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CODE 98338
CREDITS 6 credits during the 2nd year of 10723 MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY (LM-75) GENOVA
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES This unit is a module of:



The aim of the teaching course is to provide students with the bases for environmental assessment and accounting, as well as being informed about the latest environmental directives and the progress of European research. In particular, the state of the art of the tools and methods for evaluating and monitoring changes in the value of ecosystem services will be described and students will be trained on accounting rules, values ​​and relationships to internalize the value of ecosystem services. These competences will be described accordingly with the latest EU biodiversity and environmental management initiatives and with the European Commission's environmental strategy.


The goal of the course is the knowledge and the comprehension of the methodological and technical approach to evaluate and account for the contribution from ecosystem services to the production of income and welfare, on a territorial scale.

Flows of benefits are due to the management and conservation actions carried out by organizations and Institutions at the various levels. Similarly, inadequate management policies or the repercussions of unregulated economic activities give rise to a loss of ecosystem services which determines an economic cost for single beneficiaries and for the society as a whole.

Expected learning outcomes are:

Knowledge and understanding. Students will acquire knowledge and effective capacity for theoretical and applied understanding of the scientific basis and the valuation mechanisms to incorporate natural capital into economic, political and financial decisions on the use of resources and on the environment.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. Students must be able to understand and evaluate, with critical and independent judgment, the role of environmental policy in driving markets and economic activities towards the goal of sustainability. In particular they should be able to: interpreting the ongoing debate between the valorization and "commodification" of ecosystem services; assess and reporting of non-use values (or values of use not subject to exchange, i.e. "intangibles" such as support for life itself) and values of use; analyze the introduction of market-based mechanisms to capture the ecosystem's role in providing ecosystem services that are evaluated as assets on some existing or potential markets (externalities and corrective role of the market); identify strategic priorities in managing ecosystem assets and in related governance measures.

Making judgments. Students must be able to use autonomously both the theoretical and the technical skills in different application contexts. At the end of the course the students will achieve independent and critical expertise to: interpret the social values of ecosystem services; linking the functioning of ecosystems to human well-being in different decision-making contexts (individuals, communities, societies and governments); to address the choice between controversial public policy alternatives on governance priorities

Communication skills. Students must acquire the technical language of the discipline to communicate clearly and unambiguously with specialist and non-specialist interlocutors: companies and institutions that manage environmental and economic elements in formulating their own decision policies.

Learning skills. Students must develop adequate learning skills to continue to deepen independently the main topics of the discipline, especially in the working contexts in which they will operate. The course will offer students different methods for assessing environmental costs and benefits, with a rigorous approach.


The teaching program includes lectures, seminars, case analysis, home and classroom exercises, and group work.

Please refer to the AulaWeb teaching platform for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


The teaching course focuses on the discussion of the scientific basis, theoretical framework,  and valuation approaches for incorporating natural capital into economic, political, and financial decisions on the use of resources and the environment. On this line, in particular, the economic enhancement of ecosystem services is seen as the means to increase environmental conservation and promote the well-being of human societies. In fact, ecosystem services highlight the trade-offs associated with the various management alternatives.

Topics covered include:

  • Reasons and limits for an economic and monetary evaluation of the environment and ecosystem services
  • Main valuation techniques for off-market assets
  • Extension to the environment of the economic evaluation techniques of social costs and benefits
  • Economic analysis of choices and collective decision-making processes (participatory environmental assessment and multi-criteria analysis techniques; non-market analysis techniques and deliberative democracy aimed at defining an operational criterion of environmental sustainability)
  • Biodiversity as the basis of the wealth of nations
  • The European and national strategy for biodiversity within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approved in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly as part of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Economic accounting and the National Accounting System
  • Different approaches to green accounting, environmental accounting and ecosystem services accounting (SNA; SEEA-EA)


Scientific papers, slides and  lecture notes will be available on "Aulaweb" at the beginning of the course.

All students are recommended to periodically consult the page of this course on the AulaWeb e-learning portal (accessible from the University website or at: All information and files for this teaching are published exclusively on this site.


Exam Board



PAOLO POVERO (President Substitute)



1st Semester in the period 13 September - 10 December 2021



The exam is a written test with open questions and numerical exercises. Each answer has a score up to a maximum of 5/30 or 10/30, depending on the type. The test is passed with a minimum of 18/30.

There are no limits on the number of exams' sessions the student can apply to.

Any changes due to possible health emergency restrictions will be promptly communicated by the teacher through the Aulaweb platform.


For the assessment of the learning outcomes the written exam tests the specific knowledge and the application skill through open questions in which autonomous assessment and critical judgment are required on proposals of Economics and Environmental Policy in the agenda of policy makers and in the current economic debate.

Evaluation criteria will consider: exposure quality; ability to formalize the exposure also in technical-analytical terms; the use of a suitable technical language; autonomy of thought and the capacity for critical judgment.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
10/01/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
24/01/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
07/02/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
01/06/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
15/06/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
29/06/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
09/09/2022 10:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale