Public University of Navarre

Castellano | Academic year: 2023/2024
Bachelor's degree in Agricultural, Food and Rural Environment Engineering at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 509110 Subject title: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF ENVIRONMENT
Credits: 6 Type of subject: Mandatory Year: 1 Period: 2º S
Department: Ciencias

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Module/Subject matter

Science and Technology of the Environment 50143_81



General ecology. Ecology applied to agricultural ecosystems. Ecological factors. Cycle of matter and flow of energy in ecosystems. Ecology of populations. Human influence on ecosystems. Contamination of water, soil and, air. Changes in natural and agro-ecosystems. Global change. Sustainable development. Ecosystem services. Environmental legislation. Introduction to the evaluation of environmental impact (EEI)


General proficiencies

  • CT1 Ability to develop activities in the field of the agro-food  and rural environment engineering  assuming a social, ethical and sustainable compromise
    • CB1: Students are able to demonstrate they have acquired knowledge and understanding in a field of study based on the basic foundations gained within their general secondary education together with the support of advanced textbooks and aspects of the latest advances in the field.
    • CB2: Students can apply their knowledge to a job or vocation in a professional manner and have the competences which are generally shown through the elaboration and defence of arguments and problem solving in their field of study.
    • CB3: Students have the ability to collect and interpret relevant data (generally within their field of study) in order to make judgments which include reflection on relevant issues of social, scientific or ethical nature.
    • CB4: Students can convey information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialized or non-specialized audiences.


Specific proficiencies

    • CG2. Adequate knowledge of the physical problems, technologies, equipment, and water and energy supply systems, the limits imposed by budgetary factors and building regulations, the relationships between installations and/or buildings with farms, agro-food industries and spaces related to gardening and landscaping with their social and environmental surroundings, as well as the need to relate those surroundings from that environment with human needs and environmental protection.
    • CE 14: Ability to learn, understand and use the principles of ecology. Ability to develop environmental impact studies and their evaluation and correction.
    • CE 28:  Ability to learn, understand and use the principles of environmental and landscape engineering: legislation and environmental management; Principles of sustainable development; Strategies of market and professional practice; Valuation of environmental assets; Hydrology; Erosion; Plant material: production, use and maintenance; Ecosystems and biodiversity; Physical environment and climate change; Analysis, management and territorial development plans; Principles of landscaping; Specific design tools and graphical expression; Practical development of environmental impact studies; Environmental and landscape restoration projects; Projects and green areas maintenance plans; Development projects; Instruments for the management of the territory and the landscape; Management and planning of projects and construction


Learning outcomes

  • -  R1. To know in theory and practice the structure and function of natural and agricultural ecosystems


    -  R2. To analyze and interpret the characteristics of living beings and their interaction with biotic and abiotic factors


    -  R3. To know in theory and practice the conceptual and applied principles of Environmental Impact


    -  R4. To know the  guidelines and procedures of Environmental Impact Assessment of plans, programmes and projects


    ENAEE-4: To become conscious about the multidisciplinary dimension of engineering
    ENAEE-16: To become conscious about the implications, technique or not technique, of the practical applications of engineering
    ENAEE-19: To show conscience about the responsability needed when working on practical aspects of engineering, the social and environmental impact of engineering, and the commitment to professional and ethical standards such as those involved in practical works



Methodology - Activity Face-to-face hours Not face-to-face hours
A-1 Lectures and participatory teaching 18 45
A-2 Practical works 20 20
A-3 Discussions, ideas-sharing session, tutoring groups    
A-4 Project-based learning work  18 25
A-5 Reading materials    
A-6 Individual study    
A-7 Examinations, assessment tests 4  
A - 8 Individual tutoring      
Total 60 90







Weight (%) It allows
test resit
required grade
R2, R3, R4 Individual and group written reports. Group work in PBL format. Group oral presentations and written reports 60% Partially Up to 25% corresponding to individual and group written reports. For the rest will not be resit  
R1, R2, R3, R4 Written exams. The minimum grade in these tests to pass the course will be 5.  In case of not reaching this grade, the maximum score in the overall computation  will be 4.9 40% Yes 5

If the student did not get the minimum grade to weigh in any of the activities, the grade of the subject would be 4.9 out of 10 at most (fail). 




Lesson 1. Introduction to ecology and environmental impact. Relationship with other sciences. The scientific method and its application to the resolution of environmental problems.



Lesson 2. The ecosystem. Ecosystem concept. Concepts related to the definition of ecosystem. Examples of ecosystems. Stratification of ecosystems.

Lesson 3. Agricultural ecosystems. Agricultural and livestock farms as ecosystems. Special features of the agricultural systems. Agricultural landscapes.



Lesson 4. Primary production and plant biomass. Concepts of primary production. Transformation of radiant energy and organic matter in organic matter. Net primary production in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Plant biomass in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Stress and disturbance.

Lesson 5. Secondary production and animal biomass. Trophic webs. Transformation of food in secondary production. Secondary production in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Biomass and biomass pyramids. Stress and disturbance. Animal biomass in agroecosystems. Energy flow on natural and agricultural ecosystems.

Lesson 6. The dead organic matter and its decomposition. Dead organic matter in terrestrial ecosystems. Dynamics of dead organic matter. Factors that control the decomposition of organic matter. Role of organic matter in terrestrial ecosystems. Impact of agriculture on soil organic matter.

Lesson 7. Circulation of matter in the ecosystem. The materials of life. Cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. External and internal cycles of nutrients in ecosystems: agroecosystems, forests and rivers. Examples of alterations in the cycles at the local level.

Lesson 8. Diversity and biodiversity. Definitions. How to measure diversity? Types of diversity. Some relationships between species richness and abundance. Factors that determine the diversity in an ecosystem. Diversity gradients. Spectra of diversity and species loss. Diversity, agriculture and biodiversity.



Lesson 9. Introduction to environmental impact. Factors of degradation of the biosphere. Regulation systems. Feedback. Pollution and its ecological implications. Dispersal and movement of polluting substances. Accumulation of pollutants in the food chains.

Lesson 10. Water pollution. Nature and importance of the chemical and biological pollution. Ecological consequences of water pollution. Impact of agriculture on water pollution. Plant protection products. Fertilizers. Eutrophication of lakes and reservoirs. Organic pollution in rivers. Diagnosis of organic pollution of waters. Quality of water. Purification of water.

Lesson 11. Air pollution. Atmospheric pollutants. Mode of action. Influence of air pollution on the biocoenosis and ecosystems. Air pollution and agriculture. Consequences of increased CO2 and temperature on agricultural and forest ecosystems.

Lesson 12. Soil pollution. Soil pollution and agriculture. Phytosanitary products. Fertilizers. Salinization. Heavy metals. Solid waste. Bioremediation and phytoremediation. Use of purification.sludges. 

Lesson 13. Global biogeochemical cycles and their disturbance by human activities. Impact of agriculture on the global cycles of C, N and P. Connections between global cycles. Regulation. The Gaia theory.

Lesson 14. Global change. Components. Causes and effects. Changes in natural and agro-food ecosystems. Ecological footprint and sustainability. Ecological engineering. Sustainable development. Ecosystem services.

Lesson 15. International statements and conventions. The EU's environmental policy. Environmental legislation. European, Spanish and regional regulations. Introduction to the evaluation of environmental impact (EEI)



Experimental practice program

The subject has been structured into three conceptual modules with their corresponding lab sessions:

  • Module 1: Introduction and ecosystem concept.
  • Module 2: Structure and function of ecosystems and agro-ecosystems.
  • Module 3: Environmental impact of human activities.


During the labs, the active participation of the students will be encouraged. Data will be generated by fieldwork, labwork, or with mathematical models. Collected data will then be described, analyzed and discussed, presenting the work as individual or group assignments. In addition, there will be sessions on mathematical problem resolution and gamification activities (role-play games or boardgames) to actively go deeper in understanding and applying the new concepts.




Access the bibliography that your professor has requested from the Library.



Hill MK. 2020. Understanding environmental pollution. Cambridge

Molles MC, Sher AA. 2018. Ecology. Concepts and applications. McGraw-Hill Education

Weathers KC, Strayer DL, Likens GE. 2020. Fundamentals of Ecosystem Science. Elsevier, Amsterdam



Fernandez Alés R, Leiva M. 2003. Ecología para la agricultura. Mundi-Prensa

Houghton J. Global warming. 2018. The Complete Briefing. (5TH edition). Cambridge University Press.

Lovejoy TE, Hannah L.2019. Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere. Yale University Press. New Haven.

Orozco C, Serrano A, González MN, Rodríguez FJ, Alfayate JM. 2002. Contaminación ambiental. Una visión desde la química. International Thomson Editores





Room for ecological theory in ¿Aulario¿ and Ecology laboratory in El Sario