EDS350 Ecology and Society
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Showing course contents for the educational year 2017 - 2018 .
Course responsible: Peter Gufu Oba
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2014-2015
The course offers integrated and holistic approaches for understanding the relationship between biological ecology and society, integrates different disciplines to improve understanding the impacts on global environmental history through time. The course is organized around seven (6) thematic areas.
Theme 1: Defining ecology and society: from environmental history and cultural perspectives.
Theme 2: Global human demands and ecological systems
Theme 3: Cultural human ecological systems
Theme 4: Past environmental-social systems.
Theme 5: Climate change and adaptations
Theme 6: Degrading world ecosystems and human health
Ecology and society presents students with knowledge of the fundamentals of ecology and human societies, past and present. The course by blending biological ecology, with social science and environmental history, provides a better understanding of the relationships between ecology, environment and social changes. The course further examines relations between human needs and environmental stressors from the ancient times to the present. It examines resource diversity, uses by societies and their adaptations to environmental changes. It covers both natural and human made ecosystems. Knowledge of cultural landscapes and human environmental impacts uses the tool of environmental history to understand how human societies through time adapted to the changing climate and environment. The course specifically examines changes in human cultural environments using environmental. An aspect of this learning will be the role played by climatology in driving ecological and social systems through time. Environmental desiccation and land degradation processes will be examined from historical and contemporary perspectives. Understanding ecology and societal relations in the dry lands in particular will be related to history of water and the cultures of water management. In this aspect, the course will examine human adaptations in the dry lands, considering ecology of degradation, climate change and societies¿ responses using site and geographically specific case studies. These backgrounds will draw on lessons on continuities and collapses in past human civilizations. Changes in local landscapes (both natural and human made) would be examined from ecological and social perspectives. These will be related to historical relations between cultures and environments, taking global and local perspectives as an approach to learning. At local scales, the course deals with natural ecosystems, human and ecological services, fragmentations, ecosystem restoration and consequences for human and natural systems. The course will guide students to focus on risk management in vulnerable environments. Finally, ecology and society provides students with a solid anchor of theoretical and practical knowledge of environmental and social change by giving an overview of global environmental history.
These are achieved by: 1. Through lectures and class discussions as well as group presentations to achieve: blending application of biological ecology with social science and environmental historical knowledge, 2. Understanding linkages between global human demands of the ecology and social needs in diversities of terrestrial ecosystems, 3. Analyse relations between cultural landscapes and human environmental impacts, 4. Learning changes in human environmental social memory and management of natural environments, 5. Understanding roles of climate in environmental changes:- understanding water history in dry lands, 6.Understanding roles played by global environmental degradation.
The teacher responsible for the course will be guiding class presentations and group exercises. The teacher will give the lectures and suggest appropriate reading if needed by the students. The student learning will be by both independent and group work. The course philosophy is to encourage the students to pursue their interests using the class lectures as a support to their learning.
There is no set text book in this course that is able to cover all the diverse subjects given in the thematic areas. The students should therefore be prepared to read on their own some directed references. The course will use the following references which will be made available in Noragric Library. These could be complement by specific reading lists for each thematic area. 1: Robin, S. Reid, 2012. Savannas of our birth, people, wildlife, and change in East Africa, University of California Press. 2: Kathrin Homewood 2009, Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies, James Currey. 3: Brian Fagan, 2011, Elixir: A history of water and humankind, Bloomsburry Press. 4: Brian Fagan 2008, The Great warming: Climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations, Bloomsburry Press. 5: Jared Diamond 2005- Collapse: How societies choose to fall or succeed, Viking. 6. Fikret Berkes 1999, Sacred Ecology: Traditional ecological knowledge and resource management, Taylor and Francis. 7. Henning Steinfeld, Harold A. Mooney et al. 2010. Livestock in a changing landscape: Drivers, consequences, and responses, Vols. 1 and 2. 8. Kathleen A. Galvin, Robin S. Reid, et al. 2008, Fragmentation in semi-arid and arid landscapes: Consequences for Human and natural systems, Springer. 9. Sing C. Chew 2001, World ecological degradation: Accumulation, urbanization, and deforestation, 3000 B.C.- A.D. 2000, Altamira Press. 10. Luke Martel 1994, Ecology and society: an Introduction, University of Massachusetts Press. 11. Alan Mikhail, 2013, Water on sand: Environmental histories of the Middle East and North Africa, Oxford University Press. 12. Roderick J. McIntosh, Joseph A. Tainter et al. 2000, The way the wind blows: Climate, history, and human action, Colombia University Press. 13. Edward J. Kormondy and Daniel E. Brown 1998, Fundamentals of Human ecology, Prentice Hall, 14. I. Peter Martini and Ward Chesworth (eds.) 2010, Landscapes and societies, Springer. 15. Sing C. Chew 2008, Ecological futures: what history can teach us, Altamira. 16. Robert Costanza, Lisa J. Graumlich and will Steffen 2007, Sustainability or collapse?: An integrated history and future people of Earth, The MIT Press 17. Emilio F. Moran, 2008, Human adaptability: An introduction to Ecological anthropology, Westview 18. Nora Haenn and Richard R. Wilk (eds.) 2006, The environment in anthropology: a reader in ecology, culture, and sustainable living, New York University Press
Bachelor degree or equivalent-
Students taking this class should have the background of the core course EDS 303: Introduction to international environmental studies.
During the course the class will be involved in weekly reading assignments selected from the seven thematic areas. These are compulsory. The evaluation of the course will comprise: (a) class attendance (10%), individual, group reviews and presentati (60%) and a group term paper accounting for 30% of the total grade.
Total work load for this course including reading is 30 hours per credit. The course is 10 credit. This means the students will be expected to spend a total of 300 hours of learning of various activities including consultations on this course.
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
There would be 2 double lecture hours per week. Students are expected to sit for 4 hours in lectures and seminars per week, 12 weeks in total.
Class seminars will be evaluated by the teacher, while group exercise will involve an extrernal sensor
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått