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Evaluation of Species and Ecosystems

Code: 100842 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500251 Environmental Biology OB 3 1


Angela Ribas Artola

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Mariona Ferrandiz Rovira
Daniel Villero Pi


There are no official pre-requisites. 

Objectives and Contextualisation

This subject is an introduction to the evaluation of the effects of human actions on the natural environment, considering this evaluation in its dual aspect of scientific activity and normative environmental evaluation of plans, programs and projects. Its general objectives are to train students in the biological aspects of environmental assessments, concepts and methods applicable to ecological restorations. It also aims to introduce the analysis and theconduct of regulated environmental assessments. The specific objectives are as follows:

(1) To know the theoretical principles and practical aspects of ecological restorations.

(2) Understand methods for detecting effects of human actions on the natural environment.

(3) To know the contents of the environmental assessments, the methods available to them in their biological aspects (species, habitats and ecosystems), and the applicable legislation.

(4) To recognice environmental impacts and introduce students to procedures that assist in decision making that minimize the environmental impact

(5) To be aware of the main mitigating measures of impacts.


  • Apply ICT resources pertaining to this field of study.
  • Carry out services and processes related to environmental biology.
  • Describe, analyse and assess the natural environment.
  • Direct, draft and execute projects in environmental biology.
  • Focus on quality.
  • Introduce changes in the methods and processes of the field of knowledge to provide innovative responses to the needs and demands of society.
  • Make decisions.
  • Participate in environmental impact assessments regarding the biological medium.
  • Perform biological diagnoses.
  • Solve problems.
  • Take account of social, economic and environmental impacts when operating within one's own area of knowledge.
  • Take sex- or gender-based inequalities into consideration when operating within one's own area of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Actuar en l'àmbit de coneixement propi avaluant les desigualtats per raó de sexe/gènere.
  2. Apply ICT resources pertaining to this field of study.
  3. Correctly process information on biological aspects to support environmental impact studies and environmental assessments.
  4. Describe and assess the biotic components affected by a project.
  5. Establish the conceptual content and the methodological requirements for solving a specific environmental problem.
  6. Focus on quality.
  7. Identify effects of human interventions on species and their habitats.
  8. Introduce changes in the methods and processes of the field of knowledge to provide innovative responses to the needs and demands of society.
  9. Make decisions.
  10. Participate in the monitoring of environmental surveillance programmes.
  11. Solve problems.
  12. Take account of social, economic and environmental impacts when operating within one's own area of knowledge.


Valoració d’espècies i ecosistemes: General contents of the subject 2019-2020

0. Introduction to Valoració d'espècies i ecosistemes. Justification of the program and the proposed activities. Organization and structure of the program. Relationships with other subjects of the degree. Activities and their evaluation. Bibliography.


A. Environmental assessment as a normative instrument.

1. Basics environmental assessment. Environmental evaluation of plans and programs: strategic environmental assessment. Environmental assessment of projects: environmental impact assessment (EIA): stages of the process. The environmental impact study (EIS). Declaration of environmental impact.

2. Identifying the impacts: quantitative assessment and evaluation. Methods of identification of impacts. Methods for identifying impacts: identification lists, cause-effect matrices, network diagrams. Methods for quantitative evaluation of the magnitude of impacts: habitat suitability models, population feasibility analysis. Assessment of impacts and significance.


B. Selection of alternatives.

3. Methods for selection of alternatives. Multicriteria analysis, simple methods: Selection of alternatives. Selection of criteria. Scoring of alternatives. Weighting of criteria. Aggregation of results. Advanced Methods: The Hierarchical Analytical Process


C. Mitigating measures.

4. Measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of a project and biodiversity compensations. Precautionary measures. Corrective measures. Compensatory measures. Environmental Monitoring Program. Biodiversity offsets: Conservation Banks, Land Custody


D. Environmental assessment as a scientific activity

5. Experimental designs to detect and evaluate impacts. Reasons for experimental designs and their goals. Ideal designs: controls, replication and randomization. Identifying the problem. Designs to use when replication or randomization are not feasible. CI Design (Control-Impact). BA Design (Before-After). Simple BACI design. Association and causality.


E. Restoration Ecology

6. Introduction to Restoration Ecology and Ecological Restoration: the essentials. Definitions. Reasons to carry out a restoration. Restoration of species, soil, habitats and ecosystems.Restoration Ecology and Ecological restoration. 

7. What should we have in mind when designing a restoration? Foundations and current objectives of the restoration. Introduction to ecosystem processes and theories. Ecosystem services and their preservation. Case studies.

8. River restoration. Rivers as ecosystems: their elements and dynamics. What drives degradation. The fluvial space. Zonation of the river space. Stages in the restoration of rivers. Examples are river restorations and other actions on river systems. Bioengineering Definition and examples of bioengineering techniques for restoration.

9. Restoration of wetlands. Definition and types. The value of wetlands. Loss of wetlands: causes of destruction and degradation. Controlling factors. Stages in the restoration of wetlands. Creation of wetlands: constructed wetlands. Examples and case studies.


F. Further theory but for which practices?

10. What theoretical foundations would help tomorrow's managers to sustain healthy ecosystems?


The methodology used to achieve the learning process is based on the students working on the information relevant to the subject. The role of the teacher is to guide the students in their learning, stimulating reflection and discussion. Depending on the case, the teacher provides the necessary information directly or indicates where to find it. The class combines lectures, group discussions, assignments and practical classes:

(1) Lectures, where concepts and methods of the discipline are presented and explained. It will alternate with text discussion, usually by groups, on articles and documents (environmental impact assessments), with subsequent team presentations. The lectures will highlight and address the most complex and important points for each didactic unit, and case studies will be analyzed. Subsequently, the student, based on that conceptual map, can supplement it with bibliographic information during his/her independent work. Lectures will last 50 minutes, making the audiovisual material prepared by the teacher available in the Virtual Campus.

(2) Assignments to be conducted by students, will be oriented to apply to practical cases, concepts and methods explained in lectures.

(3) Computer-based labs models for evaluating species reintroduction actions will be used.

(4) Field trips: visits to places where ecological restoration actions have been carried out.


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Classroom lectures and discussions 35 1.4 1, 12, 4, 6, 7, 8, 5, 3
Computer lab 3 0.12 2, 4, 7, 8, 5, 9, 11
External visits 5 0.2 1, 12, 4, 6, 7, 8, 5
Field trips 8 0.32 4, 6, 7, 10, 9, 11, 3
Type: Supervised      
Analytical work of an EIA, study cases 50 2 1, 12, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 5, 9, 11, 3
Type: Autonomous      
Study 45 1.8 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 5, 9, 11, 3


The course will be evaluated according to the following parts:

Final written tests (50% of the total score). Obtained from the average evaluation of the two mid-term written tests. Written tests will also evaluate the topics covered during the practical sessions.

Critical analysis of an EIA (35% of the total score) applying the concepts and methods explained in the theory. This activity will be scored as follows:

10% - evaluation of the tutoring session on critical analysis work progress.

25% - evaluation of the critical analysis report.


Other Aap (Learning activities: case study resolution and preparation of discussion, 15% of the mark) - This part will assess each of the resolutions of the case study analysis sessions that corresponds of 5% of the final mark (15%).

In order to pass the student’s grade, weighted as stated above, needs to be at least 5 (over 10), and the average for both mid-term exams not less than 3.5 (over 10). If the average for both mid-term exams does not reach 3.5 the student will have the possibility to do a final exam (that corresponds to 50% of the grade if the score if more than 3.5 over 10). To be eligible for the retake process, the student should have been previously evaluated in a set of activities equaling at least two thirds of the final score of the course or module. Thus, the student will be graded as "No Avaluable" if the weighting of all conducted evaluation activities is less than 67% of the final score". For the rest of assessment activities, you do not need to obtain any minimum mark to make an average.

Attendance to practical sessions (or field trips) is mandatory. Students missing more than 20% of programmed sessions will be graded as "No Avaluable.

The non-delivery of any of the assignments within the established period implies a zero score for that activity.

Students who are unable to attend an individual test for a justified reason (such as illness, accident or death or grave illness or accident of a first-degree relative) and provide the official documentation to the Degree Coordinator, will be entitled to take the test at a different date.


Single Evaluation

The single evaluation consists of a single synthesis test that includes the contents of the whole program of the subject. The mark obtained in the synthesis test  corresponds to 50% of the final score of the subject.

The single assessment test shall be carried out in the same date scheduled for the last continuous evaluation exam, and the same system shall be applied as for the continuous assessment to take the remedial exam.

Students who select the single evaluation will deliver evidence of the rest of the evaluation activities all together on the same date of the synthesis exam. These evidences include the report of the critical appraisal of an environmental impact assessment (35% of the evaluation), and the case study on restoration (15% of the final grade).


NOTE: Students who want to follow single evaluation must contact the responsible teacher at the beginning of the course to clarify case by case the evaluative aspects of the subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
1. First mid-term exam 25 2 0.08 4, 6, 7, 5, 9, 11, 3
2. Second mid-term exam 25 2 0.08 6, 7, 10, 5, 9, 11, 3
3. Critical analysis of an EIA 35 0 0 1, 12, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 3
4. Case study resolutions and other assignments, preparation and participation in discussions 15 0 0 1, 12, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 5, 9, 11, 3



(A) Expermental design and criteria to detect effects in the environment

Downes BJ et al (2002) Monitoring ecological impacts: Concepts and practice in flowing waters. Cambridge university Press. Available as e-book and in the library of Facultat de Ciencies i Biociències.

 Osenberg CW, et al, 2006. In: Falk D, et al., (eds). Foundations of restoration ecology. Island Press, Washington. Available in the library of Facultat de Ciencies i Biociències.


(B) Environmental asessment

Glasson J, Therivel R, Chadwick A, 2005. Introduction to environmental impact assessment. Routledge, London. Disponible a la biblioteca de la Facultat de Ciencies i Biociencies.

CIEEM, 2016. Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment in the UK and Ireland: Terrestrial, Freshwater and Coastal, 2nd edition. Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Winchester. Disponibles a Internet

Gontier M, Balfors B, Mortberg U, 2006. Biodiversity in Environmental Assessment-Current Practice and Tools for Prediction. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 26 (3): 268-286. Disponible ainternet.


 Value assignment

Lawrence DP, 2007. Impact significance determination — back to basics. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 27: 755–69. Disponible a internet.

Lackey RT, 2004. Normative science. Fisheries Forum 29:37-39. Disponible a internet.


 (E) Ecological restoration and restoration ecology

Parker M, Zedle J, Falk D, 2016. Foundations of restoration ecology. 2nd edition. Island Press, Washington. Available on net

Falk D, et al., 2006. Foundations of restoration ecology. Island Press, Washington. Available in the library de la Facultat de Ciencies i Biociencies i a internet.

Howell EA, Harrington JA, Glass SB, 2012. Introduction to restoration ecology. Island Press. Available in the library de la Facultat de Ciencies i Biociencies


Others books and documents 

 Environmental assessment

Conesa Fernández-Vitora V, 2010. Guía metodológica para la evaluación del impacto ambiental. Mundi-Prensa. 4a edició. Madrid.

DMAH, 2010. Balanç i perspectives de l’avaluació ambiental a Catalunya. Manuals d’avaluació ambiental, 4. Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge, Generalitat de Catalunya. Disponible al web sobre avaluació ambiental del Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat.

Garmendia A, i cols., 2005. Evaluación de impacto ambiental. Ed Pearson Educación, Madrid, 396p.

Guía para la elaboración de Estudios Ambientales de proyectos con incidencia en el medio natural. [Són 8 guies, numerades 0 a 7]. Dirección General de Medio Natural de la

Gómez Orea D., 2003. Evaluación de impacto ambiental, un instrumento preventivo para la gestión ambiental. 2a edició ampliada. Editorial Mundi-Prensa. Madrid, Barcelona, México, 749p.

Kiker GA, i cols., 2005. Application of multicriteria decision analysis in environmental decision making. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 1: 95-108.

Morgan RK, 2012. Environmental impact assessment: the state of the art. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30: 5-14.

Saaty TL, 2000. Fundamentals of the analytic hierarchy process. RWS Publications, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Suggested Webs on environmental assessment

1. Asociación Españolade Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental - www.eia.es

2. Banc de dades d'avaluació ambiental - mediambient.gencat.cat/ca/05_ambits_dactuacio/avaluacio_ambiental/participacio_publica/banc_de_dades_davaluacio_ambiental/

3. Consejería de Industria y Medio Ambiente de la Región de Murcia - www.ambiental-sl.es/descargas

4. Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat (Generalitat de Catalunya) --> Medi ambient i sostenibilitat --> Empresa i avaluació ambiental -> Avaluació ambiental de plans, programes i infraestructures

5. European commission - http://ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/index_en.htm

6. International Association for Impact Assessment - www.iaia.org

7. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio ambiente-  www.magrama.gob.es/es/calidad-y-evaluacion-ambiental/temas/evaluacion-ambiental


Scientific journals

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal - www.tandfonline.com/toc/tiap20/current

Environmental Impact Assessment Review - www.journals.elsevier.com/environmental-impact-assessment- review


Restoration ecology

Agència Catalana de l'Aigua (2008a) La gestió i recuperació de la vegetació de ribera. Guia tècnica per a actuacions en riberes. http://aca-web.gencat.cat/aca/documents/ca/actuacions/vegetacio_ribera_complerta.pdf

González del Tánago M, García de Jalón D, 2007. Restauración de ríos. Guía metodológica para la elaboración de proyectos. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente.

Howell EA, Harrington JA, Glass SB, 2012. Introduction to restoration ecology. Island Press.

Magdaleno F, 2011. Manual de técnicas de restauraciónfluvial.Segunda edición. CEDEX, 294 p.

Montes C, Rendón-Martos M, Varela L, Cappa MJ, 2007. Manual de restauración de humedales mediterráneos. Consejería de Medio Ambiente. Sevilla. Disponible a internet.

Perrow MR, Davy AJ, 2002. Handbook of ecological restoration. 2 vols. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Prat N, Puértolas L, Rieradevall M, 2008. Els espais fluvials. Manual de diagnosi ambiental. Diputació de Barcelona.

Rey Benayas JM, Espigares Pinilla T, Nicolau Ibarra JM, 2003. Restauración de ecosistemas mediterráneos. Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares.


Webs on Restoration

1. Society for Ecological Restoration - www.ser.org

2. MedWet: The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative - www.medwet.org

3. CIREF: Centro Ibérico de Restauración Fluvial - www.cirefluvial.com

4. European Centre for River Restoration - www.ecrr.org


Scientific journals on restoration

Restoration Ecology - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/1526100x

Ecological Management and Restoration https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14428903


other scientific journals

Conservation biology - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15231739

Forest Ecology and Management - https://www.journals.elsevier.com/forest-ecology-and-management

Journal of Applied Ecology -https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652664

Trends in Ecology and Evolution -  https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/home

Wetlands - https://www.springer.com/life+sciences/ecology/journal/13157