Ecosystem restoration

Given the current speed of habitat and species loss caused by human development, the restoration of degraded ecosystem is one of the greatest challenges humankind is facing. For this reason, the United Nations declared the current decade (2021-2030) as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This global effort will need from experts on ecosystem science, management and design to have a deep understanding of how ecosystems recover from human disturbance and how we can use this knowledge to increase the currently limited performance of restoration practice. This course is particularly suited for students with interests in nature conservation, the natural component of landscape architecture, or ecosystem management in a broad sense. This course is cross-listed with the Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology, which will allow students from both disciplines to exchange their knowledge in a multidirectional learning environment where we all will address real world restoration cases. In this year’s edition, we will focus on the restoration of New England’s ecosystems. We will work in parallel to an ongoing research project to understand the recovery of New England’s ecosystem over the last 300 years since the abandonment of most of the farms created by the original settlers. Through research, we will learn how forests and other ecosystems have changed during this time to apply that knowledge to a real restoration project that students will develop. We will have key inputs from guest lectures coming from restoration companies with many years of experience restoring ecosystems worldwide. They will help us find targeted tools to support and design ecosystems both in urban and natural environments in the New England context. We will increase our understanding of what nature is for humans and the Earth system and will increase our connection to it through self-guided field trips. At least, one previous course in ecology or a similar topic is required. This course will arm you with one of the most important tools to work with and for nature in the coming decades.

Course structure: We will meet once a week on Friday at 8 am for two hours. The main structure of the course is divided into two main parts. The first part will be a discussion about the readings that will be assigned, which will focus on gaining a scientific and practical understanding of restoration. The second part will focus on case study analysis and a restoration project developed by students’ teams. Additionally, we will have guest lecturers from restoration companies and the academia and self-guided field trips to local restoration efforts in students’ residence areas.

?Note: the instructor will offer live course presentations on 01/19-01/21. To access the detailed schedule and Zoom links, please visit the Live Course Presentations Website. If you need assistance, please contact Estefanía Ibáñez.