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Course Offerings

Course Details

Fall 2013-2014
* EEB 341 / ENV 341  

Water, Savannas, and Society: Global Change and Sustainability in Africa's Hallmark Ecosystem

Lyndon D. Estes

Savannas have played an important role in shaping human societies, including our evolution as a species. That role will grow, as savannas must be increasingly harnessed to meet growing demands for food, fuel, and fiber. Starting with a primer on savanna ecology, this course will examine the ecological and societal issues surrounding our use of African savannas. A key focus will be to explore tradeoffs between agricultural development, ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage), biodiversity, and existing livelihoods, how those tradeoffs can be optimized to achieve sustainability, and how climate change will complicate such efforts.

Sample reading list:
Hill and Hanan, Ecosystem Function in Savannas: Measurement and Modeling
Scholes and Walker, An African Savanna: Synthesis of the Nylsvley Study

Reading/Writing assignments:
Readings will consist of review and research articles from the primary literature, in addition to book chapters and reports from the development/NGO sectors (approximately 35-50 pages per class). Students will work to identify and quantify ecological, social, and economic tradeoffs in developing Africa's savannas, culminating in a final paper (~6000-8000 words). Other assignments include homework, in-class presentations, and a midterm exam.

Mid Term Exam - 30%
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Assignments will entail some analytical work involving geographic information systems and statistics..

Other information:
Classes will be conducted as a mix of lectures, guest lectures, discussion, and practical activity. A key coursework (and student evaluation) component will entail working in teams to identify and quantify ecological and economic tradeoffs in developing Africa's savannas. Students will be further evaluated on class preparedness and participation, formal presentations, a midterm exam, and a final paper related to the practical component of the coursework.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20508 L01 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm M W   Lewis Library   117   Enrolled:10 Limit:18
P01 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm T   Guyot Hall   100   Enrolled:0 Limit:18