ESSM 601

ESSM 601 SyllabusEcosystem Stewardship
ESSM 601


Investigate the ecological concepts of resilience, sustainability, ecosystem services, and vulnerability to assess and manage unprecedented change within the biosphere. These concepts will be integrated within a framework of resilience-based stewardship to inform and guide ecosystem management for the benefit of society. Linkages among social and ecological system components will be emphasized and their contribution to sustainability and continued provisioning of ecosystem services will be investigated. Integration of multiple knowledge sources from various stakeholders will be evaluated as the basis for adaptive management. Complex and rapid changes within the earth system require that novel conceptual frameworks, experimental methodologies, and social institutions be developed and implemented to support sustainability.


Completion of this course will enable students to achieve the following outcomes:
• Achieve greater insight into the concepts of resilience, sustainability, ecosystem services, and vulnerability.
• Describe the importance of social-ecological systems to sustainability and continued provisioning of ecosystem services.
• Appreciate the need for novel approaches and methodologies to meet future challenges associated with ecosystem stewardship.
• Understand how resilience-based management may increase the capacity of social institutions, economies and ecosystems to address change.
• Learn how to apply and interpret sustainability and resilience-based management in diverse ecological and social systems.
• Identify the varied skill sets that are essential to develop and implement sustainability and resilience-based management.

Dr. David D. Briske
Ecosystem Science & Management Dept.
Room 328
Animal Industries Building
Telephone: 845-7331

Wednesday 1:50 – 3:40 pm; Animal Industries Building, Room 133

Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World. 2009. [eds.] Chapin F.S. III, Kofinas, G.P. and Folke, C.Springer Science (free on-line access through TAMU library). A reading list will be assigned for each subject matter section on the course elearning page.

RENR 205 – Fundamentals of Ecology – or an equivalent ecological background.

The course is founded on collaborative learning emphasizing the text and reading list. Each section will begin with a brief introduction, presented by the instructor or a student; followed by group discussion, and will conclude with a summary of major take home messages. Students will be required to post questions regarding assigned readings prior to the day class is scheduled and will engage in an on-line discussion via elearning after the class has met.

Evaluation will be based on a combination of exams, take-home assignments, and class participation. Exams will consist of definition, short-answer, and essay questions. Take-home assignments will emphasize interpretation, synthesis and application of information addressed in lectures, the text, assigned readings, and class discussion. Specific assignments will include Research Reviews that requires a written critic of peer-reviewed scientific papers, Concept Analyses based on in-depth evaluation of an actual or hypothetical ecosystem stewardship scenario, and a Reflective Essays in which students will interpret their class experience within the context a specific stewardship topic of interest. Class participation requires that students read assigned material before each class period and actively participate in class discussions.

Mid-term Exam                       100 points
Final Exam                               100 points
Take-home Assignments (4)   50 points
Class Participation                   50 points
Total Points                              500 points



Make-up examinations and late assignments will be accepted only when students present a documented University-excused absence within 1 week of the scheduled exam or assignment (see TAMU Regulations).

Regular class attendance is expected and will be consider a component of class participation. Experience indicates that those students who attend class consistently attain the highest performance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities.  Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.  If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities in Room B118 in Cain Hall (845-1637).

An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.”
Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning, and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor System. Students will be required to state their commitment on examinations, research papers, and other academic work. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the TAMU community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor System. For additional information please visit:

Our policy is to assign a grade of zero for any exam on which a student is cheating, which will very likely result in course failure. Responsible individuals will also be reported for honor code violations.

Comments are closed.