About the Course
Ecosystem services are the conditions and processes through which forest ecosystems, including their component soils and species, sustain and fulfill human life. These services include carbon sequetration, biodiversity, stabilization of hydrologic cycles, removal of air pollutants, aesthetic beauty, moderation of weather extremes and mitigation of natural disasters. Academic interest in ecosystem services was first evident in the refereed literature in the early 1980s but has gained significant stature only in the past decade and a half. Likewise, policy makers have increasingly focused on ecosystem services, developing new incentive schemes for production and payment of these services.
This course will provide a systematic overview and basic understanding of the concept of forest and soil ecosystems services from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course is team taught at the University of Florida and the University of Georgia-Athens and is available only as a web-based course. Because of the web-based nature, this course is offered in a rather unique environment where students from both universities are expected to participate with each other via a discussion board.