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   (

Paul McFarlane   (

Jeanine Rhemtulla   (


Teaching Assistants:

Senior Geomatics: Tanya Gallagher (

Geomatics: David Williams (


Required Textbooks:

Resilience Thinking by Brian Walker and David Salt (2006)


Recommended Textbooks:

Linking Ecology & Poverty Reduction (available on-line from UBC library)

Volume 1: Ecological Dimensions


Meeting Time / Place:

  • Mon 10:00-12:00 (FSC 1220 and 1406 computer lab)
  • Tues/Thurs 11:30-1:30 (FSC 1613 and 1406 computer  lab)

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