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ENVR 445/POLI 445: Forest Ecology and Policy

Taught in even Falls
Dr. Karen Arabas
Dr. Joe Bowersox

Course Description

This course takes seriously the notion that the management, restoration, and/or protection of forest resources requires knowledge of both ecological as well as social processes: far too often managers, policymakers, and citizens have only limited knowledge of one realm and perhaps none of the other. Hence, Forest Ecology and Policy seeks to overcome this dilemma by utilizing a case study approach integrating current understanding of forest policy and ecology. Because of its cross-disciplinary content, this course will require each of us to pay attention to types of information and knowledge with which we might be uncomfortable: scientists will have to consider the relevance of the methods of behavioral scientists, philosophers, and policy analysts; social scientists will be required to contemplate the ways of biologists, soil scientists, and biogeographers. Thus, keeping an open, engaged, and diligent mind is necessary for success in, and enjoyment of this course!

Specifically, this course will utilize both class and field instruction to develop the ecological and biogeographical knowledge necessary to assess current research on forest ecosystem health. Using the same venues, we will also explore the content and context of contemporary public and private policies informing forest management. Given our ideal location for such a program of study, we will focus primarily on the ecology and policies of Oregon forest ecosystems, highlighted by a week-long field trip prior to the start of school. We will stress a wide range of research in forest ecology and policy culminating in a practicum, in which each student works with a professional in the field of forest ecology and policy for a month.

Texts (may vary from year to year)

Arabas, K.B. and J. Bowersox (eds) 2004. Forest Futures: Science, Politics and Policy for the Next Century. Rowman and Littlefield.

Clarke, J.N. and D.C. McCool. 1996. Staking Out the Terrain: Power and Performance Among Natural Resource Agencies. SUNY Press.

Perry, D.A. and S.C. Hart. 2008. Forest Ecosystems. Johns Hopkins Press.

Puettmann, K.J.,C.C. Messier and K.D. Coates. 2009. A Critique of Silviculture: Managing for Complexity. Island Pess

Course Requirements

There will be two exams. The first exam will cover the field trip. The second exam will cover course materials following the field trip.

Each student will participate in a month long practicum in October. The practicum allows students to work closely with state agency personel and private foresters on topics such as forest pathogens, use of GIS in wildland fire, forest policy development and analysis, and forestry planning. The student practicum will be evaluated based on a paper written by the student (75 points) and a written evaluation by the practicum supervisor (25 points).

Discussion papers
Students will prepare two discussion papers based on guest lectures and readings.

Field Trip
Prior to the start of the semester the class will take a two week field trip through Oregon to view the wide variety of forest types and to learn about their ecology and related policy issues. Students will receive credit for demonstrating appropriate enthusiasm, citizenship, and engagement with the readings, lectures, and tour leaders while on the trip.

Attendance is expected and viewed as a minimal requirement for satisfactorily completing this course. Students who are absent more than twice times during the semester without a valid excuse (legitimate medical condition or mandatory university activity) will be penalized 10% from their total grade, and another 10% for each additional two absences. We have final discretion on what is considered a legitimate absence.


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Last Updated 01/13/2011