School of Environment, Resources and Development, (SERD)

ED76.13 : Natural Resources Degradation and Conservation  3(3-0)

Degradation of natural resources has undermined the supporting capacity of the ecosystem with eventual consequences on the issues like food security, poverty alleviation, climate change and biodiversity loss. This is especially important in developing countries including those in Asia. The objective of the course is to introduce the major types of natural resources degradation in Asia, techniques and tools to monitor them, and to design appropriate conservation practices.

Catalog Description:
The students on completion of this courses will be able to:
      Discuss major type of natural resources degradation in Asia
      Explain types and impacts on vegetation, animals, water and soil due to human activities
      Distinguish different type of degradation and explain the process of soil erosion
      Determine and apply appropriate tools needed for monitoring different types of degradation.


Course Outline:
I.        Natural resources degradation
1.    Resource domain
2.    Regional overview of degradation
3.   Concept of Hazard, Risk, Vulnerability

II.       Human impacts on Natural Resources (types, causes and impacts)
1.     Vegetation degradation
2.     Animals
3.     Water
4.     Soil

III.      Soil erosion
1.     Domain
2.     Mechanics
3.     Types

IV.      Tools for natural resource degradation assessment and monitoring
1.    GIS
2.    Remote sensing
3.    Global Positioning system

V.       Degradation Assessment Method
1.     Field techniques
2.     Empirical models
3.     Process-based models

VI.      Conservation concepts and measures
1.    Watershed management
2.    Land use planning concept
3.    Soil and water conservation measures

Laboratory Sessions:



No designated textbook, but class notes will be provided.

1.     Goudie, A. 2013. The Human Impact on the Natural Environment, Seventh edition,The MIT Press, Cambridge.
2.     Gregersen, H.M., P.F. Ffolliott, and K.N. Brooks, 2007. Integrated Watershed Management: Connecting People to Their Land and Water. CABI International, Oxfordshire.
3.     Hellin, J. 2006. Better Land Husbandry: From Soil Conservation to Holistic Land Management, Science Publishers, New Hampshire.
4.     Roder, A. and J. Hill, 2009. Recent Advances in Remote Sensing and Geoinformation processing for land degradation assessment, CRC Press, London.
5.     Stocking, M.A. and N. Murnaghan, 2001. Handbook for the Field Assessment of Land Degradation. Earthscan Publications Ltd., London.
1.      Natural Resources Forum [Wiley]
2.      Land Degradation and Development [Wiley]
3.      International Journal of Remote Sensing [Taylor & Francis]
4.      Ecological Economics [Elsevier]
5.      International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology [Taylor & Francis]

Others: Relevant and selected articles will be distributed.
Teaching Method:
Lectures; Interactive classroom discussions; Individual student assignments on degradation issues; Group discussions; Individual student presentations.
Grading System:
Both the midsem and final exam are closed book exams, carrying 30 and 40% weights respectively. Two assignments to be done by individual student carry 10 and 20% weights respectively.

Grade “A” will be awarded if a student can demonstrate thorough knowledge and mastery of concepts and techniques and understanding of subject matter with high degree of skill to relate them with real world examples. Grade “B” will be awarded if a student can demonstrate good knowledge and mastery of concepts and understanding of subject matter with good skill of relating them with real work cases. Grade “C” will be given if a student can demonstrate some knowledge of the concepts and understanding but lacks skill of relating them with real world cases. Grade “D” will be given if a student have poor understanding of concepts and techniques with no or little skill to relate with real world cases. Grade “F” will be given if student demonstrates very poor and limited knowledge and understanding of concepts and lacks the skill to relate with real world cases.