F&ES 683 Tropical Forest Restoration

Example video from the course

Tropical Forest Restoration in Human Dominated Landscapes

This seminar invites students to explore the social, biological, and political processes that shape reforestation in tropical regions. Students will learn about the science and management of forest restoration; discuss social catalysts and challenges; and become familiar with the methodologies, procedures, and assessments of reforestation in tropical Asia and Latin America. 

The course is divided into six modules, each lasting one week. Each module includes videos, readings, resources, discussions, and assignments, completed asynchronously at the learner’s own pace. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to meet 2-3 times with Yale Professors, ELTI Guest Experts, and the fellow participants during live online discussions.
  • Week 1 will cover the ecology, disturbance, and regeneration potential of tropical forests.
  • Week 2 will discuss the sociopolitical and cultural aspects of restoration.
  • In Week 3, students will learn about effective practices and strategies for restoration as determined by the particular biological needs of the region.
  • During Week 4, the focus will shift to the integration of restoration and production goals.
  • Week 5 will discuss how such projects are monitored and followed up over time.
  • Finally, Week 6 will have students evaluate a restoration/reforestation project as part of their final assignment.  
At the end of the course, participants will be granted a certificate signifying their completion of Tropical Forest Restoration in Human-Dominated Landscapes.

This is a wonderful and unique opportunity to connect with other alumni, interact with Yale faculty, and learn about an issue of immense importance for the future and sustainability of tropical forests.  

FAQs for This Course

  1. Why do you think alumni would be interested in taking this course?
    This course is designed for alumni who for professional and/or personal interest would like to learn more about the social, political, and ecological issues and techniques of forest restoration, reforestation, rehabilitation, regrowth, and other strategies for increasing tress and ecosystem services and products on tropical lands. The topic is of considerable importance given the large sociopolitical and land transformations that are on-going in many tropical regions. Facilitating ways to restore and conserve natural resources – while at the same time promoting sustainable development and human livelihoods – is critical to the design and implementation of effective and inclusive policies and programs.

    The course is designed to teach a way of thinking upheld by the teachings of Dr. Mark Ashton, Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Dr. Eva Garen, Director of the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI) at Yale, and Ms. Gillian Bloomfield, Training Coordinator of Online Programs for ELTI – that there is no set protocol for conducting forest management. Instead, the course teaches a process for analyzing the ecological conditions, disturbance history, sociopolitical and cultural factors, and restoration objectives for site-based planning and adaptive management of forest restoration in the broadest sense of the word. Additionally, the course is enriched with case studies and perspectives based on the diverse network and experience of ELTI, which, since 2006, has been working on the ground with key partners in the tropics to build the capacity for restoration of tree cover and ecosystem services and the maintenance of human livelihoods.
  2. What are the specific learning objectives of the course?·     
    Present basic principles of tropical forest ecology, natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and how those disturbances affect the potential for the regeneration of forest and tree cover and ecosystem services, using the most current science;

    Provide a process to evaluate and compare an array of tropical forest restoration methodologies and how the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of a site influence decision-making about which strategies to utilize;

    Provide the opportunity for participants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to meet and share experiences, concepts, and tools with each other, the Yale and ELTI facilitators, and guest experts from ELTI partners and ELTI staff members working in the tropics (Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and the Philippines).
  3. How will the course be run?
    The course will take place over six weeks and each participant will be expected to commit to 8-10 hours of coursework per week. The majority of that time will be “asynchronous” – according to the individual schedules of the course participants – with assignments due every Monday. There will also be live discussion sections with guest experts that will require the participants to be available at specific times. The scheduling of those live discussion sections will be conducted in the first week of class to best meet the schedules of enrolled participants.

    The main people involved in the delivery of the course are:
    · Gillian Bloomfield (M.F.S. 2010), the course facilitator and a staff member at Yale University’s Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative, and Nina Dewi Horstman (M.E.M. Candidate 2016), the teaching assistant and a current F&ES Master’s student. Both Gillian and Nina will guide the participants through the course experience and serve as the principal liaisons between the students and the course contributors.
    · Drs. Mark Ashton and Eva Garen, along with other guest experts and professors at Yale F&ES and ELTI partners on the ground, will deliver online lectures, participate in live discussion sections, and provide answers to subject-specific questions.
  4. What types of learning tools will be used (online lectures, blogs, etc.)?
    The online course employs a variety of learning tools, including:
    ·  Interactive presentations that provide a synthesis of the core concepts of each week;
    ·  Pre-recorded guest lectures that simultaneously depict the audiovisual of the speaker along with PowerPoint slides;
    ·  Optional and required readings to complement the presentations;
    ·  Case studies providing restoration examples;
    ·  Discussion sections conducted live with guest experts;
    ·  Weekly assignments which will evaluate the participant’s understanding of the content;
    ·  A rich electronic library of materials and literature on restoration by country and topic; and
    ·  Discussion forums for individual and group exchange.
  5. What types of assignments must participants complete?
    ·  Weekly evaluations and discussion postings demonstrating the participant’s understanding of the content.
    ·  Literature reviews on a specific aspect of forest restoration according to the participant’s interest.
    ·  Final projects evaluating a specific restoration project according to the participant’s interest. 
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