Biodiversity in Urban Nature

Course content

WHY Biodiversity in Urban Nature (BUN): Obligations to international conventions, ecosystem services close to everyday life and reconnection with nature in cities, e.g. psychosocial effects, education, etc..

WHAT is BUN: Biological diversity (biodiversity) at different levels from the genome to ecosystem level. Increasing biodiversity and supporting wildlife of all sorts in urban surroundings. We focus predominantly on the species level and broader taxonomical groups, extending to habitat-types applicable to numerous urban green space types.

HOW to increase BUN: Presentation and discussion of scientific literature and practical measures to increase biodiversity and in- and out-of-class exercises with this; for example, manipulations of urban surroundings which can increase diversity of flora and fauna in the urban environment. We focus on evidence-based solutions from the global research community, active researchers and practitioners working with urban nature in Copenhagen.

Some keywords from the course plan:

  • Biodiversity in urban formal green and blue spaces, e.g. public parks, gardens, cemeteries, ponds
  • Urban informal spaces, e.g. brownfields - a space for natural processes  
  • Measuring urban biodiversity and relevant biotic/abiotic structures
  • Living green roofs (and walls) - a reconciliation measure for biodiversity
  • Potentials for urban biodiversity through climate adaptation infrastructure, e.g. SUDS
  • Green “corridors” and “stepping stones” – life savers for urban organisms
  • Habitat continuity: importance of urban forests, parks and cemeteries
  • Diverse value of urban nature: ecological, cultural, economic, health, (re)connection with nature
  • Importance of plant selection in the urban environment, e.g. native vs exotic species
  • Urban soils in relation to biodiversity
  • Practical methods for enhancing diversity and abundance of invertebrates, fungi, amphibians, birds and mammals
  • Maintenance and management for urban biodiversity 
  • Importance of education and communication in regards to increasing social acceptance of biodiversity

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject
MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
MSc Programme in Nature Management
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management




Learning outcome

When the course has been completed, the participants are expected to have achieved the following:

- Identification of elements and conditions that promote and increase diversity of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and other arthropods, plants including forbs and trees, and fungi in the urban environment
- Expected consequences on diversity of practical actions taken
- Interactions between plants, herbivores and organisms on other trophic levels
- Methods for quantification of biodiversity

- Able to suggest which actions that in a given situation will result in increased or reduced development in the biodiversity
- Able to explain relationships and interactions among organisms in a given location and situation, and the reasons for absence or presence
- Ability to analyse and evaluate the potential for development of biodiversity  in a given locality
- Measures to put up a goal for development of biodiversity in a given area and for evaluation and documentation of this ambition

- Transform theoretical knowledge to practical action in a situation given limited frames
- Assess biological elements, potentials, and possible development barriers in regards to nature areas in the urban environment
- Discuss biological aspects in relation to management with focus on authenticity, aesthetics, recreation and other interests

The course will comprise lectures, excursions, practical exercises and student seminars. Group work will focus on a specific self-selected topic and is compulsory for completing the course. Guest lecturers will give first-hand presentations of their research and professional know-how and experiences from different urban environments.

Course literature will consist of selected scientific papers. Literature will be freely available on KUnet.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Excursions are undertaken on bike and by foot.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 25 min
Type of assessment details
During the course the student will choose a subject on which to write a group assignment. The group assignment must be delivered to Digital Exam at least one week before the final exam.

The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure and also includes examination in the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. The written report and the oral exam both account for 50% of the grade.

Description of the individual oral Examination:
- a short presentation of a sub-topic from the written assignment (6-7 min)
- questions on the assignment topic (6-7 min)
- the student will draw a question in relation to lectures and exercises (6-7 min).

Passing the course requires, that the combined weighted grade is 02 or above.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Preparation
  • 128
  • Exercises
  • 26
  • Excursions
  • 27
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Mona Chor Bjørn   (4-73787f825079777e3e7b853e747b)
  • Mathias Just Justesen   (4-7d717a7a5079777e3e7b853e747b)
Saved on the 28-02-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

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Courseinformation of students