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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Patrick John Christie
SMA 433
Seattle Campus

Environmental Degradation in the Tropics

Considers theories and controversies of environmental degradation in the tropics, ecological and social case studies of Central American rain forests and Southeast Asian coral reefs, and implications of environmental management techniques. Offered: jointly with SIS 433.

Class description

The course has four main components: 1) an introduction to the debate surrounding issues and appropriate actions, 2) an exploration of rain forest and coral reef case studies, 3) an examination of controversial issues, and 4) a look at some environmental management techniques. Students will come to appreciate the complexity of the underlying issues through exposure to a variety of theories and perspectives including those of naturalists/ecologists EO Wilson and John Terborgh as well as agro-ecologists John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto. Students will become familiar with the ecological, social, political, and economic details that drive environmental degradation in two locations—the rain forests of Central America and the coral reefs of the Southeast Asia.

Course objectives include an improved understanding of: 1) root causes for environmental degradation in the tropics; 2) controversies surrounding these root causes and management strategies; 3) relevant ecological and social conditions associated with tropical rain forests and coral reefs; 4) synthetic, multidisciplinary descriptions of environmental degradation; 5) our personal roles in environmental degradation.

Meets I&S/NW and Writing credit requirements.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures, discussions, role plays, writing, exam, quizzes.

Recommended preparation

Keep an open mind.

Class assignments and grading

Written analysis of a tropical commodity's social and environmental impacts. Quizzes on reading content.

Quality and content of written assignments. Exam and quiz scores. Participation in discussion.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Patrick John Christie
Date: 10/23/2006