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Ecosystem services and their value to society

Ecosystems deliver us crucial services, such as the production of food, purification of air and water, pollination of crops and opportunities for recreation. However, as the world’s population increases rapidly, our natural resources are running out, and biodiversity decreases. This results in an increased pressure on both our natural and man-made (e.g. agricultural) ecosystems and the services they provide. Eventually, this will also affect economic growth. For example, reduced natural pollination as a result of the decline in insects, costs the agribusiness already millions. But the decline in insects also negatively affects the quality of our nature reserves. It is time to change this process!

In this course, you will learn to use the concept of ecosystem services, while developing sustainable solutions for present day issues in food production and natural resource management.

Besides understanding the theory of ecosystem services, an important part of the minor is to apply it in a real life project. You will work in a multidisciplinary group on an assignment, in which the concept of ecosystem services is used as a principle to find sustainable solutions. For example finding ways to improve the safety of a regional highway and at the same time turning it into an energy producing area while leaving room for insects and plants to maintain ecosystem services for neighboring agricultural fields.

So, get inspired by the new expertise field of ecosystem services and sign up for this course.

You will attend a diverse programme of field visits and outstanding guest lectures. 


On completing this minor, you will be able to:

  • assess the value of ecosystem services in a social cost benefit analysis
  • use ecosystem services these concept in your own field of expertise
  • work in a multidisciplinary project setting on sustainable developments, taking into account social, economic and environmental aspects.
  • Know how to develop concepts for sustainable developments on different scale levels

Aanvullende informatie

Teaching methods include:

  • Multidisciplinary project work
  • Lectures and guest lectures, literature and field visits
  • International cooperation
  • Demonstrate your field of expertise related to the project to your fellow students


To participate in this minor, you must have completed your first year and have earned at least 40 ECTS during your second year.

For this minor, an affinity for the living environment, agriculture or food is required.


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