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Landscape Restoration for Sustainable Development: a Business Approach-A practical course on how to reverse landscape degradation and restore landscapes using solid business tools

 Integrated landscape management and large-scale landscape restoration should be in every company’s business strategy because in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goal on Land Degradation Neutrality (SDG Number 15.3) scaling up and acceleration of business-driven landscape restoration is urgently needed.

This requires business professionals with a vision, the right knowledge and skills. This MOOC aims to train the next generation of business professionals and developers to acknowledge business’ interdependency with healthy landscapes and understand the value of ecosystem resources. “Historically, we have found countless ways to justify our continued exploitation of the environment: discovery, tradition, Manifest Destiny, even Chinese hoax.

But we’re all out of excuses now. Each passing day swells the data on greenhouse gases and extreme weather, shrinking reservoirs and rising sea levels, and diminishing biodiversity. Our resources are finite, the window for change if not firmly shut, is certainly closing, and all life must adapt or be doomed.” Téa Obreht, The New Yorker, Dec. 19&26, 2016, p. 106.

It is a frightening prospect indeed – that all life on Earth must either adapt or be doomed. This course is about landscape degradation – a global and wicked problem that is contributing to the dooming prospect of depletion of Earth’s finite resources. But this course is also about the solutions to this problem – business driven landscape restoration. So rather than leaving you powerless with the prospect Obreht puts fowards above, it is our hope that you learn how you can be part of the solution to making sure that Planet Earth still provides a safe and habitable home for future generations.

We must act big and we must act now. With this course we want to pass on valuable knowledge and teach you useful skills that you can apply in your professional life that will enable you to tackle the issue of landscape degradation and restoration. The issue is urgent, so let’s dive right into it.

This MOOC is developed by the ENABLE partnership, which is co-funded by the ERASMUS+ programme of the European Commission and involves a diverse, international group of organizations including Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Commonland, United Nations University Land Restoration Training Programme, the Spanish National Research Council and Estoril Global Conferences.

#Business4Landscapes - our MOOC

Landscape Restoration for Sustainable Development: a Business Approach

About the course

This course is aimed at beginners, business students and professionals as well as anyone with an interest in business-driven landscape restoration. It offers comprehensive knowledge of landscape degradation and landscape restoration from both the perspective of natural science and from an economics and business administration perspective.

Your teachers

Teachers include professors of business, soil science and conservation, agriculture and environment, and practitioners of landscape restoration. Participants are introduced to business tools they can use in professional landscape restoration and land management. You have 180 days to complete the coursework. Click here to register for the course.

First Week

The business potential for Integrated Landscape Management and Restoration

This course is developed by ENABLE – which stands for European Network for Advancement of Business and Landscape Education. The objective of this course is to educate you about the role of business in landscape management and restoration and, vice versa, about the role of healthy landscapes for sustainable businesses. To accelerate integrated landscape management and large-scale business driven landscape restoration we need passionate professionals and practitioners. We will challenge you to become a professional who is not afraid to work as a game-changer in transformative collaboration aiming at landscape management and restoration.

Second Week

Land degradation and restoration of degraded ecosystems

Now that you have seen how important it is to restore degraded landscape you might ask yourself – how do I go about doing that? How do I even know if a landscape is degraded or not? How much can I expect to restore? What is it exactly in the landscape..

Third Week

Economics of land degradation

How much is a plot of land worth? Is it worth as much as the crops grown on it? Is it worth as much as the next farmer is willing to pay for it? Who incurs the cost of damages to the land? What if you asked yourself this question: "What if I had never seen..

Fourth Week

Commonland projects: process, team-roles and skills involved

In this week, you will learn about a way of approaching landscape restoration projects involving business, termed the 4 returns approach. We will travel to the Commonland projects in South Africa, Spain, Australia, and The Netherlands to hear from farmers and business developers how degraded landscapes can be restored while simultaneously creating sustainable businesses that generate employment and income for local communities.

Find more about next weeks programme; Wicked problems and Partnerships; How to design a sustainable business model?; Capstone project etc.  here

Level Beginner
Commitment 7 weeks of study, 2-4 hours per week


How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course.

A real business case

Landscape Restoration for Sustainable Development: a Business Approach concludes with a real-life business case developed by ENABLE’s partners; RSM‘s own Case Development Centre and its Partnerships Resource Centre plus the foundation running the project, Commonland. By studying this business case, participants can deepen their understanding of the theories and frameworks learned during the course, as well practising application of the tools and methods. Ultimately, participants will develop useful and creative business solutions for specific land restoration projects. The second MOOC is still under development. It will go into more detail of specific business and landscape restoration concepts.


See the Coursera FAQ section for this MOOC or email enable [at]

To read more about the MOOC on the Coursera platform, click here: MOOC Landscape Restoration for Sustainable Development: a Business Approach

Erasmus University Rotterdam: a top-100 ranked international research university based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Our academic teaching and research focuses on four areas: health, wealth, culture and governance. Erasmus University Rotterdam: make it happen.