Courses open for registration
This course gives students an understanding of biodiversity and conservation biology as scientific disciplines whose aims are to reduce impacts of human activities on biological diversity. We’ll explore the following topics:
We’ll also look at possible human interventions for stemming the loss of biodiversity including creating and maintaining protected areas, restoration and species recovery strategies, laws, policies and programs.
This course involves a planning and participating in a real restoration project. The project is usually done in partnership with a community group, government department or industry partner. If you are working in a related field, the project can be based on activities for your job with prior approval from the Academic Administrator.
ER390 could also build on a project you have done in another RNS field-based course such as ER312A or ER312B, but you cannot re-use your projects for ER390 credit and you must collect a significant amount of new data. You may develop your own project or you may contact us for suggestions.
To get project approval, please contact Val Schaefer (email@example.com or 250-472-4387).
You can find sample reports here.
The expected time commitment for this course is approximately 100 hours, spread over 1 year or less. All RNS students must complete a final project to obtain their diploma or certificate.
Please also see ER400: Seminar in Environmental Restoration. ER400 consists of the ER390 presentation and a portfolio that is a compilation of the major projects from ER311, 312A and 312B plus one elective to be determined in consultation with the RNS Program’s Academic Administrator.
Environmental restoration is a value-laden activity. It takes place within a societal framework of ethics, laws and politics. Ethics influence which actions are considered appropriate by society, while laws determine what is legally required or permissible and policies govern how things are done. What is ecologically desirable is not always socially acceptable.
This course considers the philosophy and ethics of restoration and introduces the legal and policy frameworks in which environmental restoration takes place, and which play a critical role in dealing with the practical issues of carrying out a restoration project.
This course is meant to introduce you to a range of basic techniques for field study. You will learn some basic methodologies commonly used in the field of ecological restoration including:
As this is a course on field techniques, we will spend a lot of time outdoors, both on campus and at several field locations in the Victoria area.
This is an advanced field study course involving ecosystem mapping and detailed site evaluation (prescription). The first two mornings will be spent in the classroom, but the course will largely be taught in the field at sites on Royal Roads/DND lands.
The course involves:
An important focus is to observe and recognize successional patterns as clues to restoration strategies.
This course introduces you to the practice of ecological restoration. We’ll start by examining the physical and biological characteristics of ecosystems as well as the need to maintain and restore them. We’ll also examine natural and human-caused changes, at ecosystem to species levels, while considering the philosophy and ethics of restoration within legal and policy frameworks.
This course also introduces you to the process and techniques of assessing ecosystems and developing recommendations. In addition, you’ll develop your ability to combine and analyze factual scientific analysis of ecosystems in the context of human values and needs.
The emphasis is on examples from British Columbia but the approach applies to issues around the globe.
An advanced investigation into the meaning, limits, and significance of ecological restoration, including:
This course focuses on the role of communication and education in the restoration of natural systems, emphasizing the importance of clear communication including:
The objective of this course is to introduce a variety of learning traditions and communication skills that will help when dealing with the human aspect of ecological restoration.
The course addresses education from the broadest level. For example: teaching the public about ecological restoration, down to specific issues in the field requiring dispute resolution.
The course starts with an analysis of your own experiences and philosophies as well as traditions of ecological knowledge, inspiration and conflict. These explorations will act as a springboard to further discussion of theories and practices of education, communication and dispute resolution.
The course will examine a selection of ecological restoration projects that will present a range of specific sites. Projects will be reviewed using a variety of criteria including:
Case studies – geographic distribution
An international selection of case studies will be selected from British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and South America. The proposed case studies will be selected from a variety of ecosystems:
This course is a survey of world ecosystems, with special reference to British Columbia and Canada. Each ecosystem is discussed with respect to their distribution, composition, structure and function. The conservation status of these ecosystems is reviewed with focus on:
Ecosystem classification systems in Canada and British Columbia are also discussed in the course.
International organizations, governments and citizen organizations are concerned about the state of global forests, particularly their loss and degradation. The importance of forests in the global carbon cycle—and in mitigating and adapting to climate change—is now widely recognized.
This course aims to present and explore the issues, principles and concepts of forest restoration. It considers elements of sustainable forestry from the perspectives of all the values and services of forest ecosystems. You will be exposed to specific forest restoration strategies and techniques in the classroom and in the field.
This course examines mine reclamation and considers the impacts of mines—and mining practices—on natural systems and landscapes. Through lectures and on-site visits, we’ll discuss the following topics:
Concepts are presented using domestic and international case studies representing a variety of mine types.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are an often-overlooked resource in British Columbia. This is despite their importance to Aboriginal Peoples and an increasing realization that some products—such as edible mushrooms and floral greenery—support multi-million dollar industries. The general neglect of these resources means that there’s an inadequate regulatory environment, little research into sustainable levels of use and inadequate statistics on either the level or distribution of harvest.
The intent of this course is to provide an overview of NTFP ecology and use in British Columbia. It presents an ecological approach to managing NTFPs for an array of economic and cultural purposes:
By the end of the course, students will understand how NTFPs relate to the ecosystems that sustain them, and how to manage within this context.
This course provides students with a holistic view and appreciation for the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and a watershed approach to developing restoration plans. Topics include:
The course encourages students to consider restoration goals from a whole watershed perspective.
In this course, you’ll explore marine coastal systems and their restoration potential from an ecological perspective, with particular emphasis on the British Columbia/Washington coasts. Lectures focused on broader scale marine ecosystem impacts and restoration issues are supplemented by hands-on field exercises and research activities focusing on local issues.
This course introduces students to the principles of native plant selection and propagation to meet site-specific ecosystem restoration objectives.
Through a combination of class notes, selected readings and video presentations, we’ll focus on low-technology propagation techniques: by seed, vegetative methods and salvage of plant materials.
We’ll also examine the role of artificial propagation in ecosystem restoration, rehabilitation and reclamation, while considering the criteria for species selection and both ethical and scientific principles for the collection of propagation materials.
The course concludes with a discussion of the techniques of:
This course covers the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soils and their relationship to restoration. Topics include:
Topics for this course will vary each time it is offered. Past course topics include native plant propagation, environmental policy and fire ecology.
This course examines the systems of land and resource management traditionally practiced by Indigenous Peoples and the effects of these systems within the environment. Specifically, we’ll explore the role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)—also called local knowledge—in documenting and understanding the complexity of ecosystems, and consider the contributions of TEK and traditional land management to ecosystem maintenance and restoration.
The course will also address the question of how traditional land and resource management strategies can be incorporated into resource management programs, including ecological restoration.
Urban areas and agricultural lands are highly modified landscapes. In this course, we examine how an ecological perspective can be applied to restoring urban areas and approaches to agriculture that promote sustainability and support biodiversity. The course covers two related topics: urban restoration and urban agriculture including sustainable agricultural systems.
Urban restoration topics include:
Urban agriculture addresses permaculture, composting and organic gardening. Sustainable agriculture is approached from an agro-ecological perspective, and includes topics such as:
Local and international issues in agricultural sustainability are also discussed in this course.