IA 401 International Perspectives

Fall, 2000

Module: Biodiversity and Sustainability


  Instructor: Garrett E. Crow, Professor of Plant Biology

Office: G-56 Spaulding Hall

Phone: 862-3865 E-mail: gec@christa.unh.edu

Web Page: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~gec/IA401/iaintro.htm

 Office hours: my door is open most any time!





 "Every country has three forms of wealth: cultural, material and biological. The essence of the biodiversity problem is that biological wealth is seriously undervalued by most peoples and governments" (E. O. Wilson, 1992).


 Biodiversity: survey the world’s fauna and flora (major ecosystems of world)

 Objectives of the Module:

1. Develop an appreciation for biological diversity.

2. Examine its role in the overall attempt to living in a sustainable world.


We, as humans, tend to think of ourselves as a species apart from the ecosystems of the earth. But we are, in fact, critical components of this biosphere. Are we destined to be only exploiters of the biosphere, or will we develop attitudes allowing us to become stewards of our planet earth and living within the Earth’s carrying capacity. As you might expect from my background as a botanist, I will tend to draw on examples from my experiences both locally and globally.



Lecture Schedule

Tuesday Nov. 14

Biodiversity/Historical Perspective on Exploration and Exploitation of Earth's Biodiversity

How Scientists Approach Classification of Biodiversity?

What is a species and how do they come about?

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 4-5


Thursday, Nov. 16

Species and the Forces Driving Biological Diversification

Earth's Major Ecosystems (Biomes)--slides/handout

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 4-7

 Quiz on Ch. 4-5/lecture


Tuesday, Nov. 21

Ecological concepts-Ecosystems, Communities, Populations

Earth's Biomes (finish slides--class handout on Biomes)

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 9-10

Quiz on Ch. 6-7/lecture


Thursday, Nov. 23 Thanksgiving--Eat Turkey


Tuesday, Nov. 28

Valuing Biological Wealth

Edible Plants (slides)

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 13; Kaplan article; Cook article


Thursday, Nov. 30

Globetrotting and Biodiversity: Bolivia: Andes to Amazon


First Paper Due


Tuesday, Dec. 5

Human Impacts

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 12; Kearns and Inouye article

Map Quiz


Thursday, Dec. 7

Resolution and Environmental Ethic/ Discussion

Reading assignment: Wilson, Ch. 14-15


Tuesday, Dec. 12

Globetrotting and Biodiversity: Russia/Crimea/Caucasus Mts.

Quiz on Ch. 12/article/lecture


Thursday, Dec. 14

Globetrotting and Biodiversity: Costa Rica

Final Paper Due


Thursday, December 21 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. IA Competency in Geography Exam


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Reading Materials:


Wilson, E. O. 1993. The Diversity of Life. W. W. Norton & Co.
  • Topics in lecture will be paralleled in this excellent book. As an entomologist, E. O. Wilson’s examples tend to reflect examples from the animal world.

     Readings on Reserve in Dimond Library and Hood House):

    Kaplan, J. Kim. 1991. USDA Plant Hunters: Bring ‘Em Back Alive and Growing. Agricultural Research. July issue: 4-12

    Kearns, C. A. and D. W. Inouye. 1997. Pollinators, Flowering Plants. and Conservation Biology. BioScience 47: 297-307.

    Cook, R. 1997. AIDS Inhibitor Discovered in the Bornean Forest. Article from Supplement to the Harvard University Gazette.




    Before starting your paper, consult: INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING PAPERS for BIODIVERSITY MODULE.


    The INSTRUCTIONS will differ from those of the other two modules. It is important to know that there are a variety of styles in writing. Each journal has its own style-as does each professor.


    This must be your own work-it's not a group project. No two papers should look alike. Be sure to cite your sources though the use of footnotes and a reference list at the end. Even though you may feel you are citing facts that are "common knowledge", you very likely obtained the information from some source-cite it! I would expect that every paragraph would very likely need to cite one or more references. For World Wide Web citations, give the complete address (URL)-you might have something very interesting to say that might led me to want to log on to that web site.


    First Paper: DUE November 30

    Prepare a paper (5-6 pages) focused on the country in which you intend to spend your "semester abroad". You should give an overview of the country (culture, languages, physical topography, climate, etc.), but be sure to include information of the following: What are the major ecosystems in the country? What are the major natural resources? What are the major environmental/conservation issues? What efforts have been taken to protect biodiversity (e.g. establishment of national parks and biological refuges, wetland preserves, etc.)? Look into Ecotourism. Select an ecotour that interests you and include a brief description-then take the ecotour when you get to your country.

    Links to Countries


    Final Paper: DUE December 14

    Essay (4-5 pages):

    You have just joined the Peace Corps and have received a two-year assignment in a remote village in southern Costa Rica near Panama. The villagers have long used the rainforest and small clearings for agricultural plots for their livelihood-in sustainable living. The area is adjacent to Amistad International Park, which extends from Costa Rica into Panama. This mountainous area is perfect for growing coffee, so a large coffee company has purchased the land and is planning to clear a significant portion of the rainforest to establish a huge coffee plantation for exporting coffee beans to Europe and the United States. The villagers want to "fight" the Goliath Coffee Company and look to you for wisdom and advice. Based on the textbook and papers assigned in class, and any additional literature (including information from the Web) you wish to use to augment your case, write an argument for the value (economic, environmental, cultural, etc.) of maintaining the rainforest as an intact ecosystem rather than destroying it for coffee.


    Biodiversity Links

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