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

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Charles Palmer STC. S303 and Dr Benjamin Groom STC. S420


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

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.


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 (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 7), 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 8); forests (week 9); and, urban (week 10). 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 11).


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 summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 6.1
Merit 45.5
Pass 48.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2017/18: 20

Average class size 2017/18: 4

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication