Ecosytem Services Course
Utilizing the campus as a living lab, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Masters students participating in a seminar entitled “Emerging Markets for Ecosystem Services: Options for Yale’s Ecosystem Services Plan” served as consultants addressing Yale’s Strategic Plan goal to develop an Ecosystem Services Plan. Over the course of the semester students were asked to link theory to practice by analyzing opportunities for Yale to manage its lands in a way that its practices would benefit from providing ecosystem services. Students were required to integrate knowledge on biophysical/scientific, business/economic and policy/standards issues in the resulting recommendations.
Throughout the semester students worked with the Yale Office of Sustainability, Facilities and Operations, and other University offices to understand and articulate the goals of the Sustainability Strategic Plan. By conducting literature reviews, gathering information from on-campus sources, interviewing and visiting other organizations engaged in similar activities student groups developed the below reports on how Yale University could best manage its campus using an ecosystem services lens.
Each report addressed the following and made a series of site specific recommendation:
Explain the components of an ecosystems services framework, with particular focus on the possible relationships to Yale
Describe what “healthy” ecosystem services ratios/relationships might look like based on the goals being pursued by Yale.
Make recommendations on options for shifting from current to more desirable, possible future states.
Each report was well received by Yale Facilities & Operations staff and movement toward implementing several of the recommendations is currently in progress.