cod. 1010485

Academic year 2024/25
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Ecologia (BIO/07)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
24 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course is offered to students of the master’s degree and it aims to transfer cultural and practical tools for the design of programs/actions based on the Nature-based Solutions. At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze the ecological potential of Nature-based Solutions to reduce the effects of climate change and disaster risks, and to identify possible solutions for different geographical and climatic macro-areas critically.

Five main training objectives are proposed: 1) clarify the meaning of Nature-based Solutions; 2) recall the ecological peculiarities of the target ecosystems; 3) understand their functional mechanisms/dynamics/pressures; 4) explore a set of case studies (external experts); 5) summarize concepts and experiences, prepare dissemination materials and carry out events.


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Course unit content

Starting from an understanding of the specificities of urban ecosystems, agroecosystems and nature-based solutions, it will be possible to grasp the theoretical and practical foundations of the main intervention options for strengthening and incentivizing ecosystem services and functions - including through interlocution with experts involved in urban and cultivated ecosystem redevelopment and regeneration plans (AdBPO, reclamatin consortia, metropolitan areas). Particular attention will be paid to understanding the functional complexity of urban settings, freshwater ecosystems and elements of discontinuity in agricultural systems. Scientific references of Nature-based Solutions will be provided to students. The student should have as reference the basis of functioning of urban and agricultural ecosystems and the multiple relationships between environment and organisms. The course has a significant practical/experimental character, and is organized into 3 modules, each of 5 hours, supplemented by laboratory activities, aimed at retrieval of materials to be analyzed, review and discussion on the practical activities carried out, and preparation of dissemination materials, to be used in dissemination events aimed at schools and general public (9 hours; 4 module).
- module 1: Nature-based solution & urban contexts;
- module 2: Nature-based solution & agricultural contexts;
- module 3: Role of nature-based solutions in practical mitigation actions and preparation of nature-based solution action plans;
- module 4: Re-elaboration of concepts - synthesis of experiences - dissemination pathways.

Full programme

Module 0: Course introduction and brief introduction to Nature-based Solutions, based on the EEA 2021 reference document “Nature-based solutions in Europe” the different types of NbS will be explored in depth, including general and approach-specific types.
Module 1: Introduction to the topic of urban ecosystems and the application of NbS in such contexts. In-depth study of case studies, and critical evaluation of NbS opportunities for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Module 2: Introduction to the topic of agroecosystems and the application of NbS in such contexts. In-depth study of case studies, and critical evaluation of NbS opportunities for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Module 3: In-depth study of a local case study (e.g., water resource availability, with special reference to so-called NWRS = Natural Water Retention Measures). Themes/cases to be explored in depth will be agreed with the class.
Module 4: Final module of synthesis and critical analysis of the activities carried out during the previous modules, preparation of information materials and dissemination events (possibility of holding a series of meetings at secondary schools).


Lecture notes are available for students for each module, as well as the reference handbooks: EEA 2001 “Nature-based solutions in Europe” and Nature‐based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas. The material will be provided by the teacher in electronic format in preparation and during the performance of modules and the possible practical activities.

Teaching methods

The teaching organization consists of lectures both finalized to introduce theory and practical activities, having as their object the general presentation of the course, the performance of the modules and a final review lesson. The laboratory activities are aimed at the characterization of case studies and the development of informational materials-as well as the holding of dissemination events.

Assessment methods and criteria

Attendance at lessons and practical activities is a prerequisite for admission to the final exam as the level of participation in the activities is assessed by the teacher. A maximum of 25% absences (approx. 1 module) is permitted, only for serious reasons to be justified in an adequate manner by students. Evaluation of participation in the activities contributes 30% of the final grade. At the end of the course, the student will be required to prepare a variety of informational materials (e.g., presentations, flayers, posters) on some of the topics covered in the course - and to co-organize dissemination events. The mark of the presentation and the discussion with the teacher contributes to 70% of the final mark. The final mark is thirty; the minimum is 18, the maximum 30, the possible praise is assigned only to the students who during the course have actively participated in the workshops and practical activities.

Other information

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