First Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Landscape Ecology

ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) just published the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Landscape Ecology.

Is stems from a collaborative effort of leading landscape ecologists from around the world. Each of them will present a case study where research is needed to improve both our understanding of land use systems and to guide land managers in their decisions.

In the course participants learn to work at the boundaries of disciplines such as geography and ecology, economy and sociology. Participants will learn the modern tools of Landscape Ecology enabling them to address fundamental research questions. It will provide valuable practical advice in solving existing real landscape issues.

Join now. MOOC started on September 10, 2018.

Course Syllabus
Skip Syllabus Description
Unit 1 Landscape Ecology Foundations
This unit introduces you to the definitions and important concepts of Landscape Ecology. It also explores the forces that shape our landscapes.
1.1 Introduction to Landscape Ecology
1.2 Drivers of Landscape Patterns

Unit 2 Land System Modelling
This unit focuses on quantitative assessments and the modelling of landscapes, mostly from a natural science perspective.
2.1 Theory: Landscape Modelling
2.2 Case Study: Oil Exploration and Rare Plant Conservation
2.3 Theory: Landscape Metrics
2.4 Case Study: The Impacts of Transport Infrastructure in Iran on Wildlife Habitat
2.5 Theory: Remote Sensing
2.6 Case Study: Urbanisation in the Maldives
2.7 Case Study: Coral Bleaching in the Maldives (optional)

Unit 3 Landscape and Society
This unit focuses on the socio-economic aspects of landscape science and the interface between people and the environment.
3.1 Theory: Landscape Perception
3.2 Case study: Renewable Energy and Landscape Conflicts
3.3 Theory: Ecosystem Services and Valuation
3.4 Case study: Land Ethics
3.5 Theory: Urban Ecology
3.6 Case study: Urban Ecology in Bangalore


  • Felix Kienast, Lead Instructor & Adjunct Professor for Landscape Ecology ETHZ / WSL ETH Zurich & WSL
  • Gregor Martius, Course Designer and Coordinator ETH Zurich & WSL
  • Janet Silbernagel, Prof. University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Sima Fakheran, Prof. Isfahan University of Technology
  • Loïc Pellissier, Prof. ETH Zurich & WSL
  • Harini Nagendra, Prof. Azim Premji University
  • Josef Senn, Lecturer Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Shekoufeh Nematollahi, PhD Candidate Isfahan University of Technology
  • Selina Gosteli, Course Assistant ETH Zurich
  • Thomas C. Edwards,Prof. USGS Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit & Utah State University