Ecological Restoration Courses

Courses open for registration

Core Courses

Restoration Ecology

This course provides advanced instruction on the ecological theory underlying restoration projects, emphasizing the unexpected connections that can have significant implications.

The material in this course falls into two broad themes:

  • ecological foundations: applications of ecology to advance restoration
  • ecological practice: using restoration to solve a problem in ecology
Special Topics: Climate Change in Ecological Restoration

Climate change has many implications for how we conceptualize and practice ecological restoration. In this new online course, you will explore how climate change can impact the direction of restoration activities through course activities and exploration of current literature. This course may be taken as a stand-alone or as part of the Ecological Restoration Professional Specialization Certificate program.

Design Principles for Natural Processes

Ecological restoration is a rapidly changing subject. Practitioners and professionals faced with restoration of degraded ecosystems are seeking ways to restore these systems in the face of climate change and continued urban expansion.

The traditional values and assumptions that have gone along with developments are no longer holding true. Answering the questions faced by restoration professionals requires exploring a new approach to the field of restoration. New questions need to be asked and answered as restoration takes on a much broader role in the world.

This course aims to address these new challenges to traditional reclamation and restoration by identifying natural processes involved in maintaining ecosystems and how they are recreated in restoration projects. It also addresses the element of design where a particular restoration project accommodates special requirements.

Ecosystem Design through Propagation of Native Plants

This is an advanced course on ecosystem design that considers the ecology and reproductive biology of plants when restoring ecosystems. In this course, we’ll examine the principles and ethics of native plant selection, harvesting and propagation to meet site-specific design objectives such as which species need to be closely matched genetically (geographically) for the propagated stock.

Other course topics include:

  • pollinators
  • peripheral populations
  • dispersal agents
  • hybridization.

We’ll also explore the implications for green or living roofs and the impact of climate change.

The course includes an overview of the goals and foundations of ecological restoration and how restoration nurseries grow appropriate restoration species.

Invasive Species and Novel Ecosystems

Invasive species are highly successful species often dispersed by people, frequently transported by commercial or recreational activities. In this course we’ll examine the biology of invasive species, focusing on the life-history adaptations and dispersal strategies that contribute to their success at both the individual and population levels.

Upon completing the course, you’ll be able to:

  • identify common invasive species
  • describe their distributions, life cycles, growth habits, reproductive characteristics and adaptation

You’ll also learn about control options including preventative, cultural, biological and chemical control methods.

Finally, you’ll explore novel ecosystems that are created when invasive species insert themselves into the fabric of natural ecosystems, and the problems they pose to traditional approaches to ecosystem management such as when an endangered species becomes dependent on an invasive species for its survival.


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