[F&ES 964b]

Large-Scale Conservation: Integrating Science, Management, and Policy

2013-2014
Credits: 3-6
Spring 2014: Not Offered
 

 

Environmental sustainability and human dignity are important societal goals, but figuring out how to achieve them on large scales—geographic, temporal, and in terms of complexity—has proven to be extremely challenging. Abundant trend data show that many species, ecosystems, and other environmental and human systems are being overused, stressed, or degraded, thus undercutting the likelihood that we can reach sustainability and human rights for all. In addition, our institutions for science, management, and policy are not designed to address sustainability challenges on these scales. Over the last few decades numerous management and policy initiatives have been put forward to address large-scale resource use, including single and multiple use, parks and protected areas, ecosystem management, bioregional planning, integrated conservation and development, transboundary approaches, and adaptive governance. This course (a mixed seminar and practicum) explicitly uses an integrative (i.e., via interdisciplinary) framework to examine the conceptual and contextual basis for these efforts; compares and contrasts their scientific, management, and policy components; explores themes of leadership, problem solving, decision making, governance, change, and learning; and surveys cases from three arenas (terrestrial, aquatic, and marine). The course takes a problem-oriented, contextual, and multi-method approach that offers students conceptual, practical, and professional benefits. It includes readings, lectures, discussions, workshops, exercises, oral presentations, guest speakers, individual and small-group assignments, and possibly a field trip and group project. In past years the course took a field trip to the Connecticut River system to evaluate region-wide conservation efforts, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Grand Canyon Ecosystem. It also organized an international workshop focused on the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative, and assisted a major U.S. NGO plan for transboundary projects along the U.S.-Canadian border. Extensive student participation is required throughout