ENVS 107 Environment, Conservation, and Policy Issues


This course will offer an introduction to the most influential factors shaping the ecosystems and their conservation looking at the global, regional and local factors that determine the climates and the contrasting ecosystems that can be found in Ecuador. The course includes several field visits to the Ecuadorian Amazon (Tiputini Biodiversity Station) and the Galapagos Islands, thus, allowing students to experience first-hand current topics of conservation and policy issues, while discussing the main environmental challenges associated with the conservation of natural ecosystems in tropical developing countries. Additionally, this course reviews the environmental issues facing contemporary Ecuador in the context of a transforming global reality. We will look at specific environmental issues that are of concern for Ecuador and the region including, the oil industry and indigenous communities in the Amazon Basin, aquaculture, and shrimp farming, introduced species, large scale ranching and deforestation, fisheries, and the management of fragile marine ecosystems such as the Galapagos. We will investigate possible solutions that consider political and ecological pressures, perspectives of indigenous populations, environmentalists, the governments, NGOs, as well as international investors and multinational companies. It all revolves around this little but diverse country.