This major is designed for students who are interested in understanding how to manage and restore wildland and rangeland plant communities. Courses are selected to provide an interdisciplinary background that encompasses ecology, applied plant biology, and the social sciences. Students will acquire a core understanding of natural and managed ecosystems and how they function, interact with the natural environment, are connected with human society and social change, and are restored and managed.
The Program. The curriculum provides depth in the ecological and botanical sciences directed toward an integrated understanding of how communities and ecosystems function and how this knowledge can assist in their management and restoration. Courses in environmental policy and law expose the students to the social drivers and constraints of ecosystem management. All students gain practical experience through practical field courses and a required internship. Students may also pursue an Honors thesis in their senior year.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Be able to articulate the fundamental principles of the following, and how they relate to ecological restoration:
- Plant community structure and change
- Plant genetics and ecotypes
- Weed science
- Soil structure and chemistry
- Understand the different stages of the restoration process.
- Understand the scientific method, and various methods of assessing biotic and abiotic conditions (restoration outcomes) in the field.
- Understand and be able to articulate how a knowledge of different disciplinary fields are integrated into successful restoration practices.
Career Alternatives. Graduates from this program are prepared to pursue a wide range of careers, including positions in ecological restoration and ecosystem management; rangeland and reserve management; environmental consulting; public, private, or non-profit agencies concerned with restoration and natural resource management; Cooperative Extension; teaching; information and communication services. Graduates are qualified to pursue advanced studies in fields such as ecology, agroecology, environmental studies, geography or weed science.