New! Past, Present and Future Ecologies
ES 341 (formerly Ecological Restoration)
Explores how ideas and practices about ecosystems and nature more generally have come to be in the early 21st century, how they are manifest in the present, and what trends will shape the future. Rapid environmental, ecological and cultural changes are forcing a reconsideration of how we understand nature and natural processes, and how to intervene responsibly in ecosystems. Themes are drawn from landscape and community ecology, systems ecology, ethnoecology, restoration ecology, and political ecology.
ES 341 is a venerable course, dating back to our major curriculum overhaul in 2004. As a required course, it carries a heavy pedagogical load: it must represent one of three streams in the School of Environmental Studies ("ecological restoration"), catch the baton from ES 200 and 240, and set up a series of 300- and 400-level specialized courses. We had also cross-listed ES 341 with ER 311, which meant a direct cross-over with the Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma and Certificate programs.
Times change. New faculty. New issues and ideas. We decided to give ES 341 a major shake. Launching in September 2015, the new 341 will have a broader mandate that will provide an panoramic view of how ecosystems and our ideas about them have changed. the challenges we face presently, and the kinds of issues we are likely to face in the future. Ecological restoration will still feature prominently in the course, but students who wish hands-on in-depth training should sign up for the RNS Diploma or Certificate programs.
Draft learning objectives (May 2015):
- Building on ecological concepts introduced in ES 240, explore key concepts in landscape ecology, community ecology, conservation biology, ecological restoration (practice of restoring), and restoration ecology (research on restoration).
- To understand the ecological and human processes that shape changes in ecosystems and landscapes.
- To understand how human beliefs and values affect our views of nature.
- To introduce best practices and the most up-to-date concepts in ecological restoration
- To demonstrate the critical role of scientific description and analyses (biophysical sciences) and the importance of the integration of scientific data, models and approaches with human needs, attitudes, and community (social sciences) for successful intervention in ecosystems.
- To demonstrate the importance of communication for the successful development and management of ecosystems through preparation of written assignments, classroom discussion, and the development of community contacts in the field of the conservation and restoration of natural systems.
- To set you up for further study of restoration and conservation courses in the School of Environmental Studies and the Restoration of Natural Systems Program.
Check back for new syllabus (September 2015). For old times sake, here's the final syllabus of the former ES 341/ER311 (Spring 2015).