Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development

Coursera Ecosystem Services

Target Audience

Professionals and students who wish to go beyond basic notions of the ecosystem services - Anyone who wish to engage with society and contribute to a better world.


Ecosystem services are a way of thinking about – and evaluating – the goods and services provided by nature that contribute to the well-being of humans.
This MOOC will cover scientific (technical), economic, and socio-political dimensions of the concept through a mix of theory, case-studies, interviews with specialists and a serious-game.

This course was developed by instructors from the University of Geneva with the help of numerous researchers and input from the Geneva Water Hub and the Natural Capital Project. The course was financed by the University of Geneva, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) via the Geneva Water Hub, and the Luc Hoffmann Institute.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, our aim is to enable you to:

Define the concept of ecosystem services, its principles and limitations
Understand the key services associated with any ressource (e.g., fresh water) through readings and case-studies
Appreciate the advantages and potential risks of monetising ecosystem services
Appreciate the social dimensions (power issues, cultural biases) embedded within any method
Integrate tactical advice on mainstreaming this approach into policy and standard government practices
Optional: learn how to map ecosystem services with GIS tools