ENV 744b () / 2024-2025

Conservation Science and Landscape Planning

Credits: 4

Spring 2025: Time and location TBA


This advanced course applies ecological principles to understand and manage biodiversity and attendant ecosystem functioning and services in the anthropocene. The course addresses the ethical and functional basis for conservation and fosters thinking about why and how humans ought to share the planet with nonhuman life. It covers scientific principles such as evolution, life-history and the viability of species, species endangerment and extinction risk, the kinds of biodiversity, the spatial distribution of biodiversity, the functional roles of species in ecosystems, vulnerability and risk assessments, and valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services. The course applies these principles to the exploration of such topics as biodiversity’s role in the functioning and sustainability of ecological systems, restoration of environmental damages, conserving biodiversity in dynamic landscapes, adapting landscapes to climate change, balancing conservation with urban development and agriculture, and renewable energy siting. It provides students with the quantitative skills to conduct population viability analyses, geospatial analyses of the distribution of biodiversity across landscapes, vulnerability analyses, and decision-analysis to balance trade-offs among multiple objectives of human land development and biodiversity conservation. Prerequisites: ENV 602aor equivalent course in population or community ecology, ENV 755b or equivalent course in GIS, and ENV 728a or equivalent course in statistical analysis of biological data. A course in economics or applied math for environmental studies is strongly encouraged