Land Use and Natural Resources

ENE427 Land Use and Natural Resources

Autumn 2020

  • Topics

    Land use deserves close attention not least because land itself is a given and fixed resource, one on which all activities are performed. Areas differ in their resource endowments, and can attract a specific, discrete use, if products can be brought to market and yield a greater profit than alternative uses. Changes in land use often lead to conflict, especially when policy incentives skew actors' choices. Examples include conversion of forest or farm land to biofuels production, or of wilderness to electricity production. A specific feature of choice of land use is that many changes cannot be reversed, and outcomes are realised after periods ranging from months to many years (wheat, pine trees, or open-cast mine). The course will also take up topics from real estate management, land use planning - including impacts on neighbours, and methods for the empirical study of land use choices.

  • Learning outcome

    The course will give students insight into land use, into the conceptual bases for understanding land use, and into tools that can be used for analysing land use and land use changes in a natural resources context.



    On successful completion, the candidate...

    • understands the role of resource rents and rent capture in land use
    • has an overview of the valuation of non-market benefits
    • understands the links between land use, property rights, and externalities
    • has an overview of the context for land use planning, including transportation planning
    • understands land use decisions in agriculture, public lands, and in relation to climate change



    On successful completion, the candidate...

    • can analyze and deal critically with various sources of information on land use and land use change and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
    • can analyze existing theories, methods and interpretations in the field and work independently on practical and theoretical problems
    • can use relevant methods for research and scholarly and /or artistic development work in an independent manner
    • can carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics


    General competence

    On successful completion, the candidate...

    • can analyze relevant academic, professional and research ethical problems
    • can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects
    • can communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of the academic field
    • can communicate about academic issues, analyses and conclusions in the field, both with specialists and the general public
    • can contribute to new thinking and innovation processes

  • Teaching

    Ordinary lectures, project related work, student presentations.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Requirements for course approval

     Two completed group written assignments through canvas are required for course approval. The first assignment about a month into the semester serves to help groups form (group membership is chosen by participants, not the instructor), and also helps the group explore topic alternatives. The second assignment towards the end of the semester is a draft of the report that will become the finished term paper for evaluation. Oral and written feedback is offered on both, together with project surgeries to help groups make progress on formation, choice of topic and development of topic. No further supervision is offered after feedback on the second assignment has been given.

  • Assessment

    There will be no changes to the assessment in this course in the spring semester of 2020.

    Groups formed to complete the two course approval steps continue to complete the self-chosen project topics, leading to a term paper handed in on the date set by the examination office (usually late May). For groups of two, the length should be about 12-15 pages, for groups of four about 18-24 pages, with length being governed by the needs of the project, not by a word count.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A-F.

  • Computer tools

    Perhaps R and contributed packages

  • Literature

    to be announced.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2020

Course responsible

Professor Roger Bivand, Department of Economics