This course focuses on understanding the economic approach to studying services provided by various ecosystems that improve human well-being. With the help of the definitions offered in the academic literature and several examples from the real world we develop an understanding of what we mean by ecosystem services. The course provides a brief overview of the economic theory that illustrates the links between different ecosystems and the economy. We learn about the different classifications of ecosystem services in relationship to economic decision making and about the major framework adopted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which can be used to study the impact of the human race on the global ecosystem. We study the various methods used in the non-market valuation of ecosystem services and focus on the practical advantages and limitations of each method. Toward the end of the course we focus on developing a thorough understanding of the role of various governments and market institutions in influencing the efficient delivery of ecosystem services worldwide.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
Harvard Summer School