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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James A Lutz
ESRM 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Individual tutorial study of topics or courses under development to address the latest scientific developments in forest resources. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

2013 will mark the fifth year of the Yosemite class. This field experience is part scientific expedition, part ecology class, and part outdoor adventure. We use an ongoing research project as a vehicle for learning field methods, natural history, and ecological theory. The fieldwork occurs on the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot (http://www.yfdp.org), a long-term study of forest community dynamics run by the University of Washington, University of Montana, and Washington State University. Students spend multiple days in the field with land managers and scientists from universities, the Park Service, the USGS, and the Smithsonian. If you are looking for real-world experience in field research and monitoring, this is for you.

Student learning goals

Students learn measuring techniques for forest research, how to plan and execute forest surveys, to accurately use traditional (compass, diameter tape, quadrats) and modern (Total Stations, lasers, GPS) equipment, an appreciation for measurement accuracy, and to document work and observations in a field notebook.

Identify all woody species in the Sierra Nevada lower mixed conifer forests, and principal species from the montane and sub-alpine species of the Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains.

Identify important factors associated with tree mortality (pathogens, insects, suppression, mechanical, animal)

Meets field requirements for Program on the Environment capstone.

General method of instruction

Small group learning.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, but classwork in ecology or biology recommended.

Class assignments and grading

The class is a field methods class. Two one-page essays are required at the end of the field experience. Students maintain a field notebook.

85% field techniques; 15% field n75% field techniques, 10% species identification, 10% field notebook and associated photos, 5% reflection pieces


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by James A Lutz
Date: 03/08/2013