Capstone Course: Global Perspectives In Natural Resource Conservation (cons452)

Course Description

Navigating the transition to a sustainable world is humanity’s current challenge. This will require fostering resilient interacting systems of people and ecosystems (resilient social-ecological systems). In this course, students will utilize a suite of tools and ideas useful in managing ecosystem services in a sustainable way. Each week we focus on a different theme related to sustainability and resilience, and work as small teams to apply these ideas to a set of diverse landscapes throughout the world.

Much of the lab exercises and group projects involve “hands-on” spatial analysis of land cover change using GIS and remote sensing. We also explore the utility of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) in evaluating sustainability decisions. These quantitative approaches help us move beyond arm-waving about sustainability to making some tough choices, using the best available scientific information. We also consider the cross-scale linkages between local management and global sustainability and, in particular, how to incorporate the perspectives of local and indigenous people through techniques such as participatory mapping.



Sarah Gergel   (

Jeanine Rhemtulla   (

Hisham Zerriffi (


Teaching Assistants:

Senior Geomatics: Tanya Gallagher (

Geomatics: Kevin Yang (

Geomatics: Jenny Huang (

Geomatics: Gabriela Barragan (

Professional Development & Writing: Karly Harker (


Required Textbooks:

Resilience Thinking by Brian Walker and David Salt (2006)

Writing Science in Plain English by Anne E. Greene

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans


Meeting Time / Place:

  • Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs 11:00-2:00 (
  • Location: FSC 1003 – lecture hall, FSC 1404 and 1406 – computer lab

Please email us directly to schedule office hour visits (by appointment).


More course materials can be found on canvas.