LAA370 Landscape Ecology

Credits (ECTS):15

Course responsible:Kerstin Potthoff

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:Max. 40, min. 10 students.

Course frequency:The course is given every spring.

Nominal workload:375 hours

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in the Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in the Spring parallel.

About this course

Landscape architects and planners have a lot of influence on the spatial patterns in the landscape. These patterns are of relevance for among others, distribution and occurrence of many species (including alien species), people's perception and experience and use of the landscape, and landscape management. Knowledge about the importance of landscape content and composition is thus very important. This constitutes the core of landscape ecology.

This course introduces students to landscape-ecological concepts through work with aerial photos and map data of real landscapes. Students will learn about measuring and quantifying landscapes, how to define patches and quantify their characteristics such as size, shape, edge characteristics, pattern and connectedness. Students will learn about the ecological effects of different landscape processes including fragmentation, changes in connectivity, heterogeneity and grain size. Students will be introduced to different tools and data sources such as GIS, EndNote, Naturbase, Artskart, Kilden and scientific literature.

The role of landscape ecology in planning and management will be taught through lectures, discussions and exercises about the effects of landscape structure on populations and communities, barriers, corridors, fauna passages and the theory of metapopulations. Early in the course, the students will start working on assignments that exemplify landscape-ecological concepts using specific examples related to the background theories and course literature.

Learning outcome

1. Knowledge Students gain knowledge about landscape ecology’s background and historical development, important concepts, central topics for landscape ecological analysis and important landscape processes and functions. Students gain an understanding of the way landscape ecologists perceive landscape - as different elements located within a matrix. Moreover, students gain an understanding of how landscape changes can become very important for possibilities to preserve species diversity.

2. Skills Students are able to carry out a landscape ecological analysis based on mapped data and aerial photographs and use tools, data sources and scientific literature. Students are able to find solutions for landscape planning challenges taking the departure in landscape ecological principles and to show an understanding of the limitations to generalize solutions for one type of landscape.

3. General competence Students have an understanding of landscape ecological challenges, the role of landscape architects and spatial planners for landscape changes and of the importance to work interdisciplinary. Students can compile and present their analyses and argument for their suggested solutions.

  • Students work individually and in groups on assignments of differing complexity and extent throughout the course. In addition, there are weekly lectures and two full-day excursions. Students are expected to read scientific literature, and to present and discuss findings from the assignments.
  • Feedback on mini projects. Supervision possible outside lecturing hours, but on appointment.
  • Relevant bachelor
  • Portfolio

    • Term paper
    • Oral exam in English

    When deciding the grade, most emphasis will be placed on the term paper. The oral exam will mainly be used to adjust the grade.

  • An external examiner will read and assess the term papers and participate in the oral exam.
  • 80 % attendance/participation

    Mini projects must have been completed

    Participation in both excursions

  • ca. 70 hours lectures, excursions, exercises
  • M-LA fourth year.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).