NREM 302: Natural Resources and Environmental Policy [FALL 2016]. This undergraduate course is designed to provide an in-depth review of environmental policy, with a focus on United States federal policy. Sustaining natural resources and the quality of our shared environment requires a range of social actors (e.g. resource-users, NGOs, businesses, governments) to develop, implement, enforce, and monitor the “rules of conduct” intended to influence human behavior with regard to the environment. Understanding how these rules are developed—and whether or not they have their intended effect—is the heart of understanding environmental policy. Using an interdisciplinary lens, this course examines how diverse social actors develop solutions to environmental problems at local, state, national, and global levels. The course focuses on what constitutes effective environmental policy. We discuss important concepts and methods, both theoretical and practical, developed mainly through exploring studies relevant in developing and implementing effective natural resource and environmental management policy.
NREM 631 (co-taught with Rebecca Ryals): Sustainable Agriculture Seminar – Managing terrestrial agricultural ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation [FALL 2016]. This graduate level seminar explores the science and human dimensions of managing agricultural systems in the context of climate change. The course includes presentation and discussion of emerging topics in climate change adaptation and mitigation for terrestrial crop and livestock production systems. Participants will learn how to evaluate the socio-ecological tradeoffs of diverse strategies including greenhouse gas emissions reduction, land sparing versus land sharing, payments for ecosystem services, application of agro-ecological principles, water use efficiency, crop switching, crop-livestock integration, crop insurance, early-warning systems, and genetic engineering. The course will draw heavily from readings from scientific journals and white papers addressing ecological and social aspects of agricultural climate mitigation and adaptation. Using these readings as a starting point, the instructors will facilitate discussions of the ecological, social, economic, ethical, and cultural opportunities and barriers. In Fall 2016, this course will be taught as part of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, and will be available online via University of Hawai’i Outreach College. This is part of a year-long seminar series about sustainable agriculture – look for a second class taught in spring 2017!
NREM 491/691: Agricultural Land Use [FALL 2016]. This upper-level undergraduate (491) and graduate (691) course explores how and why people have appropriated land for terrestrial agriculture, and the effects of such land use on ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycles, and human livelihoods. The first few weeks of the course will tackle the theoretical and technical aspects of land use for agriculture. The middle section of class will cover major trends and dynamics in agricultural land use at multiple local to global scales. Finally, in the last weeks we will discuss potential approaches to ensuring sufficient food production for our growing population while protecting the natural environment and human well-being. The major assignment for the course is a mock proposal requesting funding to address a critical land use change research question or management/policy problem. In addition, students will learn how to build and run a basic land change model, analyze publicly available tabular land change data, and lead a class discussion about one reading for the semester.