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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2060 Living within limits: natural resource management for sustainable development

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Prof Jon Lovett

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG2661Social Ecological Systems

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides a broad outline of what is meant by resources and how humans have used and abused them. Over the course of the year students will consider how resources, once seen as an inexhaustible supply to be mined, are increasingly treated as constrained and limited. It will examine issues of equity both in the current world and intergenerational. Lectures will familiarise students with key concepts and topics; while seminars will provide additional supporting material.


On completion of the module, students should have acquired:

i) an understanding of both scientific and policy principles in relation to natural resources (including ecosystem services) and their management;
ii) an appreciation of the issues around supply and demand of natural resource over the long term, approaches to resource management in different contexts, application of alternative management instruments, and examples of sustainable resource management initiatives;
iii) an understanding of the key debates in resource management, such as the 'limits to growth' versus 'technofix';
iv) an ability to explore the alignment of different interest groups to certain interpretations of scientific evidence and how this influences policy making and implementation in private, public and third sector activities;
v) an understanding of concepts that connect human and physical geography and the practical application of integrated approaches to natural resource management;
vi) skills in critical appraisal, decision-making and effective action in a resource-constrained world.

Learning outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
The essential connections between physical and natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities
The diversity of global environments and the operation of, and inter-relationships between physical and biological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales
Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities
Spatial patterns and relationships in human phenomena at a variety of scales
The geography of places and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes, and the influence of places on these processes
The geographies of difference and inequality
Contemporary debates about globalization and global interconnections
The role of changes in technology, markets and the operation of state interventions in influencing spatial patterns of economic activity
The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts

Skills outcomes
Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments
Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
Practical/professional skills
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries
Key skills
Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organise work effectively


Fundamentals of natural resources
The nature of resources; population, resource and pollution trends; impacts and implication of resource exploitation; issues, threats and challenges.

Natural resource appraisal and management
The basis, outcomes and implications of appraisal and management approaches. Limits to growth, sustainable development and its critiques, assessing sustainability, economic approaches and their alternatives, ecological modernisation, resource management approaches and instruments.

Policy making.
Impact appraisal; Governance and decision making in varied institutional contexts (e.g. national, international, corporate); stakeholder conflict and analysis; participation and communication, values and ethics.

The module will exemplify concepts, issues and approaches with reference to case studies with varied emphasis (e.g. a focus on a natural resource, a human system, developed and developing contexts).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours45.00
Private study hours136.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

55 hours’ preparation of one 2500 word essay. Preparation will also be required for the seminars totaling 20 hours. There will also be two online MCQs – one each semester that will require the students to prepare, these are formative exercises and five hours each have been allowed. The remaining 30 hours is for reading and exam preparation. The 45 hours of online learning also include reading and exam preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A 2500 word essay: topic given out in Semester 1 – to be submitted in week 12.
The two online MCQs will allow the students to undertake formative exercises at their own pace and obtain feedback without being formally assessed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/09/2019


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