GY469      Half Unit
Environment and Development: Ecosystem Services and the Global South

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Charles Palmer KGS2.06 and Dr Benjamin Groom KGS2.03


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change and MSc in Human Geography (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students who have not completed a course in first year undergraduate level Economics might find it useful to audit EC100 Economics A.

Course content

The demand for and supply of energy, food, and water have important implications for resource use and the environment. They also serve as building blocks for economic development. With a focus on individuals and countries in the global south, this course is evidence based and primarily utilises the concepts and tools of environmental economics and development economics. It aims to impart knowledge and develop critical thinking about a number of selected topics concerned with the interface between environment and development. Structured over 10 weeks, the course is divided into three distinct parts. After introducing the course and the basic concepts to be used throughout (week 1), Part I concentrates on two topics, which play a key role in conditioning the supply of ecosystem services, institutions (week 2) and biodiversity (week 3). Part II devotes a week each to food (week 4), water (week 5), and energy (week 6), with special attention paid to issues of contemporary policy relevance, for example, food security, climate adaptation, and the energy transition. Part III focuses on three selected topics, which cut across many of the themes covered in the first two parts of the course: biofuels (week 7); forests (week 8); and, urban (week 9). The course concludes with a closer examination of policy used to manage the some of the trade-offs between environment and development studied earlier in the course (week 10).


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

There is no single textbook, which covers the content of the whole course. The following provides some indicative reading:

R Lopez and M Toman, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University Press, 2006.

E Barbier, Natural resources and economic development, Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 3
Merit 36.4
Pass 39.4
Fail 21.2

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2014/15: 6

Average class size 2014/15: 2

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication