- Forestry (Forest Management)
- Natural Resource Ecology & Management
The School of Renewable Natural Resources offers undergraduate and graduate education to students who wish to discover the natural world and ways to improve the management of renewable resources, protect biodiversity, and promote conservation of diverse ecosystems. Two undergraduate curricula are available that provide students with professional education in forestry or in natural resource ecology and management.
The curriculum in forestry and the curriculum in natural resource ecology and management consist of a set of core courses taken by all students in the School of Renewable Natural Resources to assure the broad understanding of natural resource ecology, sustainability, policy, and management. The forestry curriculum and the natural resource ecology and management curriculum have a set of required courses specific to each degree program. There is considerable flexibility within each degree program because there are areas of concentration that target specialties, yet allow individual flexibility in course selection. Problem-based learning and multidisciplinary team activities are used to put students in “real-world” situations with present-day problems that will better prepare students for successful careers. Critical thinking skills are stressed in a broad-based curriculum. To assure the quality of graduates, all students in undergraduate programs in forestry or natural resource ecology and management must earn a grade of “C” or better in all required RNR courses or in courses used to substitute for required RNR courses.
Bachelor of Science in Forestry
The bachelor of science in forestry (BSF) is aimed at providing a broad education in renewable natural resources specifically related to forest ecosystems. The BSF is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SAF is the accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation as the accrediting agency for forestry in the U.S.
The BSF degree program is flexible and allows students, in consultation with faculty, to select an area of concentration closely associated with their career goals in renewable natural resources. The three areas of concentration include forest resources management, forest enterprise, and ecological restoration.
The forest resources management area of concentration is intended for students primarily interested in managing forests as a sustainable natural resource. The area of concentration is designed to provide students with an appreciation of numerous aspects of forest resources management including timber and non-timber resources and prepare them for employment with public and private entities in forest resources management.
The forest enterprise area of concentration provides skills and theory to students planning to work in forestry consulting/engineering firms and the timber and wood products industry. Considerable forestry and timber production currently occurs on private lands and involves contracting among various harvesting processing and land management entities. Additionally, non-timber revenues, including wildlife leases and mitigative credits and incentive programs, require different experiences of students than traditional management. Knowledge of legal precedents, business planning, contracting, and ethical best management practices is in demand among environmental consulting/engineering firms and the timber and wood products industry.
The ecological restoration area of concentration provides the foundation for students planning a career in environmental and ecological consulting, ecological restoration, or remediation work. Development mitigation is on the rise, as is the desire to restore systems disturbed and disrupted by anthropogenic and natural causes. Knowledge of plant and animal taxonomy, geographic information systems, and wetlands delineation are currently in demand by environmental consulting/engineering firms.
Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Ecology & Management
This degree program strives to teach students about the ecology and natural history of plant and animal populations and communities to enable enhanced management and conservation of biotic resources. Students get broad-based training in identification, natural history, population ecology, conservation biology, and policy issues that will affect living natural resources. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers as professionals in a broad range of natural resource management positions. Students in natural resource ecology and management tailor their course work to their career goals by choosing one of seven areas of concentration: conservation biology, fisheries and aquaculture, wetland science, wildlife ecology, wildlife habitat conservation and management, wildlife law enforcement, and pre-veterinary wildlife.
Job opportunities for graduates of the natural resource ecology and management curriculum are available in state and federal agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, private consulting firms and with industry. Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource ecology and management typically complete the educational requirements for graduates to be certified by The Wildlife Society or the American Fisheries Society.
The conservation biology area of concentration is designed to educate students concerning ways to protect biodiversity. This includes a broad base of training in ecology, taxonomy, the genetics of small populations, human dimension of resource management, and the principles of population biology.
The fisheries and aquaculture area of concentration is designed for students interested in the ecology and management of aquatic resources in freshwater and marine ecosystems, as well as the cultivation of economically important species under controlled conditions. Students in this area take courses in fish taxonomy, biology, and management, and can tailor their program of study to suit their interests with additional courses in breeding and genetic improvement, nutrition, aquacultural engineering, aquatic animal diseases, microbiology, water quality, biology, oceanography and coastal studies, and management of freshwater and marine habitats. With numerous opportunities to gain research experience, students in this concentration are well prepared for pursuing graduate studies, as well as numerous careers in aquatic resource management in private industry, state and federal agencies, consulting firms and aquatic resource advocacy groups.
The area of concentration in Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management is designed for students interested in conserving, managing, and restoring habitats to promote fish, wildlife, and animal biodiversity. Students will receive additional exposure into the theories and practice of forest land and wetland classification, manipulation and conservation strategies than other areas of concentration in natural resources ecology and management. Students will also have the opportunity to take off-campus courses at Lee Memorial Forest and the Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON). Students in this area of concentration may anticipate employment with state or federal agencies involved in restoration, private environmental consulting firms that provide technical assistance to landowners, and non-governmental organizations that manage lands or provide technical assistance to public and private landowners. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The area of concentration in wetland science is designed for students who wish to specialize in wetlands, which are valued as wildlife and fish habitats, for maintaining water quality and for other economic benefits. Students who concentrate in wetland science can anticipate working for private or governmental agencies that manage land, for governmental agencies that restore and/or regulate wetlands, or for businesses that delineate wetlands, plan and manage mitigation banks, or plan and construct restoration projects.
The wildlife ecology area of concentration is tailored to students interested in traditional management that focuses on wildlife populations, especially game animals and charismatic species of concern to the public. Students are exposed to the principles of population growth, theory and practice concerning population exploitation, habitat requirements and methods of management, and the influence of public policy on wildlife resources. Students from this area of concentration typically accept jobs with state and federal resource agencies, but often pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The wildlife law enforcement area of concentration was created to meet the needs of students who want to enter into natural resources law enforcement with state or federal agencies. Students get a background in wildlife ecology and management, natural resources policy, as well as course work in political and social sciences. Students must still go through state or federal law enforcement training before they can work in wildlife law enforcement.
The pre-veterinary wildlife area of concentration is for students interested in applying to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and who are interested in careers that focus on exotic animals and wildlife rather that the more traditional small and large animal practices. Health issues such as whirling disease in trout and chronic wasting disease in elk continue to be problems for state and federal resource agencies, and zoos and wild animal parks constantly deal with veterinary issues; all of these problems require people with both veterinary skills and a familiarity with a diversity of wildlife and the habitats that support them.
Transportation for field trips is provided by the University but is financed by students. Field fees vary in amount, based on the cost of transportation, and are paid at the time of other University fees through the advanced billing system.