How to Build a Forest (BIO2131.01)

Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie

Bennington’s campus supports beautiful examples of temperate deciduous mixed hardwood forests. This class is a deep dive into forest ecology, land use change, and forest succession at a local scale. Students will explore the local forest community composition, structure, and function over the last 15,000 years and discuss the environmental conditions, disturbance dynamics, and biotic interactions responsible for the forest we have today. We will assess the current condition of the campus forests, practice plant identification skills, and look for signs of past disturbances to piece together the history of this place. We will use the “layer cake” model to incorporate many tiers including bedrock & surficial geology, topography & hydrology, human culture, plant biology, and climate into our understanding of local forest ecology.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Practice natural history observations and develop a sense of place in the forest on campus
2. Gain field skills in plant identification, forest ecology, and site assessment
3. Describe local forest composition, structure, and function, illustrate past iterations of this community, and understand the processes and disturbances behind local changes
4. Communicate research to different audiences in written and oral presentations

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Biology , Environment , Four Credit , Fully In-Person
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