Introduces ecological restoration of damaged ecosystems. Develops a broad understanding of restoration ecology, including diverse ecological aspects of the practice of restoration, conceptual and philosophical issues underlying the field, and social and political factors that influence restoration outcomes. Includes field work, lectures, readings, and discussion.
This course is meant as an introduction to the topic of Restoration Ecology. Ecological restoration means many things to many people, but in general means the reestablishing of historic plant and animal communities and those ecosystem and cultural functions necessary for their maintenance into the future. We will review (1) the ethical and social implications of restoration, (2) the sources of degradation and how they affect what restoration is possible, (3) general frameworks for restoration (including case studies), (4) general abiotic and biotic constraints on plant restoration, and community restoration in general, (5) the legal and social frameworks that restoration takes place within, and (6) how restoration success is assessed. All of the goals and problems of restoration practice are best illustrated by seeing ongoing projects, and by hearing the history of these projects from those who have led them for many years. My aim is for everyone to gain an appreciation for what kinds of ecological knowledge are required to determine how to restore a given habitat, as well as the social constraints and expectations surrounding restoration practice.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Weekly readings will provide the basis for discussion, but Field Trips and one Field Project will be the central focus of the course.
We may also be able to participate in developing a performance for the public on the UWB/CCC Wetlands restoration and issues of restoration generally.
Students will be better prepared if they have already taken BES 312 Ecology, and a course in plant identification. Neither is required, and students should not be discouraged from participating if they lack these courses.
Class assignments and grading
Students will keep a field journal, and write a field trip report about each site we visit. In a group exercise, we will undertake two case study analyses (one of plant and the other of animal restoration cases). Students will also participate in a group field project to evaluate some of the progress in the UWB/CCC Wetland Restoration.
Participation in everything is crucial. Grades will be based on discussions, field trip reports, case study analyses, and participation in group projects.