Various ecosystems on the globe are exhibiting deteriorating trends under multiple environmental stresses arising from global stresses such as global warming combined with local environmental loads due to various human activities. There is thus an urgent need to have effective strategies to properly conserve and restore such deteriorating ecosystems. To this end, the basic mechanism for maintaining ecosystems should first be recognized, and then the current multiple environmental stresses and ecosystem response dynamics under these stresses should be quantified. It is also necessary to recognize that human community systems have two aspects; a negative aspect as drivers causing various environmental loads and a positive aspect as the main agent for controlling and mitigating the loads. By elucidating the interactive processes between human community systems and ecosystems, it can be discussed how to realize a resilient and sustainable system within a socio-ecological system (SES) framework.
In this course, key concepts and ideas to achieve effective ecosystem conservation based on the aspects mentioned above will be taught with an emphasis on coastal ecosystems. Through examples, it will be demonstrated that ecosystem environments are generally open systems and therefore individual and isolated approaches for ecosystem conservation are usually not effective. Instead, an integrated, comprehensive and extensive approach is needed. Students will understand the fundamental structure of the problems from these viewpoints and suggest solutions, through lectures and group discussions on a theme, which is to be selected by each group in relation to the lectures.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Understand deteriorating trends of coastal ecosystems under combined global and local environmental stresses, together with their causal relationships.
2) Understand key points for making effective conservation policy on coastal ecosystems and the important factors in realizing a resilient and sustainable system within a socio-ecological system (SES) framework.
3) Understand the limited effectiveness of individual and isolated approaches to ecosystem conservation and the need for an integrated, comprehensive and extensive approach, through reviewing some examples.
Ecosystem conservation, globally changing environmental conditions, local anthropogenic environmental stresses，socio-ecological system，resilient and sustainable system，integrated - comprehensive - extensive approach
|✔ Specialist skills||Intercultural skills||Communication skills||✔ Critical thinking skills||✔ Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
Following lectures provided in the first to 12th classes, students will be split into several groups for group discussion and making presentations in the 13th to 15th classes. Each group will decide a theme relating to lectures and search literature for discussion.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||Introduction, Basic characteristics of ecological environmental systems, Overview of coastal ecosystems at risk||Overview basic characteristics of ecological environmental systems and their declining trends under combined global and local environmental threats, with some examples on coastal ecosystems|
|Class 2||Basic theory of coastal ecosystems (part 1): primary production and material cycle in coastal ecosystems||Understand basic characteristics of coastal ecosystems in terms of primary production and material cycle|
|Class 3||Basic theory of coastal ecosystems (part 2): comparison with terrestrial ecosystems and significance of biodiversity||Understand further the basic characteristics of coastal ecosystems in comparison with terrestrial ecosystems and the importance of biodiversity|
|Class 4||Ecological environmental problems in semi-enclosed bays||Understand environmental problems in semi-enclosed bays such as Tokyo Bay and the Ariake Sea|
|Class 5||Basic characteristics and environmental issues of seagrass beds and mangroves||Understand basic characteristics and environmental issues and their causes on tidal flats, seagrass & seaweed beds and mangroves|
|Class 6||Basic characteristics and environmental issues of coral reef ecosystems (part 1)||Understand basic characteristics and environmental issues of coral reef ecosystems and their causes|
|Class 7||Basic characteristics and environmental issues of coral reef ecosystems (part 2)||Understand issues in establishing an effective strategy on coral reef ecosystem conservation under combined global and local environmental stresses through some examples|
|Class 8||Environmental issues on coastal ecosystems in Asia-Pacific region||Understand status and declining trends of coastal ecosystems in the Coral Triangle and its surrounding areas, which have high bio-diversity and primary productivity|
|Class 9||Examples of conservation and restoration efforts on coastal ecosystems in Japan||Understand some examples of conservation and restoration efforts on coastal ecosystems in Japan, mainly through the ecosystem restoration project on Sekisei Lagoon, the largest coral reef area in Japan|
|Class 10||Basic framework toward coastal ecosystem conservation and restoration (part 1)||Understand the basic principles for coastal ecosystem conservation and restoration, and importance of a comprehensive assessment of multiple environmental stresses，ecological networks and resilience enhancement by establishing marine protected areas, etc.|
|Class 11||Basic framework toward coastal ecosystem conservation and restoration (part 2)||Understand the limited applicability of restoration techniques, importance of adaptive management and related environmental monitoring, importance of public awareness enhancement and education, capacity development, etc.|
|Class 12||Ecosystem conservation strategy in a socio-ecological system (SES) framework||Understand the importance of an SES framework for elucidating the basic structures of ecosystem conservation and issues in realizing a resilient and sustainable system|
|Class 13||Group discussion (1)||Decide on a theme for group discussion and conduct group discussion with a literature survey|
|Class 14||Group discussion (2)||Conduct a literature survey, group discussion and preparation for group presentation|
|Class 15||Group presentation||Make a group presentation on the theme based on the results of discussion|
The presentation material for each lecture will be uploaded onto OCW-i before the lecture.
Assessment will be made on the group presentation and associated term paper.
Kazuo Nadaoka: nadaoka.k.aa[at]m.titech.ac.jp (03-5734-2589)
Students are encouraged to make an appointment via e-mail.