Plants are the basal resource for virtually all other life on earth.  Humans appropriate approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of all plant productivity.  This is clearly unsustainable, representing not only a threat to plants but also to all animals, including humans, which depend on plants for their existence.  In this course we will explore the ways in which humans use plants and the various human-mediated threats to plant biodiversity. 


In this course we will cover a breadth of threats at all scales, for example ranging from small-scale harvesting of wood for charcoal production to massive deforestation of tropical forests for soybean and oil-palm production to global climate change.  Beyond looking at the threats to plant diversity we will also explore and critique potential management strategies proposed to mitigate the loss of plant diversity due to human disturbances.  For example we will examine the costs and benefits of increased legislation, sustainable harvesting techniques and ecotourism, as well as newly proposed strategies against global climate change such as assisted migration, biofuels, the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs), and proposed legislation on Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). 


Throughout the course we will emphasis the relevance of plant conservation to the South Florida/Miami area, using topical and local examples and case studies – for example focusing on the problems of introduced species which has serious environmental and economic implications for the South Florida region.  The proposed course will make extensive use of current events.  This course will introduce students to a variety of critical issues and will also provide them with valuable training in advanced analytical techniques, writing, and critical evaluation of the news media and scientific literature. 

The course syllabus is attached below.

IMPORTANT: Plagiarism is unacceptable!



Kenneth Feeley,
Jan 2, 2014, 11:01 AM