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Restoring Wildlife Populations ECOR 9302

Ecological Restoration Course

Course details

Restoration plans must take into account the needs of current or desired wildlife species in project areas. This course gives ecologists, restorationists, administrators, and other professionals involved with restoration projects the tools they need to understand essential ecological concepts, helping them to design restoration projects that can improve conditions for native species of wildlife. This course interweaves theoretical and practical aspects of wildlife biology that are directly applicable to the restoration and conservation of animals. It provides an understanding of the fundamentals of wildlife populations and wildlife-habitat relationships as it explores the concept of habitat, its historic development, components, spatial-temporal relationships, and role in land management. It applies these concepts in developing practical tools for professionals. The course is based on Morrison, M.L. 2009. (Restoring Wildlife: Ecological Concepts and Practical Applications) and Maehr et al. 2001 (Large Mammal Restoration), both published by Island Press, Washington, USA. Case studies will be used to illustrate concepts while field labs will train students on key concepts. Students will work in teams to develop a detailed restoration plan for a selected species of concern and present their plan to the class. Students that have taken RENR 8107 would not be able to take this course for credit in the M.Sc. program. Students will participate in a one-hour seminar discussion each week with specific emphasis on critically reviewing the concepts and their application to ecological restoration. Seminar topics will follow directly from the lecture material and be guided by leading questions. Students will prepare and lead each seminar discussion with guidance from the instructor.


  • No prerequisites are required for this course.



Not offered this term
This course is not offered this term. Please check back next term or subscribe to receive notifications of future course offerings and other opportunities to learn more about this course and related programs.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the concepts and principles of wildlife biology and management relevant to ecological restoration.
  • Apply these concepts and principles in assessment and evaluation of degraded populations.
  • Integrate the concepts and principles in designing a restoration plan for a specific species.

Topics include:

Interpret underlying principles of ‘populations’, including:

  • Time frames and historic condition,
  • Natural versus desired condition,
  • Population concepts,
  • Distribution patterns of populations,
  • Metapopulation structure,
  • Exotic species,
  • Linking populations and restoration ecology,
  • Restoring a population.

Interpret underlying principles of ‘habitat’, including:

  • What and when to monitor,
  • Spatial scale,
  • Measurements of the animal and of the habitat,
  • ‘Focal animal’ approach,
  • How to measure habitat.

Design ‘desired condition’, including:

  • Conducting historic assessment using existing data sets, museum records, literature, etc.

Developing desired condition for sample restoration site:

  • Step 1: Planning area
  • Step 2: Project area
  • Step 3: Adaptive management implementation.

Interpret basic design concepts for wildlife restoration, including:

  • Habitat heterogeneity, fragmentation, disturbance ecology,
  • Landscape matrix as a planning area,
  • Population and restoration management implications:
    • Guidelines for species richness and diversity.
    • Guidelines to maintain within-patch condition,
    • Guidelines to maintain a desired occupancy rate of habitat patches,
    • Guidelines for habitat configuration.

Effective as of Fall 2016


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