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Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems


									FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems
FW 435/535, Winter Term 2011, 3 credits

Course Objectives:
The goal of this WIC course is to develop a strong understanding of the pressures facing
both farmers and wildlife in agricultural ecosystems using writing as a learning tool. We
will critique primary literature and case studies from around the world to examine the
trade-offs between food production and wildlife conservation. Through the combination
of ecological theory, conservation biology and land-management techniques, this course
will provide a synthesis of the priorities that govern these systems. Sometimes
contradictory, sometime integrative, the issues affecting conservationists and agricultural
producers will be discussed in detail. More specifically, we will:
     Identify trade-offs between environmental health and agricultural production.
     Become familiar with the major stressors for wildlife in agricultural ecosystems.
     Recognize the pressures and difficulties of implementing conservation practices.
     Learn how to approach these problems from multiple perspectives and with

Learning Outcomes:
   1- Scientific writing is a stage dependent process; we will build written documents
      through in-class writing activities, rough drafts, peer-review and revisions. You
      will learn how to write efficient, deliberate scientific reports.
   2- Valuable scientific writing is indelibly tied to effective scientific reading. We
      will critically read, discuss, and write on scientific papers published in peer-
      reviewed journals.
   3- Making science accessible to land owners, land managers, policy makers and non-
      profit groups is essential for successful collaboration. You will develop writing
      skills targeted towards producing clear, accessible and efficient documents.
   4- Working in small groups is a major part of most professional careers, and this
      class will provide the guidance and experience needed to become a valuable team
   5- You will gain first-hand experience with ‘on the ground’ inquiry. Regular
      interactions with land-owners and experience in the field will provide a healthy
      dose of real-world perspective.

Course Requirements:
Students taking FW 435 must have working knowledge of basic ecology and
conservation biology. Introductory Biology (BI 21X), Ecology (BI 370) and Principles
of Wildlife Conservation (FW 251) are prerequisites for this course. This curricular
background is necessary to understand and synthesize the concepts presented in this
course. Additionally, a major group project will require several off campus trips.

WIC Requirements and Written Assignments:
Writing Intensive Courses are designed to teach students how to write within a specific
discipline. At least 30% of the course grade is based on writing, and students are
required to write at least 5,000 words over the course of this class. WIC courses require
FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

demonstrated competence by all passing students in how to build documents in stages,
how to peer review other student’s work, and the importance of revision, revision and
more revision. Remember: no piece of writing is ever truly perfect. The completion of
all assigned Rhetorical Précis, the News and Views Critique, and the CEAP project will
satisfy all WIC requirements for this course.
Valuable WIC Resources: The Writing Center, 737-5640, Waldo 123
                            WIC Survival Guide:

Conservation Effort Assessment Plan (CEAP)-
This is the main writing project for this WIC course. The CEAP document will be
prepared in the format used by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and will
integrate wildlife and farm management objectives. The goal of this group project will
be to enhance fish and wildlife habitat on a local farm while maintaining agricultural
productivity. An outline, rough draft and final revised draft will account for 35% of your
total grade. Students will be assigned to a group in the first week of class. A detailed
description of this project will be discussed in class and is available on Blackboard.

‘News and Views’ Critique-
In lieu of a midterm exam, all students will be required to write a three-page, double-
spaced, type-written essay reviewing and critiquing a land management practice designed
to conserve wildlife populations or enhance wildlife habitat. This paper must be prepared
following the style and format guidelines for Nature- News and Views. Only journals
found on the Web of Science (with the exception of the Oregon Conservation Strategy, if
appropriate) should be used (unless approved by me), and at least six journal articles
must be cited. These papers will be due during week 6. Subject must be approved by
me. A full description of this writing assignment is available on Blackboard.

Rhetorical Précis-
Two scientific articles from peer-reviewed journals will be assigned on Tuesdays and
discussed the following Tuesday. Both articles are required reading, but it is your choice
on which paper you chose to write a Rhetorical Précis. This weekly assignment requires
that you turn in one type-written Rhetorical Précis at the beginning of class each
Tuesday. The Rhetorical Précis is not just a short summary of the article, but a
personalized statement on the major assertion of the work and how successful the author
is at communicating that assertion. A full description of this writing assignment is
available on Blackboard. Additionally, all papers will be available on Blackboard the
week they are assigned.
FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

Assigned Readings for Rhetorical Précis:
These papers will be available on Blackboard and two papers will be assigned each week.
Only one Rhetorical Précis will be assigned per week; it is the student’s choice which
paper to summarize. Both papers, however, are required reading. This list is subject to

Discussion Date
Week 2        Tilman et al. (2002) Agricultural sustainability and intensive production
                      practices. Nature 418, pp 671-677.
              Fischer et al. (2006) Biodiversity, ecosystem function, and resilience: ten
                      guiding principles for commodity production landscapes. Frontiers
                      in Ecology and the Environment 4(2), pp 80-86.
Week 3        Donald, P.F. and A.D. Evans (2006) Habitat connectivity and matrix
                      restoration: the wider implications of agri-environmental schemes.
                      Journal of Applied Ecology 43, pp 209-218.
              Henning et al. (2006) Juvenile salmonid use of freshwater emergent
                      wetlands in the floodplain and its implication for conservation
                      management. North American Journal of Fisheries Management
                      26, pp 367-376.
Week 4        Sih et al. (2004) Two stressors are far deadlier than one. Trends in
                      Ecology and Evolution. 19(6), pp 274-276.
              Hayes et al. (2002) Feminization of male frogs in the wild. Nature 419,
Week 5        Strayer et al. (2006) Understanding the long-term effects of species
                      invasion. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21(11), pp 645-651.
              Baxter, P.W.J. et al. (2008) Cost-effective suppression and eradication of
                      invasive predators. Conservation Biology 22 (1), pp. 89-98.
Week 6        Letourneau, D.K. and S.G. Bothwell (2008) Comparison of organic and
                      conventional farms: challenging ecologists to make biodiversity
                      functional. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8 (6), pp
              Rundlof, M. and H.G. Smith (2006) The effect of organic farming on
                      butterfly diversity depends on landscape context. Journal of
                      Applied Ecology 43, 1121-1127.
Week 7        DelCurto et al. (2005) Management strategies for sustainable beef cattle
                      grazing on forested rangelands in the Pacific Northwest.
                      Rangeland Ecology and Management 58, pp 119-127.
              Pelicice, F.M. and A.A. Agostinho (2008) Fish-passage facilities as
                      ecological traps in large neotropical rivers. Conservation Biology
                      22 (1), pp 180-188.
Week 8        Mattison, E.H.A. and K. Norris (2006) Bridging the gaps between
                      agricultural policy, land-use and biodiversity. Trends in Ecology
                      and Evolution 20(11), pp 610-616.
FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

        Grading will be consistent with the University System:

A: 93-100         B: 83-86           C 73-76       D: 63-66
A-: 90-92         B-: 80-82          C-: 70-72     D-: 60-62
B+: 87-89         C+: 77-79          D+:67-69      F:<60

Rhetorical Précis:                   21% 210 pts
News and Views Paper:                20% 200 pts
CEAP: Outline:                       5%    50 pts
CEAP: Rough Draft:                   10% 100 pts
CEAP: Revised Final Draft:           20% 200 pts
Group Evaluation:                    5%    50 pts
Final Exam:                          18% 180 pts
Total Grade:                         100% 990 pts

Course Structure-
PART 1 –
      Trade-offs between Agricultural Production and Environmental Health
PART 2 –
      Impacts of Agricultural Production on Environmental Health
PART 3 –
      Integrating Agricultural Production and Environmental Health
PART 4 –
      EcoAgriculture Policy and Incentives for the Protection of Wildlife

Course Schedule-
Part I.
Week 1
 Intro to FW 435- Welcome!
 Success Stories in minimizing production and environmental trade-offs
 World Food Production
 CEAP Group Assignments

Part II.
Week 2
  Agricultural Related Habitat Loss and Fragmentation
  Hydrological Modification
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #1 Due Tuesday

Week 3
  Ag interactions with wildlife diseases
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #2 Due Tuesday
FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

Week 4
  Anthropomorphic Additions- pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers
  Introduced Species- competitors, predators, diseases
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #3 Due Tuesday
 CEAP Outline Due Thursday

Part III.
Week 5
  Crop Management Strategies- Sustainability
  Crop Management Strategies- Organic Farming
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #4 Due Tuesday

Week 6
  Crop Management Strategies- Biological Control
  Ecological Traps
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #5 Due Tuesday
 News and Views Papers Due Thursday

Week 7
  Game Management
  Guest Lecture- ODFW
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #6 Due Tuesday

Part IV.
Week 8
  Agro-Environmental Schemes
  Government and Market Incentives
  Journal Club
  Rhetorical Précis #7 Due Tuesday
  CEAP Rough Drafts Due Thursday

Week 9
  Government and Market Disincentives- a Farmer’s Perspective
  Missing pieces- Data Gaps, Misconceptions

Week 10
  EcoAgriculture in the Mainstream
 CEAP Final Projects Due
FW 435/535 – Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems

Additional Information:

Academic Misconduct-
Academic misconduct includes cheating, fabrication of information (i.e. references, data
or plagiarism), or assisting someone else with these activities. Any breaches of conduct
in these areas are grounds for a grade of “F” and a report filed with the university. This
will be a mark against your permanent record at Oregon State University. The full policy
and definitions may be found at

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. This is an offense that is often committed unknowingly,
but ignorance will not be an acceptable defense. Educate yourself by visiting an OSU
produced website explaining what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it: You will receive
ZERO points on an assignment that has plagiarized material. I do not mess around with
this. I suggest you do the same.

For students with disabilities-
If you require any special accommodations for academic activities, I will make every
effort to meet your needs. There is a range of services available to students with
disabilities, and there are set policies for setting up accommodations. If you believe you
are eligible for any special accommodations, you need to contact the Services for
Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 541-737-4098. Students with needs that have been
approved by SSD are responsible for contacting me no later than the first week of class to
we can make appropriate arrangements. For further information on the rights and
responsibilities of disabled students, please see the website

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