Forest Ecology

Ecology, the study of the interactions of organisms and their environment, forms the essential foundation of the management and conservation of the world's ecosystems. This course examines basic ecological principles through the lens of forest ecosystems, exploring the theory and practice of ecology at various levels of organization from individuals to populations, communities and ecosystems. At each level we examine past and current theoretical advances and use case studies to evaluate the impacts of increasing human domination of global systems on forested ecosystems. The course covers diverse topics including global climate change; individual and population growth; community assembly; invasive species; biodiversity; and alteration of water, carbon and nutrient cycles. During two class periods per week we explore forest ecology through a combination of lecture, group learning and problem solving, and discussion. Labs include group research projects and trips to local natural areas, urban forests, and the north shore of Lake Superior. Lab sessions are designed to complement and reinforce material covered in regular class periods.

  • Class Time: 30% Lecture, 30% Laboratory, 20% Small Group Activities. Cooperative group learning activities. Laboratory involves field trips and data collection in forest around the metro area.
  • Work Load: 40 pages reading per week, 15 pages writing per term, 3 exams, 2 papers, 1 special projects. 1 group lab poster or oral presentation
  • Grade: 20% mid exam, 15% final exam, 35% reports/papers, 8% special projects, 2% quizzes, 2% in-class presentation, 13% class participation, 5% laboratory evaluation.
  • Exam Format: A mixture of definitions, multiple choice, matching, short and long essay


  • Biol 1001, 1009 or equivalent introductory biology course
  • 1 semester of college chemistry recommended.
Course ID
FNRM 3104
FNRM 5104
Semester Offered
Course Frequency
every year