In this course we will cover the basic concepts in ecology as they apply to forests in the context of current forest ecology research. We will study the biological and ecological bases behind the current challenges forest ecosystems face under global change (i.e., climate change, landscape fragmentation, pollution, introduced species). We will also review the role and impact of humans on these communities, focusing on the services forests ecosystems provide and the emergence of urban ecology.
Part of the course will involve critical discussions of current literature in the field. Students will subscribe to the email alerts of major ecological journals and present summaries of published work related to the topics we are covering to the class on a regular basis.
Labs will consist on field trips during the first half of semester and wet-labs and computer labs during the second half. For these labs we will have the opportunity to collect and analyze field data and then learn about all the steps required in the scientific process. The projects will involve sampling of forest biodiversity, estimation of tree species demographic parameters, and measurement of forest carbon pools. Data collected in the field will be processed in the lab and analyzed during the computer labs. The goal of the computer labs will be to develop basic predictive models that will allow us to forecast the structure and composition of future forests.