812318 Environmental history of river systems

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Offered in
Wintersemester 2022/23
Languages of instruction


The lecture provides an introduction into the environmental history of riverine ecosystems. Important historical sources and data as well as the most important concepts and approaches will be presented. A part of the lecture is dedicated to case studies which offer an overview on the historical development about the main human interventions in Austrian and European river systems.
Based on selected sources the possibilities and limitations of historical sources for long-term ecological analyses will be presented and discussed based on reading of selected articles. One part of the lecture will address the role of environmental history studies for the management of aquatic systems.

Previous knowledge expected

no specific knowledge required but interest in history and work with historical sources

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

After successful completion of this course, participants are able to:
- Reproduce and explain the changes of essential characteristics (e.g. morphology, biodiversity, uses, human changes) over time in relation to the historical development of watercourses
- Apply 2-3 important concepts of environmental history by means of concrete case studies (e.g. novel ecosystems, risk spiral, colonization of nature, socio-ecological metabolism)
- Describe historical information source types relevant to the topic (maps, written sources) and their characteristics and select sources with support
- Select, apply, evaluate and analyze historical information sources and methods on a concrete example
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.