Political Ecology of Land

Political Ecology of Land
Fall and Winter Quarters, 2006-2007
Carolyn Dobbs and Ralph Murphy

Political Ecology of Land is a two quarter, upper division program in Environmental Studies for junior and seniors. The purpose of this program is to develop a deep, substantive understanding of the ways land resources are managed primarily in the United States. During the Fall Quarter a broad framework of analysis will be developed. This framework will examine constitutional, historical, political and economic, and cultural and ethical considerations that impact the use and conservation of land resources. We will look at concepts of property, land as commodity and resource, and values that people bring to their views and decisions about land. The impact of population growth, economic expansion, urbanization and industrialization and opportunities for citizen based initiatives and community self determination will be explored. By the end of the Fall Quarter we will have developed a broad understanding of issues relevant to understanding land management practices. Likewise, each student will develop her/his land ethic, modeled after Aldo Leopoldís land ethic essay.

Winter Quarter will build on Fall Quarter and will develop a specific understanding of how we achieve management goals for land. This will entail building knowledge about land use planning and regulation, growth management, stewardship of natural resource lands (especially adaptive management and landscape ecology and planning), endangered species, wilderness, shoreline management, SEPA and NEPA, watershed planning and riparian management. Relevant environmental law will be examined as will the structure and function of government agencies that implement land regulatory policy. Our expectation is that by the end of Winter Quarter, students will have sufficient background and preparation in land management issues to be able to work in internships and entry level employment opportunities related to land management.

During both quarters, one day field trips will be used to illustrate key issues we are considering in the classrooms. Workshops in statistics, social science field research methods, economics and economic development, public sector budgeting, fiscal impact analysis, urban design, and professional presentation techniques will be a significant part of the curriculum. These skills are essential to effective land management. Assignments will include seminar papers, exams, field research, poster projects, research paper and public hearing/ professional presentation and testimony. To receive credit, all aspects of the program must be successfully completed


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