfer problem analyses, theories, secondary data and analysis into priority suggestions, reflecting trade-offs and synergies as well as the objectives of multitudinous stakeholders
  • Independently evaluate and structure own learning processes and assume responsibility for own professional development with a view to life-long learning

Selected scientific papers and book chapters.

Basic course in systems ecology and applied micro economics is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Teaching is done through lectures and exercises separated in topical modules. Each module contains well-defined learning objectives, literature and exercises and mediated online discussions. Students will work in groups and make reports that will form the basis for quantifying and valuing ecosystem services
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 132
  • Excursions
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Written assignment, during course
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam includes examination of the project report (counts 50%) and a general question on the compulsory curriculum (counts 50%). Passing the course requires, that the combined weighted grade is 02.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

Written assignment followed by oral examination, 25 minutes. The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week.

Criteria for exam assesment

Fulfilment of learning outcome.