Ecological Economics


-       Understand the vision, approach and central concepts of ecological economics

-       Understand the differences to the approach of environmental economics and integrate it withother approaches

-       Understand the fundamentals and implications of different sustainability paradigms

-       Interpret and evaluate indicators and pathways for economic growth and sustainability

-       Explore the concept of ecosystem services, methodologies for their evaluation and its potentialfor the definition and implementation of public policies

-       Develop processes of evaluation and sustainable management of natural resources

-       Understand the relationship between environment, international trade and competitiveness

-       Consolidate and strengthen capacities for the definition and implementation of environmentalpolicy instruments

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rui Jorge Fernandes Ferreira Santos


Weekly - 4

Total - 28

Teaching language



Available soon


Costanza, R., Hart, M., Posner, S., Talberth, J., 2009, Beyond GDP: the need for new measures of progress, Pardee papers, N.º4, Boston University, Massachusetts, USA.

Daly, H, Farley, J., 2011, Ecological Economics – Principles and Applications, Island Press, Washington.

Healy, H., Martinez-Alier, J., Temper, L., Walter, M. and Gerber J.F. (eds), 2013, Ecological Economics from the Ground Up, Earthscan, London.

Spash, C.L. (editor), 2017, Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics: Nature and Society, Abingdon, Routledge

Victor, P. (ed.), 2013, The costs of economic growth. The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics series, Edward Elgar Publishing

Articles in the Journals:

Ecological Economics

Land Use Policy

Journal of Cleaner Production


Ecosystem Services

Environmental Policy and Governance

Teaching method

The teaching methods are adjusted to the format of theoretical-practical classes adopted in the course. Thetheoretical framework, where the fundamental principles and concepts are introduced, is articulated with thediscussion of cases of practical and real studies. Students '''''''' participation in the discussion of themes, as well asresearch and autonomous study is encouraged.

Evaluation method

The evaluation in the Ecological Economics course is carried out through the following elements:
1. Development of a group work on a topic to be agreed with the teachers, which includes at least one of the chapters of the program. It may include other topics covered in the course classes and/or other topics relevant to ecological economics chosen by students. Where appropriate, application to an area of ​​the territory (e.g. municipality, region, protected area/community/organization) should be sought. Each group will prepare a report and make a final presentation of the work. The work must be delivered by December 23, 2021 (including a brief oral presentation in the early January class). A proposal for a theme and methodological approach must be submitted for validation by the professors by October 11th. Groups of 3 students must be formed. This work contributes 40% to the final classification.
2. Three Essays, carried out individually and at a distance. A statement will be distributed and the submission of the response will be requested by a date and time to be agreed (e.g., within 24 hours after the statement is made available). The originality and technical quality of the approach to the proposed problem will be particularly valued. These assessment elements contribute 60% to the final classification. The Tests will be carried out on the following dates:
◦ Essay 1, November 15 (trial date) (25%): Sustainability Sciences - historical evolution and concepts + sustainability paths; Sustainability Assessment – ​​Biophysical Perspective; Sustainability Assessment – ​​Economic perspective, composite indicators and sustainability dashboards.
◦ Essay 2, December 13 (trial date) (25%) : Natural Capital and ES - concepts and mapping; Natural Capital and ES Assessment – ​​CBA and non-monetary methods
◦ Essay 3, January 5 (10%): Natural Resource Management

Subject matter

Vision of ecological economics: scale, efficiency and equity

Sustainability science – historical evolution and concepts; Sustainability pathways - Green Growth, Steady-State Economy andDegrowth

Sustainability assessment. Economic-based indicators;composite indicators and dashboards; biophysical perspective

Evaluation of natural capital and ecosystem services (ES) - concepts and mapping of ES; cost-benefit assessment; non-monetary assessment;multicriteria evaluation

Natural resource management – Fish Banks game, models. Challenges in the governance of commonresources – Elinor Ostrom''''''''s approach

Environmental policy - integrating ecological economics, environmental economics and sustainable governance


Programs where the course is taught: