ENVS160: Restoration Ecology (Summer 2011)

Tuesday and Thursday in ISB 221 and COH 118

Course website: http://thiscourse.com/ucsc/envs160/su11/


Suzanne Langridge (Professor)

Office Hours: Thursday 4:30-5:30 or by appointment in Natural Sciences II 471

Miriam Olivera (TA)

Office Hours: Wednesday 1-2pm or by appointment in The Abby Coffeeshop

Course Description


This course is a broad overview of the interdisciplinary topic of ecological restoration.  Students will be introduced to the rapidly expanding practice of restoring degraded ecosystems through a mixture of lecture, discussion, field visits, restoration plans, and reflective essays.  The course will focus on ecological theory and how to apply theory to restoration practice; philosophical debates concerning restoration practice; societal influences on restoration decision making; and restoration planning and implementation strategies. 

An entire quarter could be devoted to just one aspect of ecological restoration.  For this reason, this primary objective of this course is to instill an understanding and appreciation of the broad scope of societal and ecological issues associated with ecological restoration, as well as an understanding of how to approach environmental problem solving.  And of course get our hands a little dirty with some actual restoration.

Learning Objectives (as a result of this course you will be able to…)

1)    Critically evaluate ethics and reasons for restoring ecosystems

2)    Identify and explain ecological principles most important for ecological restoration

3)    Determine how to set and follow-through on goals for ecological restoration

4)    Understand societal and ecological issues associated with ecological restoration



Restoration Plan Assignment
Coast Dairies Plan - Background information on Yellowbank creek and area
Restoration Plan Topic Assignments
Example Restoration Plan - fyi -this is a little longer than the current assignment, but should give you an idea of the structure

Example Cover letter 1
Example Cover letter 2

Useful databases for background information on your species and process:
National Invasive Species Information Center
California Invasive Plant Council Plant Profiles
USDA Plants Database
California Native Plant Society Rare Plant Program
USFWS Species Reports - this has specific information on Santa Cruz Tarplant
Feral Pigs:
California Department of Fish and Game Feral Pig Management Program
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
California Department of Fish and Game Fisheries Management
Red-legged frog:
USFWS Red-legged frog information page
USFWS Species Reports
Several topics such as red-legged frogs, coastal prairie, riparian habitat, santa cruz tarplant, fire
Elkhorn Slough Coastal Training Program Archived Workshops/Trainings
General Background on animals and plants in CA:
CFG Life History and Range Maps
Pollinators and Pollination conservation:
Xerces Society

Course Details and Policies

Final grades will be based the traditional scheme of ≥ 90%, = A, ≥ 80% = B, etc.


Participation and Attendance                              85 points (21%)

First Exam                                                    85 points (21%)

Ethics essay                                                         55 points (15%)

Restoration plan                                        90 points (22%)

Second Exam                                                    85 points (21%)

            Total                                                              400 points (100%)

Deadline and absence policy: The dates of the exams and due dates for all assignments are absolute.  Assignments submitted late will be subjected to a 20% deduction in grade for each day late. If extenuating circumstances occur, contact Dr. Langridge BEFORE the due date.  Final Restoration Plans will not be accepted late.


Readings: Students are expected to have done the readings before class on the date they are assigned.  This will allow for a clearer understanding of lecture, and more participation in class.  The main concepts and findings from papers will also be included on the exams.

Attendance and Participation: Due to the intensive nature of the course and the field trips within class time, it is essential that students do not miss any classes. Students are expected to participate in discussions, as well as be active participants in lecture, guest lecture, and field days.

Ethics essay (Due June 28):  Students will write a short essay on the ethics and philosophical basis for restoration. The essay will consist two sections: 1) How do we justify goals for restoration and what is the role of science in determining those goals and 2) Should we restore ecosystems and what is the value of “undisturbed” and restored ecosystems.  For each of these sections students should summarize in a short paragraph the main points of each of the papers related to the topic 1 and 2, and then should answer the questions using these readings (and the optional readings if they like).  Minimum of four readings used in the essay, and they should be cited in the text and at the end in a literature cited section.

Restoration plan: We will develop a short (4-6 page double spaced) restoration plan based on our field trip to Yellowbank Creek. Please see Restoration Plan Assignment for details.  Part A (Goals, objectives, literature, background and justification) of the restoration plan is due June 30, revised Part A and Part B (methods, monitoring) of the restoration plan is due July 12, and the final written revised plan and restoration plan presentation are due July 21.

Exams one and two: Both exams will be short-answer.  They will be scheduled within the first hour of class on July 5 and July 19.

FIELD DAYS                                                                                                                                   

There will be three required field days scheduled within class period.  We will be meeting at the Center for Ocean Health for these classes.  Parking is free.

June 23:  We will meet for a guest lecture by Dr. Mike Westphal of the Bureau of Land Management, who will talk about restoration on Yellowbank Creek north of Santa Cruz, and the many cultural, political, ecological, economic issues affecting the restoration project.  This site will be the basis for a restoration project for our class.  We will then carpool to the restoration site for a field visit.  Bring water, sunscreen, hat, and snack.

June 30: Monitoring the Marine Campus Restoration Project.  Bring sunscreen, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, water, snack, work gloves, closed toed shoes.  We will be outside monitoring for approximately 2 hours

July 19: Restoration Party on the UCSC Reserve with Elizabeth Howard and Will Spangler. Bring sunscreen, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, water, work gloves, and closed toe shoes.  We will be outside for the restoration party for about 2 hours.


Extra Credit Options                                                                                                                       

1)    You can receive 5 points extra credit for taking advantage of any of the following exciting opportunities to get involved in other restoration projects in the area.  Although you are welcome to attend any of these events, I will only be giving the 5 points extra credit for ONE event.  In other words, you cannot get more than 5 points extra credit in the course (this includes the option below as well).  In order to receive the extra credit, you must write a 1 page reflection piece on the what you did, value of the experience and how it related to what you are learning in class and hand this in within one week of the event.

a.     Saturday June 25: Optional Restoration Party – Watsonville Wetland Watch.  For more info:http://www.watsonvillewetlandswatch.org/getinvolved.htm

b.     Wednesdays, June 29, July 6 and July 13 (dates are preliminary – need to confirm with Will Spangler one week in advance: mailto:wspangle@ucsc.edu): Optional seed collecting field trip with UCSC Reserve staff.  Amazing chance to learn about California native plants in a beautiful place.  Need to meet at Long Marine Lab promptly at 9am and stay until 3pm (or if use your own vehicle could leave some time after 1pm – need to stay until at least 1pm for the extra credit). 

c.     Saturday, July 16: Optional Restoration Party, California Native Plant Society.  10-1pm.  Location TBA, conact Linda Brodman - redwdrn@pacbell.net.

2)    You can receive 5 points extra credit for quality original artwork, poetry, music, cuisine, or other artistic endeavor that is related to restoration.  You must present this to the class on the last day (July 21) for credit, giving an explanation as to what it is, how it relates to what we’ve learned in class, and why you were inspired to do it.  You are welcome to do more than one original artistic piece, but you cannot get more than 5 points extra credit in the course (this includes the option above as well).  


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a disability, please get an Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and submit it to me in person outside of class (e.g., office hours) within the first week of the quarter. Contact DRC at 459-2089 (voice), 459-4806 (TTY), or http://drc.ucsc.edu/ for more information on the requirements and/or process.

Classroom etiquette

There will be plenty of interaction in the class with each other and the instructor, and please feel free to raise your hand for questions at any time and participate in discussion, but please do not hold private conversations during class.  Also, arrive on time to class and turn off cell phones and other electronic devices. Holding private conversations, using electronic devices, and arriving late to class is distracting to the students and instructor. Students who repeatedly do not uphold this policy will receive reduced class participation scores.

Academic Integrity

"Academic integrity... focuses on standing up for the five values fundamental to the academic process, even when it is difficult to do so. The value of academic honesty is primary and a prerequisite to the other four ... trust... fairness, respect and responsibility." "...Without trust, there are severe limits in the cooperation needed to accumulate knowledge or verify the achievement of requisite skills and perspectives among students... Fairness guarantees that students are not disadvantaged by the dishonesty of a few. Respect means acknowledging the worth and work of others and not treating them as objects. Responsibility is defined in terms of accountability... taking action in the face of wrongdoing (Drinan, 1999)."

Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or facilitating academic dishonesty or as further specified in campus regulations.  All written assignments turned in for this class should be written individually and should be original works for this class. All academic integrity violations will be prosecuted.  Accordingly, students are expected to understand and adhere to the UCSC policies on academic integrity and plagarism:


Academic integrity:




Course Schedule

Week Date Topic Readings Assignments
1 Tue Jun 21 Lecture 1
Introduction to Restoration Ecology
Connection between theory and practice
How does climate change affect our actions in restoration
Hobbs and Cramer. 2008.  

· Society for Ecological Restoration Primer.

Del Moral et al. 2007.
Thu Jun 23 Lecture 2

Field Trip: Yellowbank Creek
Davis and Slobodkin 2004
Winterhalder et al. 2004
Katz 1992
Jordan 2000
Optional: Light 2000
Optional: Allison 2007
2 Tue Jun 28 Lecture 3
Discussion: Ethics and Restoration
Abiotic issues in restoration
Restoration planning: goals, objectives
Pilion-smits and Freeman 2006
Kardol and Wardle 2010
Whisenant 2002
Clewell et al. 2005
Restoration Ethics paper due
Thu Jun 30 Lecture 4 - biotic
Lecture 4 - planning
Restoration planning: adaptive management and monitoring
Biotic issues in restoration
Animal restoration and reintroduction
Holl and Cairns 2002
Adaptive Management handout
First part of restoration plan due
Exam one
Monitoring field trip: UCSC Marine Campus

Davy 2002
Padilla and Pugnaire 2006
Zavaleta et al. 2001
D'antonio 2002
Vince 2011
Morell 2007
Exam one
First exam review sheet
Thu Jul 07 Lecture 5 - reintro
Lecture 5 - landscape
Lecture 5 - Adaptive Management
Finish Biotic restoration
Landscape ecology and restoration
Finish monitoring and adaptive management
Movie: Hope in a Changing Climate

Turner 2010
Fule 2008
Harris et al 2006
Gunn et al 2008
4 Tue Jul 12 Lecture 6 - Disturbance
Lecture 6- Aquatic and Rivers
Disturbance and restoration
Aquatic restoration
Discussion: restoration projects
Bednarek 2001
National Academy of Sciences 1992
2nd part of restoration plan due
Thu Jul 14 Lecture 7 - Lakes
Lecture 7 - wetlands
Lecture 7 - Climate
Lecture 7 - Funding
Continue aquatic restoration
Restoration and climate change
Funding and legislating restoration
Discussion: peer review
Degroot et al. 2006
McGhee et al 2006

Restoration plan peer review due
Exam Two
Restoration Party: UCSC Marine Campus
optional: Turner 1992
Exam two review sheet
Exam two
Thu Jul 21 Discussion: restoration party
Restoration plan presentations
Extra credit presentations
No readings
Presentations; final restoration plan due