Logo Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics Deutsch

Module 0600
Theory and methods for an integrated analysis of ecosystem services governance

Course organizers

Prof. Dr. Klaus Müller, kmueller@zalf.de
Dr. Lasse Loft

Course lecturers

Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Str. 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany

Course description

The term ‘ecosystem services governance’ emerged only relatively recently in the field of scientific ecosystem services literature. The emergence of the concept of ecosystem services has resulted in a paradigm shift: from conserving nature because of its inherent intrinsic values toward a more anthropocentric view focusing on nature’s use values and its fundamental life-support system for humans. This paradigm shift has been accompanied by a change in our understanding of governance as a mode of societal coordination that recognizes the role of institutions and collective action, thus moving away from mostly state-carried hierarchical command and control-based approaches toward more inclusive market- and community-based approaches, which include also private and civil society actors, such as Payments for Ecosystem Services.

Yet, these new forms of governance face several challenges, largely rooted in the nature of complex and interlinked social-ecological systems. However, methods which underpin our deeper understanding of ecosystem services governance in the context of interconnected social-ecological-systems are just beginning to be explored and assessed. This merits the question of which methods are best suited to support our understanding of ecosystem services governance and are able to address these challenges.

This course thus aims to:

Course outline

  1. Introduction to
    • the ecosystem services concept and specific challenges of ecosystem services governance
    • qualitative and quantitative methods used in ecosystem services governance analysis
  2. Present and apply different methods for the assessment of governance approaches aimed at the sustainable provisioning and management of ecosystem services
    • Social Network Analysis (SNS) with the participatory Net-Map tool
    • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
    • Analysis of stakeholder perceptions through Q-method
    • Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA)

Teaching methods:

Lectures 50%, exercises and group work 50%

Grading: Participation 50 %, exercises and group work 50%

Credit points: 3 credits


A list of relevant literature will be provided in advance (we aim for two weeks before the starting of the course).

Language of instruction: English


For further information please contact Dr. Lasse Loft (Working Group on Ecosystem Services Governance, ZALF) lasse.loft@zalf.de, Phone: +49(0)33432/82-486.