Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2015

Agroecosystem Science Master Information
Majors According
Major in Crop Science
Disciplinary Competences
Cropping Systems
751-4204-01LHorticultural Science (FS)W2 credits2GL. Bertschinger, R. Baur, C. Carlen
AbstractAfter an introduction (2h), lectures address 2 horticultural cropping systems and value chains, each one in 2 2h-lecture blocks. Afterwards, students split in 2 groups for addressing a case study focusing on one of the cropping systems treated before. An excursion to a research site might be included. In a final colloquium, each group presents a report on their case study and their conclusions.
ObjectiveAchieve a deepened understanding of horticultural value chain challenges related with ecological intensification, resource efficiency, climate change and healthy, safe food production, and the problem solution strategies and scientific principles behind.
Deliver in a team effort a report and presentation with a comprehensive insight into the studied problem and its science-based solution strategy.
ContentIn the autumn semester, the two addressed cropping systems and value chains are fruit-production and viticulture.
In the spring semester, the two addressed cropping systems and value chains are vegetable-production- and berry-production or glasshouse-horticulture.
The selected topics address challenges with regard to ecological intensification, resource efficiency or climate change and branch into on-going research and development projects.
Lecture notesDocuments handed out during the case studies.
LiteratureProvided by the case study leaders.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course builds on basic knowledge delivered by 'Horticultural Crops I & II' (BSc). If these courses have not been followed by interested participants, equivalent knowledge and experience will greatly support a successful and productive participation of the participating student.
Language: spoken E, G or F, Documents: Preferably English, G/F possible.
Crop Health
751-5110-00LInsects in AgroecosystemsW+2 credits2VS. Halloran, K. Mauck
AbstractThis class will focus on insect-plant interactions in Central European agroecosystems, and on regulators of insect pest populations. Lectures will cover important crop systems in central European agriculture. Within each system, major pests and their interactions will be described in an ecological context, focusing on key concepts in pest prediction and management.
ObjectiveAt the end of this course, students will have gained in-depth knowledge of the ecology of major pest species and their impacts within specific crop systems in Central Europe. Our approach will allow students to transfer this knowledge to related questions in other systems. Additionally, students will learn about current research goals in agroecology and how these goals are being addressed by scientists engaged in agricultural research.
ContentInsect-plant interactions in middle European agroecosystems are the focus of this course. Always starting from an important perennial or annual crop, specific insect species of economic significance are presented along with the life cycles, population dynamics, and the insect-plant interactions relevant to economic impacts on the crop. Natural factors which limit such damage are introduced, e.g. parasitoids and predators. Each section of the course is complemented by a basic ecological, biological or engineering theme or approach such as host shift, physiological time, or sampling techniques. Recent advances in research will also be addressed throughout the course and reinforced with periodic readings of recent primary literature.
Lecture notesProvided to students through ILIAS
LiteratureSelected required readings (peer reviewed literature, selected book chapters).
751-4904-00LMicrobial Pest ControlW+2 credits2GJ. Enkerli, G. Grabenweger, S. Kuske Pradal
AbstractThis lecture provides conceptual as well as biological and ecological background on microbial pest management. Methods and techniques applied to develop and monitor microbial control agents are elucidated.
ObjectiveTo know the most important groups of insect pathogens and their characteristics. To become familiar with the basic steps necessary for the development of microbial control agents. To understand the techniques and methods used to monitor field applications and the procedures involved in registration of products for microbial pest management.
ContentDefinitions and general terms used in microbial control are presented. Biological and ecological aspects of all arthropod-pathogenic groups (virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes) as well as their advantages and disadvantages in relation to biocontrol are discussed. Particular emphasis is put on hypocrealean and entomophthoralean fungi. Examples are used to demonstrate how projects in microbial control can be set up, how pathogens can be applied and how efficacy, non-target effects, persistence and dissemination are monitored. Furthermore, the necessary steps for product development, commercial aspects and registration requirements are discussed.
Lecture notesDie grundlegenden Aspekte werden als Skript (Präsentationsunterlagen) abgegeben.
LiteratureHinweise auf zusätzliche Literatur werde in der Lehrveranstaltung gegeben.
751-4902-00LModern Pesticides - Mode of Action, Residues and Environmental FateW+2 credits2VM. Müller, I. J. Bürge, T. Poiger
AbstractThe biochemical principles of the mode of action of plant protection products (PPP) are presented. Important topics are mechanisms for selectivity, development of resistance, residue formation in crops and food safety as well as behavior in the environment.
ObjectiveThe structures and modes of action of modern pesticides (synthetical compounds, natural compounds) are presented. The structure-activity relationships lead to considerations of actual use conditions in crops such as fungicides in viticulture, residues in edible parts of treated plants, possible side effects and environmental fate.
ContentAfter a short introduction on pesticide registration (administrative process as in Switzerland and EC, food safety), the biochemical background of the mode of action of important groups of PPP active ingredients is presented. Furthermore, selectivity of pesticides, leaching of herbicides to groundwater, accumulation of pesticides in soil, development of resistance of fungicides, formation of residues in edible parts of the crops, and side-effects on non-target organisms shall be covered.
Lecture notesAn e-script (pdf-files, in German) is is provided as download at the beginning of spring term.
Agriculture and Environment
751-5118-00LGlobal Change Biology Information W+2 credits2GH. Bugmann, N. Buchmann, C. Emmel, L. Hörtnagl
AbstractThis course focuses on the effects of anthropogenic climate change as well as land use and land cover change on terrestrial systems. Our current understanding of the coupled human-environmental systems will be discussed, based on observations, experiments and modeling studies. Different management options for sustainable resource use, climate mitigation and adaptation will be studied.
ObjectiveStudents will understand consequences of global change at various spatial and temporal scales, be able to synthesize their knowledge in various disciplines in view of global change issues, know international and national treaties and negotiations concerning management and climate and land use/land cover change, and be able to evaluate different management options, including sustainable resource use and climate mitigation as well as adaptation options.

Students will learn to present scientific information to an audience of educated laymen by preparing an executive summary and an oral presentation to answer a specific scientific question. Students will get extensive feedback from teachers and peers. Thereby, students will also learn how to give constructive feedback to peers.
ContentChanges in climate and land use are major issues that students will be faced with during their working life, independently of where they will work. Thus, an advanced understanding on how global change, biogeochemistry, land use practices, politics, and society interact is critical to act responsibly and work as agricultural or environmental scientists in the future.

Thus, during this course, the effects of global change (i.e., changes in climate, atmospheric chemistry as well as land use and land cover) on forest and agro-ecosystems will be presented and discussed. Effects on ecosystem structure, composition, productivity and biogeochemical cycling, but also on stability of production systems against disturbances will be addressed. Current scenarios and models for coupled human-environmental systems will be discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of different management options will be studied, including the sustainable resource use and climate mitigation as well as adaptation.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is based on fundamental knowledge about plant ecophysiology, soil science, and ecology in general.
751-3404-00LNutrient Fluxes in Soil-Plant SystemsW+4 credits4GA. Oberson Dräyer, E. K. Bünemann König
AbstractThe course teaches knowledge and experimental techniques to study pools and processes underlying nutrient fluxes in soil-plant systems. Methods will be learned i) to analyze elements dynamics, ii) to determine the use efficiency by crops of nutrients added with fertilizers, iii) to study the fate of fertilizer nutrients not taken up by the crop and iv) to estimate symbiotic N2 fixation by legumes.
ObjectiveUsing the element nitrogen (N) as model case, the student gets familiarized with techniques to assess the dynamics and availability of nutrients in the soil-plant system and to determine the use efficiency by crops of nutrients added with fertilizers. He/she learns about the use of stable isotope techniques for analyzing nutrient fluxes in soil-plant systems, and about the use of biochemical methods to obtain indicators on such fluxes. He/she is able to evaluate critically the tools used in agricultural or environmental studies dealing with fluxes of elements in soil-plant systems and the interpretation made of the results. Knowledge about processes and pools underlying nutrient cycles in agro-ecosystems will be improved.
The student learns to work in the laboratory within a small team, to organize work in sub-groups, to exchange results obtained by these sub-groups, to look for information outside of the course (e.g. in the library, in the internet), to read and analyze this information critically, to synthesize both, the information from the literature and from the groups, and to present it in a written report and in an oral presentation.
ContentThis course teaches knowledge and methods to analyze the dynamics of elements in soil-plant systems and to determine the use efficiency by crops of nutrients added with mineral and organic fertilizers. It provides knowledge about various techniques (isotopic, chemical, biochemical) that can be used to evaluate
i) content of elements in fertilizers, soils and plants;
ii) availability of elements in soils and fertilizers for plants;
iii) transfer of elements from a fertilizer to a crop;
iv) symbiotic N2 fixation by legumes.
Nitrogen will be used as model case.
The course will start with the discussion of analytical results on elemental contents in an organic fertilizer (e.g. animal manure, plant material) that has previously been labeled with the isotope 15N. To test the N efficiency of this fertilizer, a pot experiment (glasshouse study) will be designed. It will include soils with different characteristics, two test plants and fertilization treatments including the 15N labeled organic fertilizer and appropriate reference treatments.
Soils will be characterized for basic chemical properties and for biochemical characteristics that are related to the N dynamics. Plants will be harvested and analyzed for their dry matter production, their N isotope composition and for elemental contents. From the direct (15N) labeling approach, the proportion of N in the plant derived from the added fertilizers and the percentage of added fertilizer recovered in plant material will be calculated. The 15N analyses in the soil and in the plant material after the crop cycle will allow drawing a balance of the added fertilizer and discussing N losses. The comparison of 15N excess in legume and non-legume test plants will demonstrate the use of the enriched dilution method to estimate symbiotic N2 fixation by the legume.

The experiments are discussed and carried out by the students supervised by group members (two senior scientists, PhDs, laboratory staff). The students carry out the data analysis and report their findings in a written report and in an oral presentation.
Lecture notesDocumentations will be made available during the course.
LiteratureIndications during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents from the D-AGRL can get travel expenses (Zurich-Eschikon) reimbursed.
751-4003-02LCurrent Topics in Grassland Sciences (FS) Information W+2 credits2SN. Buchmann
AbstractResearch results in grassland will be presented by experienced researchers as well as Ph.D. students and graduate students. Citation classics as well as most recent research results from published or on-going studies will be presented and discussed. Topics will range from plant ecophysiology, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling to management aspects in agro- and forest ecosystems.
ObjectiveStudents will be able to understand and evaluate experimental design and data interpretation of on-going studies, be able to critically analyze published research results, practice to present and discuss results in the public, and gain a broad knowledge of recent research and current topics in agro- and forest ecosystem sciences.
ContentCitation classics as well as most recent research results from published or on-going studies will be presented and discussed. Topics will range from plant ecophysiology, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling to management aspects in agro- and forest ecosystems.
Lecture notesnone
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Attendance of the courses "Öko- und Ertragsphysiologie", "Futterbau", "Graslandsysteme" in the Bachelor or similar courses. Language will be English.
751-5102-00LBiogeochemical ModelingW2 credits2GJ. Lee, J. Six, A. Hofmann, M. Necpalova
AbstractThis class provides an introduction to biogeochemical modeling in the context of agricultural systems. It covers the general background and principles of modeling agroecosystem biogeochemistry. The topical focus is on soil processes. Plant growth and development is included as a side topic. The course consists of lectures and modeling exercises.
ObjectiveThe focus during the modeling exercise sessions is on the testing and application of the biochemical model DAYCENT to agroecosystems. This includes model parameterization, sensitivity analysis, validation, and uncertainty analysis.
Content- Introduction to biogeochemical cycles
- Overview of ecosystem models
- Spatial and temporal scales in modeling
- Century and DAYCENT model
- Controls on biogeochemical processes
- Modeling plant growth and development (DAYCENT)
- Modeling soil organic matter and nutrient dynamics (DAYCENT)
- Model testing and evaluation
- Sensitivity analysis
- Uncertainty analysis
- Bio-economic modeling
- Policy and agent-based modeling
LiteratureSmith, J., Smith, P. (2007) Introduction to environmental modelling. Oxford University Press, 180 p.

Wallach, D., Makowski, D., Jones, J.W., Brun, F. (2014) Working with dynamic crop models: Methods, tools and examples for agriculture and environment. Academic Press, 2nd ed., 487 p.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents signing up for this course should have a strong interest in modeling.
Methodology Competences
Methods in Agricultural Sciences
751-4506-00LPlant Pathology IV Information W+2 credits2GU. Merz, M. Maurhofer Bringolf
AbstractIdentification based on host, symptoms and micro-morphology, completed with life cycles and related control measures of the most important fungal diseases and their causal pathogens of annual and perennial crops with agricultural significance.
ObjectiveThe students will learn and train preparation skills for microscopy, aquire knowledge of selected diseases (identification, biology of pathogen, epidemiology) and understand the corresponding integrated control measures practiced in Swiss agriculture.
ContentThe course will partly be an e-learning excercise (with computers).
Lecture notesA script will be used on annual and perennial crops and their most important diseases. It will be updated stepwise
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course will be in German (spec. nomenclature)
Design, Analysis and Communication of Science
751-1000-00LInterdisciplinary Project Work Information Restricted registration - show details
Prerequisite: successful completion of the bachelor programme.
O3 credits4UB. Dorn, E. Frossard, L. Meile, H. Adelmann, N. Buchmann, C. De Moraes, P. A. Fischer, M. C. Härdi-Landerer, M. Kreuzer, U. Merz, S. Peter, M. Schuppler, M. Siegrist, J. Six, S. E. Ulbrich, A. Walter
AbstractDie Studierenden der Agrar- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften erarbeiten in interdisziplinären Teams Lösungen für Probleme, welche ihnen von Projektpartner im Bereich der Nahrungsmittelwertschöpfungskette gestellt werden.
ObjectiveDie Studierenden kennen
- die Grundlagen des Zeit- und Projektmanagements
- Vorgehensweisen, um Probleme, die ihnen von Projektpartnern gestellt werden, zielorientiert zu lösen.
ContentDie Studierenden der Agrar- und Lebensmittelwissenschaft erarbeiten in interdisziplinären Teams Lösungen für Probleme, welche ihnen von Projektpartnern entlang der Nahrungsmittelwertschöpfungskette gestellt werden. Die Studierenden präsentieren und diskutieren die Lösungsvorschläge an der Schlussveranstaltung mit den Projektpartnern und verfassen einen schriftlichen Projektbericht.
Prerequisites / NoticeDie Anwesenheit der Studierenden an der Startveranstaltung am 26.2.2015 gemäss speziellem Programm ist Pflicht.
Major in Food and Resource Use Economics
Disciplinary Competences
Decision Making in Food Value Chains
751-1710-00LAgri-Food Marketing Information W+2 credits2GD. Barjolle, O. Schmid
AbstractThis course explores how market research is used by the actors in the value chains for positioning and promotion of food (course held in english).
ObjectiveThe objective of the course is to highlight how research marketing techniques can be mobilized for developing supply chains, in order to create and distribute value.
Students will be invited to discover advanced tools in marketing research (retailer and consumer panel data analysis, Likert scales. conjoint analysis and contingent valuation...), illustrated by a set of up date case-studies presented by professional invited lectures. This approach will allow students to be informed about present discussions in the Swiss agri-food supply chains.
ContentSome lectures are focused on methods presentation. Students then choose a mini-case, which they will carry out in groups of 5-6 students. Various issues are the key points of the mini-cases: construction of a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for sustainability standards, ethical claims or origin-based labels; marketing and promotion of PDO-PGI products; marketing and promotion of organic products, collective promotion on Swiss products in Switzerland and abroad; produits du terroir and gastronomy; short supply chain; public procurement.
Lecture notespaper copies of the presentations are distributed during the lecture.
752-2123-00LRisk Awareness, Risk Acceptance and TrustW+3 credits2VM. Siegrist
AbstractThe course provides an overview about risk perception and acceptance of new technologies. In addition, the most important findings of the research related to decisions under uncertainty are presented.
ObjectiveStudents know the most important theoretical approaches in the domains of risk perception and acceptance of new technologies. Furthermore, students understand the paradigms and the research results in the domain of decision making under uncertainty.
Environmental and Resource Use Economics
701-1653-00LPolicy and Economics of Ecosystem ServicesW+3 credits2GS. Andrade de Sa
AbstractThe course introduces the concept of ecosystem services (ES), their value for society, the causes of their degradation and potential policies to reduce degradation, from an environmental economics perspective. The main focus is thus on policy options for addressing ecosystems' degradation. The strengths and weaknesses of alternative policies are analyzed and illustrated with examples.
ObjectiveThe objective is to draw on insights from environmental economics for explaining human-induced ecosystem change and for assessing the potential of policies and economic incentives as strategies to reduce ecosystem services degradation. Students understand the relevance of environmental economics in application to the sustainable provision of ecosystem services (ES). They can define different categories of ecosystem services and understand underlying sources of market failure that lead to suboptimal human decisions regarding ES provision. They understand the importance of policy choice and policy design. This incorporates both established and newer policy approaches that can be used to address market failure and move towards better outcomes from a societal point of view. They can assess strengths and weaknesses of alternative policy approaches and instruments and understand the basis for selecting among alternative instruments to address ecosystems' degradation. Students have an improved understanding of the political economy underlying the making of environmental policy. They know a variety of real-world applications of different policy approaches related to land use choices and ES in developing and developed countries. Finally, they understand approaches for assessing policy impacts.
ContentThe Millennium Ecosystem Assessment found that 60% of the world's ecosystem services (ES) are being degraded or used unsustainably. The UN report on 'The Economics of Ecosystems Services and Biodiversity' highlighted the impacts on human well-being and the role of policy in addressing ecosystems' degradation. Evaluating changes in ES from a societal perspective first requires an assessment of the societal value of different ES and the tradeoffs between them. Second, we need to understand the drivers of human decision-making affecting ES. Examples will be provided on resource use choices in developed and developing countries. Third, an assessment of the causes of excessive ES degradation is needed. Potential causes include the presence of externalities, improperly designed property rights systems, divergence of private and social discount rates, and lack of information and knowledge. Understanding the causes helps to design policies for more sustainable outcomes. Policies include command-and-control, economic incentives (for example, eco-taxes, tradable permits, government payments for ecosystem services), and decentralized approaches (for example, voluntary agreements, eco-labeling, participatory management). Choosing an appropriate policy instrument (or a combination thereof) requires an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative instruments, their preconditions for success and the political economy of their implementation. Finally, assessing the actual impacts of policy once implemented requires a careful assessment of appropriate baselines.
Lecture notesLecture notes, homework exercises and readings for each class will be made available on OLAT.
LiteratureThere is no single textbook for this class. Instead, a number of articles and book chapters will be suggested for each of the topics addressed during the lecture.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course consists of a combination of lectures, homework assignments on real world case studies, a computer exercise, and an exam.
A prerequisite for this course is a bachelor-level course in Environmental Economics (e.g. 751-1551-00). In particular, students are expected to be familiar with basic environmental economics' concepts such as externality, public good, market failure, opportunity cost, social optimum and market equilibrium, among others. Students with no background in environmental economics can be provided with readings but will be expected to come up to the required standards on their own, prior to starting the class. Please contact Dr. Andrade de Sá ( for these.
851-0594-02LInternational Environmental Politics: Part IIW+4 credits2VT. Bernauer
AbstractThis course focuses on a selected set of important research topics in the area of international environmental politics.
ObjectiveBecome familiar with analytical approaches and research results in selected areas of political science and political economy research on international environmental politics.
ContentThe issues covered include, for example, the relationship between poverty, economic growth and environmental quality, the question whether environmental degradation can lead to political violence (e.g. civil war), the role of environmental regulation in international trade disputes, international negotiating processes in areas such as climate change mitigation, and the role of civil society in global environmental governance.

Prerequisites: If you did not attend the course International Environmental Politics in the autumn semester you can still attend the course International Environmental Politics: Insights from Recent Research in the spring semester. However, I suggest you do so only if you already have a fairly good knowledge of social sciences research on international environmental issues (e.g. if you have already taken one or more classes in environmental economics and/or environmental politics). Alternatively, you can watch the screencasts of the HS 2014 version of the International Environmental Politics course and complete the mandatory reading assignments for that course to acquire the necessary background for being able to keep the pace in the spring semester course: Login: with your nethz username and password. You should watch those podcasts and complete the reading assignments before the course starts. The slides and other teaching material for Part One are available at (materials, login with your nethz username and password and select the appropriate items).
Lecture notesSlides and reading material will be available at (teaching, materials). They are password protected. Your Nethz username and password are needed for login.
LiteratureAssigned reading materials and slides will be available at (teaching, materials-login, international environmental politics, part two). Log in with your nethz name and password. Logistical questions concerning access to course materials can be addressed to Thomas Bernauer at All assigned papers must be read ahead of the respective meeting. Each meeting consists of one part where we discuss the contents of the assigned papers, and another part where we present/discuss new/ongoing research that extends beyond the contents of the read papers. Following the course on the basis of on-line slides and papers alone is not sufficient. Physical presence in the classroom is essential. No podcasts for this course will be available. Many books and journals covering international environmental policy issues can be found at the D-GESS library at the IFW building, Haldeneggsteig 4, B-floor.
Prerequisites / NoticeIf you did not attend 'International Environmental Politics: Part One' you can still attend Part Two. However, I suggest you do so only if you already have a fairly good knowledge of social sciences research on international environmental issues (e.g. if you have already taken one or more classes in environmental economics and/or environmental politics). Alternatively, you can watch the screencasts of the HS 2014 version of Part One and complete the mandatory reading assignments for that course to acquire the necessary background for being able to keep up in Part II: Login: with your nethz username and password. You should watch those podcasts and complete the reading assignments before the course starts. The slides and other teaching material for Part One are available at (materials, login with your nethz username and password and select the appropriate items).
851-0705-01LEnvironmental Law: Conceptions and FieldsW+3 credits2VC. Jäger, A. Bühler
AbstractOverview of Swiss Environmental Law. Rules and regulations, system and fields of Environmental Law with its principles and instruments, interrelations e.g. with construction and zoning law. Immission control (protection against noise, air pollution), clilmate protection, conservation of water, forest, nature and landscape, regulations on waste and contaminated sites.
Case studies.
ObjectiveBasic understanding of scope and function of Environmental Law. Basic knowledge of legal instruments and of interrelations between Environmental Law and other fields of the law such as planning and zoning law. The students will be able to comprehend all sides of a question and to develop a possible solution of the problem (practical training on case studies).
ContentDie Vorlesung gliedert sich in einzelne Teile und umfasst hauptsächlich folgende Themen: Grundkonzept des schweizerischen Umweltrechts; Rechtsquellen; Grundprinzipien; Instrumente und verfahrensrechtliche Aspekte (v.a. Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung); Querbezüge zum Raumplanungsrecht; Immissionsschutz; Übersicht über einzelne Rechtsgebiete wie Klimaschutz, Gewässerschutz, Natur- und Landschaftsschutz, Wald, Behandlung von Abfällen. Diskussion von konkreten Fällen. Vorgesehen sind zudem zwei Gastreferate von externen Experten.
Lecture notesAls Skript gilt: Heribert Rausch/Arnold Marti/Alain Griffel, Umweltrecht. Ein Lehrbuch, Schulthess Zürich 2004
LiteratureBeatrice Wagner Pfeifer, Umweltrecht I und II, Schulthess Zürich, ab 1999
Klaus A. Vallender/Reto Morell, Umweltrecht, Stämpfli Bern 1997
Prerequisites / NoticeVorausgesetzt werden allgemeine Kenntnisse des Rechts (z.B. Besuch der Vorlesungen «Rechtslehre GZ» im Frühjahrssemester oder «Grundzüge der Rechts» im Herbstsemester)
363-0552-00LEconomic Growth and Resource UseW3 credits2GJ. Daubanes
AbstractThe lecture focuses on the economics of non-renewable resources and deals with the main economic issues regarding such commodities.
ObjectiveThe objective of the lecture is to make students familiar with the main topics in the economics of non-renewable natural resources so that they become able to autonomously read much of the academic literature on the issue. The economics of natural resources adds an intertemporal dimension to the classical static theory. The analyses provided in the lecture will use basic dynamic optimization tools; students are also expected to develop or consolidate their related technical skills.
ContentThe lecture focuses on the economics of non-renewable resources and deals with the main economic issues regarding such commodities. Two peculiarities of natural resources make them interesting economic objects. The intertemporal dimension of resource exploitation is absent in standard static treatments of classical economic theory. The non-renewability of natural resources further implies long-term supply limitations, unlike conventional goods that are indefinitely reproducible. Because of those peculiarities, many well-known economic results do not apply to the case of resources.

As it is appropriate in most chapters, priority will be given to a synthetic partial equilibrium setting. Elementary knowledge of microeconomics (like what is provided by H. Varian, Intermediate Microeconomics) is considered as a prerequisite. Moreover, an introduction to standard partial equilibrium analysis will be provided at the beginning of the lecture. General equilibrium effects should be introduced as they become crucial, as will be the case in the chapters on the interplay between economic growth and resource depletion.

The questions addressed in the lecture will be the following ones:
The intertemporal theory of non-renewable resource supply; the dynamic market equilibrium allocation; the exploration and development of exploitable reserves; the heterogenous quality of resource deposits; pollution and other externalities arising from the use of fossil fuels; the exercise of market power by resource suppliers and market structures; socially optimum extraction patterns and sustainability; the taxation of non-renewable resources; the international strategic dimension of resource taxation; the uncertainty about future reserves and market conditions; economic growth, resource limitations, and the innovation process...
Lecture notesLecture Notes of the course will be sent by email to officially subscribed students.
LiteratureThe main reference of the course is the set of lecture notes; students will also be encouraged to read some influential academic articles dealing with the issues under study.
Prerequisites / NoticeElementary knowledge of microeconomics (like what is provided by H. Varian, Intermediate Microeconomics) is considered as a prerequisite.
Agricultural Trade and Policies
751-2402-00LAgricultural Trade AgreementsW+2 credits2GJ. Niklaus
AbstractThe course focuses on the legal aspects of agricultural trade agreements.
Objective1. The students shall be able to understand the legal framework of agricultural trade agreements.

2. The course aims at analyzing legal, political and economic aspects of agricultural trade regulations.

3. Special emphasis is placed on the ongoing negotiations on an agricultural free trade agreement between Switzerland and the European Union.

- Overview on the international economic system

- Political and legal aspects of agricultural trade agreements

- Motivation and origin of agricultural trade agreements

- Implementation and monitoring of agricultural trade agreements

- Impact-analysis of statal, parastatal and private trade barriers

- Reduction and elimination of statal, parastatal and private trade barriers

- Case study 1: WTO Doha Round

- Case study 2: Agricultural free trade agreement Switzerland-EU

- Case study 3: Implementation of the Cassis de Dijon Principle in Switzerland
Lecture notesHandouts (power point slides)
751-1652-00LFood Security - from the Global to the Local Dimension Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.
W+2 credits2GM. Sonnevelt, D. Barjolle
AbstractBased on the complex nature and interactions of various driving forces such as e.g. poverty, resource scarcity, globalization and climate change, global food security depends on manifold aspects. To study food security, one must understand aspects such as the availability of, the access to and the adequate use of food as well as the stability of the economic, ecologic and political system.
ObjectiveThis year, the course focus on the role of Agroecology as a concept to support food security. Agroecology, once the exclusive domain of food sovereignty and ecology movements, it has begun to be promoted enthusiastically in both developed and developing countries by non-government organizations, international development organizations and others seeking more sustainable food production and consumption systems. The course will elaborate potential and bottlenecks of the concept for global food security.

A more detailed program will be uploaded in early 2015.
ContentThe main block of the course is a three-days workshop/seminar at the FAO headquarter in Rome during the week of 06.04.-10.04.2015 (exact dates will be announced in early 2015).
In February and March 2015, two preparatory events (each lasting +/- two hours) will be held at ETH Zurich. Exact date and time will be announced in early 2015.
Lecture notesBooks and Articles.

We will compose a document of the material presented and elaborated during the workshop for distribution after the event.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe Lecture is held in English and is limited to 20 MSc-students preferably from agriculture, environment and food sciences.
751-2102-00LHistory of Food and AgricultureW3 credits2VP. Aerni
AbstractKnowledge about the history of food and agriculture is crucial to understanding the emergence of modern agriculture and public resistance to industrial farming. The lecture discusses the evolution of agriculture and its impact on social structures, human health and the environment from an anthropological, a cultural, a political and a technological point of view.
Objective- to become familiar with the milestones of the history of food and agriculture
- to understand innovation in agriculture as one of the major forces of change in the history of mankind
- to learn how perceptions, politics and policies in food and agriculture are shaped by social, technological and environmental change
- to be able to embed the current debate on the food crisis and climate change into a historical context
ContentThis lecture starts with the Neolithic revolution and its cultural and environmental impact on humankind. In this context, it will discuss the transition from hunter-and-gatherer societies to societies that rely more upon the domestication of nature (agriculture and pastoralism) (Keeley 1996, Diamond 1999).
The various forms of domestication of plants and animals and their economic, political and environmental implications for society will be discussed using examples from different parts of the world (Stone et al.2007).
The emergence of civilization based on agrarian law will be discussed by using the example of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire (Weber 1891, Love, 1996).
Subsequent innovations such as the three-field system in medieval times, the introduction of new plants and animals during the colonial period, and scientific and technological breakthroughs in plant breeding, agricultural practices and food preservation in the 19th century gave a major boost to agricultural productivity, food availability and agro-biodiversity. These prior developments also laid the foundation for industrial agriculture at the beginning of the 20th century (Kingsbury 2009). The global implications resulting from change in food preferences and agricultural innovation will be illustrated by using selected examples of innovations in food and agriculture (Braudel 2002, Pendergast 2010).
Public resistance to industrial agriculture manifested itself in the early 1920s with counter-movements such as biodynamic farming (Kingsbury 2009) but also with organized lobbying groups that fought against change caused by refrigeration and cheap food (Freidberg 2009). Applying science to plant and animal breeding also caused a cultural divide in biology departments at universities between those who changed nature (plant breeders) and those who wanted to preserve it (botanists, ecologists) (Anker 2001).
The period during and after the two World Wars changed the business of agriculture entirely. Food security became a matter of national security and thus justified state intervention on all levels in the production of food from farm to fork. This also helps explain why the Green Revolution was largely a public sector initiative that cared more for productivity increases on the supply side than for consumer preferences on the demand side (Aerni 2007). After the end of the Cold War, attention shifted from the supply side to the demand side and thus from food security to food safety.
Food safety concerns were largely due to distrust of industrial agriculture and this led to major policy shifts in the way agricultural subsidies and resources were allocated and how food safety was managed and monitored. While the public sector largely withdrew from investing in productivity-related agricultural research, the private sector started to invest more. This led to the growing need to engage again in public-private partnership, as had been the case in the 19th century. Despite the Agreement on Agriculture of the World Trade Organization, agricultural trade remains highly restricted and the growing vertical integration of the food supply chain tends to concentrate market power with global retailers. They have designed private standards that are meant to protect consumers from unsafe food and promote good agricultural practices abroad, as well as ethical trade. Yet, the increasing importance of south-south trade in agriculture and the global food crisis might again shift more power back to producers (Aerni 2009).
Lecture notes
LiteratureAerni, Philipp (2011) Food Sovereignty and its Discontents. ATDF Journal 8(1/2): 23-49.
Aerni, Philipp (2011) Do Political Attitudes Affect Consumer Choice? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Study with Genetically Modified Bread in Switzerland. Sustainability 3: 1555-1572.
Aerni, Philipp (2009) What is sustainable agriculture? Empirical evidence of diverging views in Switzerland and New Zealand. Ecological Economics 68(6): 1872-1882.
Aerni, Philipp. 2007. Exploring the Linkages between Commerce, Higher Education and Human Development: A Historical Review. ATDF Journal 4(2): 35-47.
Anker, Peder (2001) Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order in the British Empire, 1895-1945. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Braudel, Fernand (2002) The Wheels of Commerce. Civilization and Capitalism 15th -18th, Volume II. Phoenix Press, London.
Cook, Harold (2008) Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Fagan, Brian (2001) The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History. Basic Books, New York.
Morgan, Dan (1979) Merchants of Grain: The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply. iUniverse, Inc: Lincoln, NE.
Diamond, Jared (1999) Guns, Germs and Steel. Norton, New York.
Freidberg, Susanne (2009) Fresh: A Perishable History. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Freidberg, S. (2007). Supermarkets and imperial knowledge. Cultural Geographies, 14(3): 321-342.
Kingsbury, N. (2009) Hybrid: the History and Science of Plant Breeding. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Love, John (1986) Max Weber and the Theory of Ancient Capitalism. History and Theory 25(2): 152-172.
Stone, Linda, Lurquin, P. F. and Cavalli-Sforza (2007) Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution: A Synthesis. Blackwell, Malden, MA.
The Economist, 2008. Hunters and Gatherers: Noble or Savage, Dec. 19th.
Keeley, Lawrence, H. (1996) War Before Civilization. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Pendergast, M. (2010) Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and how it transformed our World. Basic Books, New York.
Weber, M. (1891) Die römische Agrargeschichte in ihrer Bedeutung für das Staats- und Privatrecht. Stuttgart.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe 2-hour course will be held as a series of lectures. The course materials will be available in form of an electronic Reader at the beginning of the semester.
The class will be taught in English.
Students will be asked to give a (a) presentation (15 Minutes) or write a review paper based on a article selected from the electronic script, and (b) they will have to pass a written test at the end of the course in order to obtain 3 credit points in the ECTS System. In the final mark (a) will have a weight of 40% and (b) 60%.
751-2700-00LLand Markets and Land PolicyW2 credits2GG. M. Giuliani
AbstractIn this course the students acquire knowledge on the particularities of land markets and the effects of policy interventions such as ceiling prices and land redistributions on land markets. Special emphasis is placed on the knowledge of land market structures and on the forms of land markets.
ObjectiveIn this course the students acquire knowledge on the particularities of land markets and the effects of policy interventions such as ceiling prices and land redistributions on land markets. Special emphasis is placed on the knowledge of land market structures and on the forms of land markets.
ContentThe first part of the course deals with the following topics: historical outline of land use; historical models of individual and collective land regulations; Swiss land regulations and land policies; specific theoretical aspects of agricultural land markets; empirical investigations on land property and land markets; interconnections between land policy and agricultural policy. The second part of the course focuses on land property structures in developing countries and in transition countries. After a general systematic and theoretical introduction on land policies and land reforms in these countries, case studies and topcis of current political relevance are discussed. This course provides principles contributing to the evaluation of the sustainability of land use and to the establishment of sustainable land use systems.
Lecture notesWill be provided in the course.
LiteratureAre included in the lecture notes.
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