Course Description: This course will introduce students to the roles of various scientific disciplines in conservation biology and natural resource (forest, range, recreation, fisheries, wildlife, and wilderness) management and to the history, mission, and mandate of governmental and non-governmental resource management agencies. We will explore the history of conservation from ancient times to the present, concentrating on the evolution of conservation perspectives in the United States. The contributions of key conservation leaders over the course of history and their role in the development of landmark conservation legislation and policy will be presented, along with legislation and policy issues affecting renewable natural resources.
Course Objective: Provide students with a basic understanding of the scientific disciplines that form the foundation for natural resource conservation and management. Instill an appreciation of the historical roots and of past and present forces driving natural resource conservation issues. Students will identify the roles key government and non-governmental agencies play in implementing natural resource law and policy.
The course should be of special interest to students seeking to pursue careers in natural resource management, as it will give them a sense of the legacy behind their potential career choice and exposure to the broad array of career opportunities. Students taking this course will be better able to set and chart a path toward career goals in natural resource conservation and management. The course will be presented through a combination of lectures, audio-visual presentations, writing assignments, and student-team presentations.
Ecosystems comprised of co-occurring herbaceous and woody plants form a continuum between grasslands with little woody vegetation and forests with nearly complete coverage of woody plants. These systems, variously referred to as savannas, shrublands, parklands, and woodlands, represent a substantial portion of the terrestrial biosphere.
This course examines how woody and herbaceous life forms in such systems interact with each other; how their interactions are influenced by climate, soils and disturbances such as grazing, browsing and fire; and how changes in the relative abundance of grasses, shrubs, and trees affect ecosystem processes.
The concepts and principles covered in this class will be broadly applicable to the conservation and progressive management of dryland ecosystems characterized by dynamic mixtures of herbaceous and woody vegetation.