Final grades posted

I just posted final grades to PeopleSoft. I'm not sure how long it will take the system to process them and make them available, but you should be able to see them soon.

Thank you for a great semester. I learned a lot from you, and I hope that the reverse is also true. Best wishes for a happy holiday season. If you are traveling, please travel safely.

Final set of lecture notes

I've posted the final set of lecture notes to the course website. In these last two lectures we enter the realm of non-economic values, ethics and aesthetics. It would be especially useful for you to take a look at the readings for tomorrow before lecture if you can. Even more important, I've linked to PDF and HTML versions of Aldo Leopold's "The land ethic" from Thursday's lecture page. If you've never read it before, please read it carefully before lecture on Thursday. Even if you have read it before, please read it again. I first read it more than 40 years ago, and it shaped my thinking about conservation and conservation values more than anything else I've ever read.

Please remember to evaluate me!

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Please remember to log on to the Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) site and submit your evaluation for the course. As you can see from the screen shot above, more than half of you haven't submitted an evaluation yet. I can't tell who has and who hasn't submitted an evaluation, so if you don't submit one, there's no way that can affect your grade, but I'd really appreciate the feedback.

And just as a reminder, I won't be able to see any of the evaluation results until after grades have been turned in, so please be as honest as you can be. No matter how much I may find your opinion painful, I'll be able to do a better job in the future only if you tell me what I've done wrong now.

Links from today's class

Thank you so much, everyone, for another wonderful discussion. I certainly learned some things from this experience & I hope it was fruitful for you as well. I am posting the links that I would have shown if the projector were working. But also, please send me the links to the papers you found, so others can view those too.


protected species as protein sources for some:

the random video I mentioned where the hippos ate all of the tomatoes:

Annette's reference on introducing falcons into vineyards:

Ellie's reference on community-based conservation in Nepal:

Jim's reference on problems with accountability & motivation of stakeholders:

Jean-Luc's reference about incorporating citizen science:

Your evaluations of me

By now you should have received an invitation to evaluate this course. In fact, I know that at least two of you received the invitation, because there are already two responses. Don't worry. I won't see any of the responses until after grades are turned in. So you can be as honest as you need to be. Please do be as honest as you can and let me know of anything I can do in the future to improve the course. It won't help you any, but students in 2017 will thank you for your honesty.

Ecosytem services

I've posted notes on ecosystem services for Tuesday's class meeting. Before we start discussing them, though, I want to spend the first 10-15 minutes (maybe longer) discussing the class exercise that Holly led on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. I know it happened more than a week ago, but please try to remember the significant issues that came up and let's spend some time discussing them at the beginnng of class on Tuesday.

Habitat loss and biodiversity loss

I mentioned the use of species-area relationships to estimate rates of species loss several times since the start of the semester. I mentioned at least once, but probably only once, endemic area relationships. There's a new paper in Nature Communications that compares the two approaches using global data sets. I've only read the abstract, but I'm pretty sure this paper will play a prominent role in lectures the next time I give this course.

On the decline of biodiversity due to area loss
Petr Keil, David Storch, and Walter Jetz
Predictions of how different facets of biodiversity decline with habitat loss are broadly needed, yet challenging. Here we provide theory and a global empirical evaluation to address this challenge. We show that extinction estimates based on endemics-area and backward species-area relationships are complementary, and the crucial difference comprises the geometry of area loss. Across three taxa on four continents, the relative loss of species, and of phylogenetic and functional diversity, is highest when habitable area disappears inward from the edge of a region, lower when it disappears from the centre outwards, and lowest when area is lost at random. In inward destruction, species loss is almost proportional to area loss, although the decline in phylogenetic and functional diversity is less severe. These trends are explained by the geometry of species ranges and the shape of phylogenetic and functional trees, which may allow baseline predictions of biodiversity decline for underexplored taxa.
Nature Communications 6, Article number 8837. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9837

Links from today's class

Revised notes

I revised the notes on economic approaches to valuing biodiversity by adding a brief discussion of "utility." The notes probably won't make the concept very clear by themselves, but we'll do an in-class exercise on Tuesday that I hope will help. Please come prepared to answer a brief anonymous survey.

Valuing biodiversity - economics

I just posted notes for tomorrow's lecture. If you've been paying close attention, you'll see that I rearranged the lecture schedule a little bit. I've moved our discussion of ecosystem services to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It will make more sense there.