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Sustainable Resource Management




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


The goal of this course is to learn how to approach major issues regarding the societal metabolism. The subjects covered include environmental issues like biodiversity management and supply and demand of materials, food and energy. Also subjects like economic dynamics, and the effect of institutional development will be addressed. The focus is on how to effectively change the metabolism, implementing strategies in specific contexts. The framework for transdisciplinary analysis is applied to each of the case subjects, reckoning with normatic principles and with all relevant empirical mechanisms.

Course Objectives

  • Basic R programming skills.

  • Basic knowlegde of dynamic models and game theory.

  • Knowledge of the major resources that humans need and exploit.

  • Understanding the dynamics of these resources.

  • Understanding the role of human politics and economics in these dynamics.

Mode of Instruction

Students are required to prepare for the first session of each week with selfstudy of the literature and online sources, on the basis of guidelines, consisting of lists of questions and concepts. In general, the first session of each week will consist of a short introductory lecture, followed by class discussions of student results and concept maps. On the basis of these discussions, we will formulate questions for further study during the week. The second session will consist of students presentations concerning the studied questions, and further discussion.


Assessment: Weekly presentations and discussions
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7 (Fridays at 17:00)

Assessment: Portfolio of results of weekly assignments, and journal
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Week 8 (Monday at 17:00)

Assessment: Written exam
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Week 8 (Friday at 17:00)


We will use material from the following online sources:


Further readings will be made available through Blackboard or in hard copy during the course.

Contact Information


Weekly Overview

Week1: Our planet: Earth’s history, atmosphere, and oceans
Week 2: Ecology and human populations: A closer look at ecosystem dynamics and our role in this
Week 3: Key resources – Food and water
Week 4: Key resources: Biodoversity and Energy
Week 5: Environmental quality: How do we keep our environment healthy for us and other species?
Week 6: Interactions between socio-economic and ecosystem dynamics
Week 7: Models of human-resource interactions: How do humans interact when exploiting joined resources? How do institutions affect this?
Week 8: exam

Preparation for first session

Go to http://cran.r-project.org/
Install R on your laptop according to the instructions given there

On that same website, go to Documentation and
Download and study ‘R for beginners’ (under: contributed)
Download and glance through the manual ‘An introduction to R’ (under: manuals)

Got to http://www.rstudio.org/
Install Rstudio on your laptop according to the instructions given there and look through the documentation on how to use it.