- 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 and conservation of wildlife, fisheries, wetlands, forests, and other renewable resources, protect biodiversity, and promote conservation of diverse ecosystems. One undergraduate curriculum with several concentrations is available that provides students with professional education in natural resource ecology and management.
The curriculum in natural resource ecology and management consists of a set of core courses taken by all students in the School to assure the broad understanding of natural resource ecology, sustainability, policy, and management. The natural resource ecology and management curriculum has an additional set of required courses specific to concentrations within the curriculum. There is considerable flexibility within the degree program because areas of concentration target professional specialties, yet allow individual flexibility in course selection. Emphasis on hands-on problem-based learning, critical thinking, communication skills, and multidisciplinary team activities put students in “real-world” situations with current and anticipated problems that will better prepare students for successful careers.
Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Ecology & Management
This degree program teaches students about the ecology and natural history of plant and animal populations and communities, specifically wildlife, wild and propagated fish (aquaculture), forests, watersheds, and wetlands, to enable enhanced management and conservation of biotic resources based on the latest developments in research and management practices. Students receive broad-based training in identification, natural history, population ecology, conservation biology, and policy and regulatory 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 disciplines. Students in natural resource ecology and management tailor their coursework to their career goals by choosing one of the nine areas of concentration: conservation biology, ecological restoration, fisheries and aquaculture, forest resource management, forest enterprise, wetland science, wildlife ecology, wildlife habitat conservation and management, and pre-veterinary wildlife.
Career opportunities for graduates of the natural resource ecology and management curriculum are available in state and federal agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, private environmental consulting firms, forest and other natural resource industries, environmental law, and academic careers. Students often will pursue advanced degrees in the sciences, veterinary school, or law school before entering their career positions. 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, American Fisheries Society, Society of American Foresters, or Society of Wetland Scientists.
The conservation biology area of concentration is designed to educate students concerning ways to protect biodiversity, enhance the conservation of species of ecological concern, and improve the prospects for species considered threatened and endangered. This includes a broad base of training in ecology, taxonomy, the genetics of small populations, human dimensions of resource management, and the principles of population biology. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The ecological restoration area of concentration builds on this foundation for students planning a career with state, federal, or private entities in environmental and ecological monitoring, ecological restoration, or remediation work. Interest in the restoration of ecosystems disturbed by anthropogenic and natural causes is increasing. Coursework follows recommendations of the Society for Ecological Restoration including knowledge of plant and animal taxonomy, geographic information systems, and wetlands. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The fisheries and aquaculture area of concentration focuses on the ecology and management of aquatic resources in freshwater and marine ecosystems, as well as the production of economically and ecologically important species under controlled conditions. With numerous opportunities to gain research experience, students are well prepared to pursue graduate studies or careers in aquatic resource management in private industry, agencies, consulting firms, and aquatic resource advocacy groups. Coursework follows guidelines for professional certification by the American Fisheries Society upon graduation. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
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 forest resource management area of concentration is intended for students primarily interested in managing forests as a sustainable natural resource. It is designed to provide students with an appreciation of numerous aspects of forest resource management including timber and non-timber resources and prepare them for employment with public or private entities in forest resource management. Coursework follows guidelines for professional certification by the Society of American Foresters upon graduation. The forest resource management area of concentration is accredited by the Society of American Foresters, which is the accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation as the accrediting agency for forestry in the U.S.
The pre-veterinary wildlife and fisheries area of concentration 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 than the more traditional small and large animal practices. Health issues continue to be problems for state and federal resource agencies, and zoos and 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. Students may pursue a 3+1 program, in which the 4th year of the B.S. is completed during the 1st year of veterinary school. Students who do not enter veterinary school after their 3rd year will graduate in another area of concentration within the School. Students may apply again to veterinary school following graduation.
The wetland science area of concentration is designed for students who wish to specialize in wetlands, valued as wildlife and fish habitats, for maintaining water quality, contributions to wildlife and fisheries productivity in marine and freshwaters, and for other recreational, economic, and ecosystem benefits. Graduates can anticipate working for private or government agencies that manage, restore and/or regulate wetlands, for businesses that delineate wetlands, plan and manage mitigation banks, or plan and construct restoration projects. Coursework follows guidelines for professional certification by the Society of Wetland Scientists upon graduation. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The wildlife ecology area of concentration covers traditional mangement that focuses on wildlife populations, especially recreationally important game animals and socio-culturally important charismatic species of concern to the public. Recreational hunting is an important social and economic driver in Louisiana and throughout the United States. Scientifically -based and principled management of wildlife on public and private lands continues to be a need. Students study the principles of population growth, theory, and practices concerning population exploitation, habitat requirements and methods of management, and the way that public policy influences wildlife resources. Coursework follows guidelines for professional certification by The Wildlife Society upon graduation. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment.
The wildlife habitat conservation and management area of concentration is designed for students interested in conserving, managing, and restoring habitats to promote wildlife, fish, and habitat enhancement and increase biodiversity. Students will receive additional exposure into the theories and practice of forest land use and wetland classification and learn more about habitat manipulation and conservation strategies than in other areas of concentration in natural resource ecology and management. Students also will have the opportunity to take off-campus courses at Lee Memorial Forest and the Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON) through this area of concentration. Students in wildlife habitat conservation and management may anticipate employment with state or federal agencies that regulate and/or directly manage land and land uses, governmental agencies involved in restoration, and private environmental consulting firms that provide technical assistance to public and private landowners. Depending on coursework choices, student may qualify for professional certification by the Wildlife Society or the Society of American Foresters. Many students in this area of concentration will pursue advanced degrees prior to employment
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.