Public Land Management and Climate Change
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Fall 2017 quarter
- Taught by Peter Goldmark
Our public lands are a resource far beyond monetary value. Washington’s forested and shrub steppe landscapes represent a vulnerable and irreplaceable natural resource that fosters vital wildlife habitat, forage, clean water, oxygen regeneration, carbon storage, fiber and building materials, recreational opportunities, personal solace and much more. In the first phase of this class, we will look at the complex management plans currently deployed on state, federal, and tribal lands across Washington State. Students will also engage directly with a diverse spectrum of land managers in both field and classroom settings. Course work will include analyzing research papers and land plans that detail many of the current strategies managers use. A mid-term paper summarizing these various and sometimes contrasting management methods will be required. The second phase of the course will focus on climate change and the threat this presents to all public lands and, thus, the imperative of adaptive strategies. Students will consider a range of climate models and consensus predictions presented by climatologists. We will also focus on innovative management strategies that will enhance the resilience of public forests and rangelands to mitigate warmer temperatures and more frequent natural disturbances. Visiting experts from Native American tribes and federal and state agencies will lead discussions on potential approaches to the enormous threat that climate change presents. We will examine and debate management strategies to increase resilience of forests and rangelands, improve carbon storage, enhance water retention of landscapes, and dramatically increase the fire resistance of embedded communities. A final paper and oral argument on each student’s suggested potential adaptation plans for public lands will be required. There will be a minimum of 4 field trips, including meetings with scientists and senior agency staff in the field.
Peter Goldmark has a lifelong involvement with agriculture, conservation, science, education, and public service. In January 2017, Peter completed his second elected term as Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands. He obtained his B.S. from Haverford College in 1967 and went on to complete a PhD in Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley. He has published research papers in national and international journals and instructed class at Heritage college and UC Berkeley.
Location and Schedule
Wednesday 6-10 pm