ENV113 - Restoration Ecology

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:26:39.71
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:26:47.845

Subject Title
Restoration Ecology

Subject Description
This Course will examine some of the practices to renew or restore ecosystems and habitats that were damaged or destroyed by human intervention. Restoration projects purpose is to change disturbed areas into functioning ecosystems, able to provide ecosystem services or function as a natural habitat again.
A great example is the watershed protection program of the rivers providing water to New York City. The project initiated in the early 1990's, as a result of critical issues with the city water quality. A water treatment plant would involve 6 billion USD for construction, and 300 million USD for annual maintenance after that. Restoring the wetland ecosystems able to filter the water and eliminate toxic chemicals had a cost of 1 billion USD over 10 years.
The course will analyze the biological and physical aspects of restoration ecology. It also will emphasize the role played by society in a successful restoration project. Guidance for the design of a natural ecosystem restoration project will be provided. 23 different case studies are presented in the course, and will provide practical tools and techniques already tested on the field of restoration ecology projects.

Credit Status
One credit towards the Environmental Management Certificate Program

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Review environmental concepts, and discuss the need to incorporate ecology projects to avoid pollution from the start-up of existing projects.
  2. Discuss the different tools and techniques used in restoration and remediation projects.
  3. Classify the physical, biotic, and human issues of restoration of natural ecosystems.
  4. Explain the human impact on ecosystems, and the social aspects of restoration ecology projects, and the need of long term management programs.
  5. Assess different environmental situations, and be able to construct solutions to identified problems.
  6. Communicate with external stakeholders regarding restoration and remediation projects.
  7. Identify the appropriate tools and techniques required for restoration projects.
  8. Formulate a restoration plan using integration of scientific data, models and approaches with human needs and attitudes (social sciences).
  9. List a number of options for the restoration/reclamation of a particular site and predict the anticipated outcome of each option.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline
4. Course Objectives

The course is divided into eight units. The actual sequence of the units may be subject to change.

Unit I Introduction to Restoration - Review of Environmental Concepts Learning Outcome Reference Number
1.1  Outline the levels of biological organization studied by ecologists. [1]
1.2 Identify the two characteristics that are used to compare communities. [1]
1.3 Explain two types of ecological succession. [1]
1.4 Outline the types of interactions in communities. [1]
1.5 Contrast autotrophs with heterotrophs. [1]
1.6 Describe chemical cycling and energy flow in ecosystems. [1]
1.7 Outline the major types of ecosystems in the biosphere. [1]
1.8 Contrast present with future human population growth. [1,4]
1.9 Contrast human population growth in more-developed countries with less-developed countries. [1,4]
1.10 Describe the factors that determine population growth. [1,4]
1.11 Explain the two patterns of population growth. [1,4]
1.12 Describe the factors that regulate population growth. [1,4]
1.13 Describe the two fundamental life history patterns. [1,4]
1.14 Outline the three factors that influence vulnerability of equilibrium populations to extinction. [1,4]
1.15 Analyze current state of the world, Ecology services, and prevention versus remediation. [1,4]
Unit II Ecosystem functioning - Tools and Techniques – prescribed fire  
2.1 Discuss the implications of a restoration ecology project based on the definition, the interdisciplinary nature of the project, the unpredictability of natural ecosystems evolution, and the experimental phase of this area of natural sciences. [2,3,4]
Describe the most common approaches for a restoration ecology project. [2,3]
2.3 Explain how variable the scope of a restoration ecology project can be, and the sustainability of a global restoration project. [2,3]
2.4 Outline the basic techniques and tools commonly used in restoration ecology as: Erosion control, reforestation, use of genetically local species, removal of non-native species and weeds, re-vegetation of disturbed areas, re-introduction of native species, habitat and range improvement, physical restoration. [2,3]
2.5 Describe ecosystems disturbances by magnitude and type (stress, abrupt change, frequency, magnitude, duration, and severity). [2,3,5,6]
2.6 Define fragmentation, and the impact it has on ecosystems. [2,3]
2.7 Discuss the human impact on nutrient and hydrological cycles. [2,3]
2.8 Outline the role of driver, passenger, engineer, and keystone species in an ecosystem. [2,3]
2.9 Explain fire impact on ecosystems, how fire suppression affects fire- adapted ecosystems, and the use of prescribed burning as a technique to keep a grassland biome healthy. [2,3,5,6]
Unit III Biodiversity – Increase of genetic pool as a restoration technique  
Discuss different threats to biodiversity, as fragmentation, invasive species, chemical pollution, hybridization, and overhunting. [2,3]
3.2 Analyze extinction, and its effect on the genetic pool of a given population. [2,3]
3.3 Outline different techniques to restore genetic diversity in an ecosystem, and highlight the importance of it. [2,3]
3.4  Describe what consideration to be taken in different stages of seeds manipulation: harvesting, production, processing, storage, evaluation, germination, dormancy, and priming. [2,3]
3.5 Explain the direct relationship between biodiversity and ecosystems stability. [2,3]
3.6 Discuss a case study of a tall grass prairie restoration by increasing biodiversity. [2,3,5,6]
Unit IV Theories of succession – Management of a succession as part of a restoration technique  
4.1 Examine different theories and models of succession. [2,3]
4.2 Describe how successional theories may assist on predicting possible outcomes of a restoration project. [2,3]
4.3 Outline key factors involved in the restoration of primary and secondary succession communities. [2,3]
4.4 Recognize the influence of animals in a succession. [2,3]
4.5 Analyze succession management techniques, and discuss the possible outcomes of different techniques (reducing or inducing disturbances, introduction or removal of species). [2,3]
4.6 Outline an appropriate technique for nutrient and hydrological management. [2,3]
4.7 Discuss a restoration of a primary site case study. [2,3,5,6]
Unit V Assembly – Models with different end points for a restoration project  
5.1 Outline equilibrium theory of island biogeography. [2,3]
5.2 Discuss ecosystems resilience and stability. [2,3]
5.3 Analyze alternative stable states as the appropriate alternative for a restoration project. [2,3]
5.4 Explain assembly rules as sequence of introduction, species compatibility, ecosystems thresholds and filters. [2,3]
5.5 Describe the unified Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography.  [2,3]
5.6 Discuss the relationship between resilience and ecosystem restoration. [2,3,5,6]
5.7 Analyze how the phylogenetic structure of plant communities provides guidelines for restoration. [2,3,5,6]
Unit VI Landscape ecology and restoration projects  
6.1 Define landscape ecology, and its implications. [2,3]
6.2 Analyze connectivity, matrix restoration, corridors, and stepping stones. [2,3]
6.3 Describe meta-population networks and dynamics, discussing the role of source and sink populations. [2,3]
6.4 Discuss examples of meta-population restoration projects. [2,3]
6.5 Outline passive restoration as an approach on landscape restoration. [2,3]
6.6 Discuss a case study using the meta-population approach. [2,3,5,6]
Unit VII Invasive species  
7.1 Describe the process of invasion and its impact on an ecosystem. [2,3]
7.2 Contrast different methods of control: prevention, eradication, containment, chemical, and biological. [2,3]
7.3 Analyze restoration as a strategy to control invasive species.  [2,3]
7.4 Explain the role of niche pre-emption, fire management, and increase in biotic and abiotic resistance, as strategies to control invasive species.  [2,3]
7.5 Discuss two cases of invasive species in North America.  [2,3,5,6]
Unit VIII      Soil degradation and restoration  
8.1 Describe different factors affecting soil erosion. [2,3]
8.2 Define desertification, and understand how it impacts human population, and the role of mankind in the process of desertification.  [2,3,4]
8.3 Outline soil conservation methods, and restoration of nutrients and microorganisms. [2,3]
8.4 Discuss two case studies of soil restoration.  [2,3]
Unit IX Sand Dunes Restoration  
9.1 Highlight the importance of dunes as a worldwide ecosystem.  [2,3]
9.2 Analyse invasive species, human activity, and global warming as dunes disturbance factors.  [2,3,4]
9.3 Discuss different restoration strategies for dunes ecosystems as beach nourishment, dune building fences, and native plants.  [2,3]
9.4 Identify long term dunes management approaches. [2,3,4]
9.5 Discuss two case studies of dunes restoration. [2,3,5,6]
Unit X Mines and polluted sites restoration approaches  
10.1 Explain the impact of mine processes on the surrounding ecosystems. [2,3,4]
10.2 Describe different factors to be considered on mines restoration, as Surface stabilizers, metal-tolerant genotypes, stockpiled soil, commercial grasses, and native plants. [2,3]
10.3 Outline the importance of monitoring on mines restoration projects. [2,3]
10.4 Discuss phytoremediation as a mine restoration technique. [2,3]
10.5 Distinguish the difference between hyper-accumulator or metal chelates as tools for phytoremediation.  [2,3]
10.6 List the criteria use for bioremediation, and the pros and cons of it. [2,3]
10.7 Outline the requirements for bioremediation. [2,3]
10.8 Describe land-farming as a remediation technique. [2,3]
10.9 Discuss three restoration case studies: a goldmine, a lead polluted soil, and a pesticide contaminated area.  [2,3,5,6]
Unit XI Forest Restoration  
11.1 Outline the importance of forest degradation around the world. [2,3,4]
11.2 Describe the main factors involved in forest degradation (deforestation, human settlement, land mismanagement, pollution). [2,3,4]
11.3 Contrast de use of passive versus active forest restoration. [2,3]
11.4 Explain the use of existing vegetation as a regeneration niche for other species. [2,3]
11.5 Outline the high importance of tropical rain forest restoration to offset global warming. [2,3]
11.6 Analyze the different threats of the tropical rain forest ecosystems. [2,3]
11.7 Outline different steps for TRF restoration. [2,3]
11.8 Discuss a case study of forest remediation in Nova Scotia.  [2,3,5,6]
Unit XII Endangered animals restoration  
12.1 Explain the importance of restoration of critical habitat as a key factor for endangered animal’s restoration. [2,3]
12.2 Analyze role of area threshold, and carrying capacity for the success of an endangered animal’s restoration project. [2,3]
12.3 Describe the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) in an endangered animal’s restoration project. [2,3]
12.4 Describe issues involved in captive breeding as genetic structure and genetic variation. [2,3]
12.5 Analyze some examples of captive breeding, and the role of zoos in captive breeding practices (panda, black footed ferret, and California condor). [2,3,5,6]
12.6 Define translocation and reintroduction by soft release and hard release. [2,3]
12.7 Discuss a case study of reintroduction of a fish population in the rivers of Montana. [2,3,5,6]
Unit XIII Aquatic ecosystems: Wetlands, lakes, and rivers  
13.1 Discuss degradation of aquatic ecosystems, wetlands, lakes, and rivers. [2,3,4]
13.2 Contrast between passive and active restoration of wetlands. [2,3]
13.3 Analyze a large scale wetland restoration project. [2,3]
13.4 Outline lake restoration techniques, with an overview of the restoration efforts performed in the Great Lakes, and a small shallow lake in the United Kingdom.  [2,3]
13.5 Explain some of the key factors involved in river restoration, either by passive or active approaches.  [2,3]
13.6 Describe restoration of the North Atlantic Salmon techniques used, as an example of restoration of rivers. [2,3,5,6]
13.7 Analyze three different river restoration case studies.  [2,3,5,6]
Unit XIV Management of restoration projects  
14.1 Highlight the importance of active participation of all stakeholders from the “setting goals” stage of the restoration project, as a technique to minimize conflict. [2,3,4]
14.2 Describe the need of a coordinated resource management and planning with the participation of a multidisciplinary team, with emphasis of communication and technology exchange between all stakeholders. [2,3,4]
14.3 Analyze de importance of an action plan and a model or pilot project as a way to gain political acceptance. [2,3,4]
14.4 Emphasizes the importance of adaptive management as a “fine tuning” or “adjusting” technique in a restoration project. [2,3,4]
14.5 Outline the importance of monitoring as a quality control of a restoration project. [2,3,4]
14.6 Describe the importance of an aftercare program and final assessment as tools to measure the success of a restoration project in a long term. [2,3,4]
14.7 Discuss environmental legislation and international agreements related to ecology restoration projects. [2,3,4]
14.8 Identify pieces of the federal legislation dealing, related, or protecting wetlands, mine lands, invasive non-native species, soil erosion, human population overgrowth, desertification, and biodiversity. [2,3,4]
14.9 Discuss two case studies where integrated efforts, and decision making where key factors for the success of the project. [2,3,4]
Unit XV Final Assignment Project  
15.1 Identify an ecosystem of special interest to create a tentative restoration project, and communicate with stakeholders, to understand their needs and input.  [1 –  9]
15.2 Design a remediation project, using an integrated approach, and the appropriate tools and techniques. [5,6,7,8,9]
15.3 List the number of options for the restoration/reclamation of the site, and predict the possible outcomes. [5,6,7,8,9]
15.4 Formulate a tentative long term management program for the site. [5,6,7,8,9]

Mode of Instruction
On-Line Delivery
This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities.

Prescribed Texts
Title:  Restoration Ecology
Author:  Greipsson, S.
Publisher:  Jones and Bartlett Learning
Edition:  1st
ISBN-10:  0763742198
ISBN-13:  9780763742195

Reference Material

Required Supplies

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A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
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UNSAT Unsatisfactory

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On-Line Delivery
Evaluation will include a variety of methods, including quizzes, assignments and final project report. Completion of all quizzes mandatory.

The following elements will determine the student’s final grade:
2 Tests (20% each) 40%
Assignments  10%
Quizzes (best 10/13) 5%
Final project  25%
Final Exam 20%
Total 100%

The final exam must be written at the Test Centre of the College at which you registered. If you are unable to do so, please make alternative arrangements through the College at which you registered.

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Approved by: Sharon Estok