Ecology of sustainable farming

Faculteit Science and Engineering
Jaar 2019/20
Vakcode WMEV19001
Vaknaam Ecology of sustainable farming
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I b (02-12-2019 till 21-12-2019)
ECTS 5
Rooster rooster.rug.nl

Uitgebreide vaknaam Ecology of sustainable farming
Leerdoelen At the end of the course the student is able to:
1. explain how current intensive farming systems and alternative sustainable farming systems work.
2. explain what the impact of current intensive farming systems is on ecosystems and the environment.
3. explain how a farmer can manage its soil and crops in a sustainable way.
4. explain in what ways farmers can benefit from sustainable soil and crop management.
5. name relevant ecological processes in agriculture.
6. review a farmer’s business case.
7. explain how current legislation hampers the transition to sustainable farming systems.
8. explain why farmland birds currently are in decline and how sustainable land use could preserve farmland birds.
9. summarize and assess relevant scientific papers.
10. develop a plan for sustainable management of a farm in a certain area.
Omschrijving In three weeks students are introduced in the field of agro-ecology. They will learn about current intensive farming systems and their impact on the environment and ecosystems, and about more sustainable farming practises based on ecological principles. Although we also teach theory, the course has a strong applied component. Students will be acquainted with the scientific literature on agro-ecology and sustainable farming. This course will form a sound basis for any ecologist studying agriculture related issues, such as for example the conservation of farmland birds.

The course consists of a mixture of lectures, field excursions and reading/presentation assignments. The first two weeks of the course mostly consists of classroom lectures. Main aspects of agro-ecology will be introduced by experts in the field. Also field excursions are made to get hands-on experience with different farming systems. In the third week the students are challenged to apply acquired knowledge by designing a sustainable farming system for a specific area or landscape. This assignment includes consulting stakeholders and a literature search.

The classroom lectures will cover main aspects of agro-ecology, including an introduction to (sustainable) agriculture, ecological processes in agriculture (sustainable soil management, sustainable crop management), economy of (sustainable) farming systems, transition to sustainable farming systems, nature conservation in farmland systems, and sustainable farming in an international context. Each topic will be concluded by a literature discussion on an accompanying scientific paper, as chaired by one of the students.

The course concludes with presentations on the student’s sustainable farming plans.
Uren per week
Onderwijsvorm Hoorcollege (LC), Opdracht (ASM), Werkcollege (T)
(Lectures and excursions in the first two weeks are mandatory. Students missing them will get extra reading assignments.)
Toetsvorm Opdracht (AST), Presentatie (P), Verslag (R)
(The final grade is based on the written report on the sustainable farming system design (50%) the final presentation (30%) and the assignment (20%).)
Vaksoort master
Coördinator dr. ir. R.H.G. Klaassen
Docent(en) Guest lecturer ,dr. ir. R.H.G. Klaassen
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Agroecology – the ecology of Sustainable food Systems. CRC press. (selection of chapters) Gliessman SR
Farming and Birds. William Collins. (selection of chapters) Newton I
Entreevoorwaarden The course unit assumes prior knowledge acquired from Ecological Interactions, Evolutionary Ecology and Animal Ecology Research or comparable courses at other universities, equivalent to the RUG BSc degree programme.
Opmerkingen
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
MSc Biology: Research  (Compulsory master courses) - semester I b keuze
MSc Biology: Science, Business and Policy  (Compulsory master courses) - semester I b keuze
MSc Courses for Exchange Students: Biology - semester I b verplicht
MSc Ecology and Evolution: Ecology and Conservation  (Electives/optional modules) - semester I b keuze
MSc Ecology and Evolution: Evolutionary Biology  (Electives/optional modules) - semester I b keuze