ENV 674b () / 2023-2024

Forest Ecosystem Health

Credits: 4

Spring 2024: Time and location TBA

This course is an introduction to the biotic and abiotic agents affecting the health of forest ecosystems and forest sustainability, including insects, pathogens, parasites, climate change, and other large-scale disturbances, and includes the consideration of linkages between forest health and human health. Using a case-study approach, several different forest types are examined in detail, with students interacting with research and management professionals who visit the class in person or via remote conferencing. Students learn concepts and methods of assessing forest health, as well as some of the challenges in describing and defining forest health. The course emphasizes the ecological roles played by disturbance agents (both biotic and abiotic), discusses how they affect the health and sustainability of forest ecosystems, and identifies when and how management can be used to improve forest health and/or forest sustainability to manage or mitigate disturbance agents such as invasive pathogens and insects. The course provides students with the necessary background to determine how different stressors may negatively impact management objectives, to identify the probable stress agents, and to decide what, if any, actions should be initiated to protect forest health and sustainability. The course includes several field trips and workshops on the weekends.