Methods for ecosystem analysis

A.Y. 2017/2018
Lesson for
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course provides knowledge and skills for collecting and analyzing environmental data (geology, geomorphology, flora and vegetation, fauna) aimed to environmental analysis and thematic cartography. The course also aims to teach how to answer to specific professional requests for environmental studies from parks, natural reserves and/or public administrations etc.
Organization and performing of an environmental study from data collection to final technical report.

Course structure and Syllabus

Active edition
Practicals with elements of theory: 36 hours
Lessons: 72 hours
Through this course the students will acquire the ability of collecting and processing environmental data (i.e.: geological, geomorphological, botanical, zoological and ecological information). They will be trained to be able to compile thematic maps and to develop databases. The course is also aimed at making the students able to answer to specific requests as those from public companies, parks, mountain communities, etc...

· Collecting data describing the a-biological component of the environment;
· Processing land data to produce thematic maps to be used for land protection and promotion;
· Collecting maps, pictures and historic data to evaluate, promote and use sites of geomorphological interest and to study landscape evolution;
· Finding and analysing geological, geomorphological and geopedological data by field survey and by cartographic analysis, photo-interpretation and remote sensing.
· Producing thematic maps (thematic and applied): geomorphological heritage maps, geomorphological risk/hazard maps, soil maps.
· Land evaluation and its implications for land management.
· Geopedology of ecosystems.
Geomorphological, geoarchaeological and paleontological risk.
· Finding, managing and processing meteorological data; compiling meteo-data base including historical and present data as a tool for planning and managing the territory.

· Collecting data describing the biological component of the enviroment, data processing to produce thematic maps for environmental management:
· Bioclimate: from wheather data to bioclimatic indices; climatic thresholds and potential vegetation.
· Finding of botanical data from existing databases. Sampling and analysis of floristic and vegetation data.
· Vegetation and vegetation series cartography. Floristic and historical cartography.
Indices of botanical quality and of vegetation naturality.
· Indices of landscape quality for environmental management; plant bioindicators
Management of protected areas.

· Mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects as sentinels of environmental quality.
· Database searching for ornithological and herpethological data and local atlases.
· Animal reintroductions: conservation and management issues.
· Water quality and potential fish distribution.
· Botanical and zoological data in forensic sciences.

The course will provide students with operational skills on georeferencing and mapping of environmental data, and will include multidisciplinary field and laboratory activities (e.g. field data collection and laboratory analyses).
Lesson period
Lesson period
Assessment methods
Assessment result
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi
Monday-Friday on appointment
2 floor building C Department of Biosciences