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Upcoming Courses

Spring 2014 Courses

Required Courses

NR 5114  Global Issues in Natural Resources (3 credits)
Use of renewable natural resources has important global economic and environmental consequences. A thorough understanding of the international influences on the world's forest, fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources will help ensure the healthy, sustainable management and use of these resources, and the continued availability of ecosystem products and services. In particular, this course enhances knowledge and understanding of the use of the world's living natural resources and the management of related industries.
Instructor:  Dr. Heather Eves

NR 5344  Natural Resources Law & Policy (3 credits)
This course examines the statutory, regulatory, and policy framework for natural resources management in the United States. The emphasis is on U.S. federal laws and policies governing the use and conservation of renewable natural resources, with emphasis on wildlife and management of public lands. The goal for this course is to develop comprehensive understanding of federal, state, and local laws in natural resource management, as well as the effects of international laws and treaties on national policies and programs. In addition, an overview of the legislative and regulatory processes that have an impact of the implementation of resource managements and conservation programs is discussed.
Instructor:  TBA

NR 5714  Ecosystems Management (3 credits)
Ecosystem management has received a great deal of attention over the past few years, but the basic principles remain elusive. Ecosystem management can be viewed simply as working ecological principles into land management policy and practice or as a holistic concept for dealing with large spatial scales and long time frames, as well as involving many ecological and socio-economic variables into the management scheme. This course uses a problem-based learning format to explore relevant content that places ecosystem management in context.
Instructor: Milagros Alvarez

NR 5724  Conservation Ecology (3 credits)
Human activities are having a cumulative effect on the natural systems upon which life depends. Future land management impacts will likely entail unprecedented change in environmental conditions. More integration of the traditional natural resources fields will be required to develop innovative approaches to sustain resource development. Conservation ecology provides insights to the many benefits and services that nature offers and explores strategies to sustain ecological integrity and plan landscapes for human use. It is an emerging interdisciplinary approach to harmonizing the interactions between people and nature at ecosystem scales.
Instructor:  Dr. Megan Draheim

Elective Courses

NR 5044 Environmental Conservation and the American Landscape

This course provides a comprehensive examination of American attitudes toward the environment and the history of our efforts to protect it. Early European settlers viewed the American landscape through particular lenses, and their attitudes toward landscape changed as they encountered new landforms and types of wilderness as the country expanded westward and matured. By the end of the nineteenth century, we recognized environments that needed to be protected and began to set aside large areas containing special natural features (national parks, monuments, and forests). Throughout the twentieth century, our definition of environments that required conservation expanded further, and we defined “wilderness” within national parks and forests for special protection. By the end of the twentieth century, public efforts to protect the environment were greatly enhanced by private conservation efforts, as the land trust movement matured. Thus, the course examines changing definitions of the American environment in the context of national development and our evolving strategies of environmental conservation.

Instructor:  Shelley Mastran

NR 5834 Ecological Economics

This course provides a historical overview of various schools of economic thought, presents the major principles required to fuse ecology with economics, and helps students to analyze economic policies under the lens of ecological reality. Particular attention is paid to economic growth theory and policy as it pertains to the sustainability of human society and management of natural resources. This is a trans-disciplinary course, incorporating relevant principles and practices from political science, psychology, and physics in addition to ecology and economics. Students are not required to construct mathematical models. The course is organized in 4 modules (following an introductory session): 1) ecological principles; 2) economic principles; 3) integrating ecological and economic principles, and; 4) policy and political economy in relation to natural resources.

Instructor:  Brian Czech

NR 5884 TS: The Chesapeake Bay: A Local Resource with National Impact

Most of the students studying in the Natural Resources Program live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but do we really know how we impact the Chesapeake Bay? The USEPA estimates that 16.6 million people live in the Bay watershed and that number grows by 100,000 each year. The Chesapeake Bay’s huge watershed (the Chesapeake Bay Foundation puts the number at approximately 2,700 square kilometers of land per cubic meter of water) coupled with its shallowness makes the Bay vulnerable to pollutants and land use changes. Management of the Chesapeake Bay and its resources has encountered successes and failures since the 1960s. Today, the Bay is often used as a model for management of estuaries nationwide. This course reviews the history of the Chesapeake Bay, discusses management and policy issues associated with the Bay, and make comparisons to management of other estuaries in the U.S.

Instructor:  Desiree DiMauro

NR 5884 TS: Global Climate Change Policy  

As global temperatures continue to rise, it is imperative to not only understand the science behind climate change, but also its potential ramifications, as well as possible solutions. Using scientific research, this course begins by exploring the why, how, and when behind climate change. Contemporary readings will be used to spark discussion and debate on the implications and solutions related to climate change policy. The course will culminate in a "Congressional Briefing" students will prepare synthesizing their knowledge of the subject, as well as applying a political solution

Instructor:  Adam Kalkstein*

NR 5884 TS: Human-Wildlife Conflicts

Human-wildlife conflict resolution is a rapidly growing area within the wildlife sciences that draws upon the need for multi-disciplinary approaches to resolve complex issues associated with human domination of ecosystems. The problems people have with wild animals and the problems wild animals have with people require the use of cooperative, collaborative, and innovative approaches if they are to be resolved in ways that maximize both social and ecological benefits. Nowhere do the challenges in this area loom larger than in our urban and suburban environments. Within very recent times the growing conflicts between people and wild animals such as beaver, deer, coyote and Canada geese have developed to a point where the entire paradigm of wildlife management has been changed. This course draws upon some of the emerging issues associated with human-wildlife conflicts and through the use of case histories and examples explore the theory and practice of conflict resolution as well as the practical ethics needed to navigate contemporary wildlife management.

Instructor:  Kieran Lindsey

NR 5884 TS: Invasive Species Ecology & Policy

Natural ecosystems are under siege by many harmful species of plants, animals and diseases. Invasive species are considered to be one of the most important threats to global biodiversity and their impacts are second only to habitat destruction as a cause of biodiversity loss. Environmental, economic, and health costs of invasive species exceeds $billions per year. New species from other countries are introduced intentionally or accidentally into the US each year, and the US has introduced many species into other parts of the world. The escalating  invasive species threat intensifies the need for scientists, managers, and the many stakeholders to come together to develop better approaches to prevent establishment, improve early detection rapid response (EDRR) procedures, track established invaders, and coordinate containment,   control, and effective habitat restoration. This course will discuss current research, management, outreach, education, and policy issues regarding invasive species. The course will also cover identification, ecology and control for several common invasive species, and examine  the role of climate change.

Instructor:  Laura Giese

 

Study Abroad

NR 5954 CliGS South Africa: 2014 Ecological Infrastructure Project (3 credits; online & abroad)

The project focuses on green and ecological infrastructure development initiatives taking place in the regions of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Students will examine the context in which this development occurs, the factors and trade-offs playing into decision-making, and the stakeholders involved and their interests. This ten-week class is part of CLiGS South Africa project and includes 8 weeks of online works and 10 days of fieldwork in South Africa. Students register for Spring 2014 but the trip takes place over summer break (early June 2014). There is a $2900 program fee in addition to tuition to cover in-country transportation, lodging, and meals; tuition for this class is discounted 20%. To learn more and apply for the project team, visit http://gsi.cnre.vt.edu.  


Global Project South Africa

    South Africa

South Africa is a country rich in natural and cultural heritage, composed of modern urban financial centers, expansive grasslands, roaring coastlines, and world famous national parks.