Global Change Ecology, Impacts and Mitigation [CRN 31305]

Discipline: Botany/Zoology
Instructor: Sherrod
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1100
End: 1220
Field Work: Day 6 | February 13, 2019 | Vietnam
Prerequisites: One (1) fundamentals of ecology course Download Syllabus

This course is designed for students who understand basic ecology concepts and are prepared to objectively examine the complicated issues surrounding global change ecology. We will cover the following major themes:

  • What We Know: We will use peer-reviewed scientific studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report to explore current understandings of and trends in global change ecology. After reviewing the basics of the global carbon budget and hydrology, we will evaluate climate impacts on oceans, terrestrial animal and plant populations, soils, invasive species, and disturbance regimes.
  • Management Responses: Conservation, adaptation, and mitigation will guide our discussions of land use strategies, species protection and reintroductions, alternative energy planning, and practical scales of management action. We also will explore lessons learned to date.
  • Politics, Policy, and Culture: This theme will scratch the surface of how global change affects economies, human health, public opinion and behavior, and policy. Facilitated class discussions will be a central tool of this section.

Because global change ecology has multidisciplinary implications, we welcome the perspectives of students with non-science majors.

This class is also offered as NR 353, through CSU’s College of Natural Resources.

Field Work

Country: Vietnam
Day: 6
Date: February 13, 2019

Students will travel to the Cần Giờ Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (CGMBR) in the coastal district of Ho Chi Minh City where the Mekong Delta meets the South China Sea.  Regarded as the lungs of the City, students will learn about site history (impacts of war, forestry, and shrimp export, followed by large-scale reforestation projects); current small- and large-scale stressors to the ecosystem; management objectives and challenges; and importance of the Reserve in responding to climate change.  Local ecologists and planners will meet us on-site and provide their perspectives and experiences, supplementing background material that the students read beforehand. Learning Objectives:

  1. Experience and observe a tropical mangrove forest and its associated estuaries, and gain exposure to ecologists working on conservation, climate change, and land use and management issues.
  2. Comprehend the ecological relationships between a large biosphere reserve and a densely inhabited city nearby and how these dynamics may shift under climate change scenarios.
  3. Explore potential solutions to global change being addressed at CGMBR, their perceived effectiveness, and which sectors (local community, government, academia, international support, NGOs) are most relevant to their implementation.