Ecosystem Services


Instructor: Lisa Dokken

Fulfills requirement: Case Study (CS) OR Tools (T)
Day: Wednesday
Dates: April 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8 (Module 3, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM
Room location: TBD
Course number: ENVB 0448 N

Course Description

Have you ever considered that the food you eat is brought to you by soil that has taken millions of years to build, or that the water you drink has been purified by the wetlands next door?  Or how the trees in your neighborhood filter the air we breathe? Natural ecosystems perform fundamental life-support services upon which human civilization depends. Unless human activities are carefully planned and managed, valuable ecosystems will continue to be impaired or destroyed.

Although substantial understanding of many ecosystem services and the scientific principles underlying them already exists, there is still much to learn.  What is the interconnection and interdependence of the many plant and animal communities within ecosystems? The tradeoffs among different services within an ecosystem, the role of biodiversity in maintaining services, and the effects of long-term and short-term disturbances are just some of the questions to be explored. The answers to such questions will provide information critical to the development of management strategies that will protect ecosystems and help maintain the provisions of the services upon which we depend. The choices we make today in how we use land and water resources will have enormous consequences on the future stability of earth’s ecosystems and the services they provide.

About the Instructor

Lisa Dokken is a senior sustainability professional with broad experience in developing and managing innovative sustainable development programming across the globe, including over a decade working for the UN Development Programme implementing sustainable development programming in over 30 countries. Lisa lived and consulted in Asia and both North and South America for over 15 years in the built environment, conservation, policy analysis, strategy planning, and advocacy. Lisa holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University and was one of the first to receive an MS in Biomimicry from Arizona State University in 2015.