What is FOR 750?

FOR 750 is the graduate class in ecological restoration that I have offered since 1993.

Why "750"?

At NC State, a 7xx course number denotes a course aimed at PhD level students (most graduate courses are taught at the 500 level).

What is the purpose of FOR 750?

The main objective is to cause you to think like a restorationist.

It is not a design course, you will not learn how to "do" a restoration project.

You will learn what restoration is, why it is done, why it should be done, how to determine how well it is done, and yes even a good bit of how to do it (though as I just said this is not a design class, didn't I?).

What will I do in FOR 750?

  1. Read. Then read some more. This is primarily a reading course. The readings change from semester to semester, but a look at last semester's reading list is instructive. The idea is that you will be familiar with the pertinent literature on restoration by the end of the semester.
  2. Listen to me ramble on about different aspects of restoration. I try to keep the lectures to a minimum.
  3. Listen to each other ramble on about restoration. You must be prepared each and every week to critique and discuss the assigned papers. Each student will also make a 15-20 presentation sometime during the semester on some topic in restoration that we would otherwise not cover in the class.
  4. Interact on-line with your classmates. Each student will develop a short case study of an ethical dilemma restoration, and the classmates will discuss these cases throughout the semester in an on-line forum.
  5. Go on field trips to see restoration in practice. We usually go out for a half-day one Saturday morning early in the semester. At the end of the semester, we will go out for an entire weekend together (leave crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, return late the next day).
  6. Complete two or three exercises in data manipulation, including a final project at the end of the semester that ties together many of the principles visited throughout the class.

So there's no textbook?

Nope. You'll spend enough printing out all of those papers. Most will be available as pdf. You might some of the papers from a student who took the class within the last year or two, the papers don't change all that much in just a couple of years.

Can anyone take FOR 750?


First, as a 700 level course it is limited to graduate students (advanced undergrads can enroll in 500 level courses).

Second, there are prerequisites. I expect you to know a good bit of plant community ecology before you arrive. Dr. Wentworth's courses in the Plant Biology department are excellent preparation. I expect you to know at least the basics of soil science. And I expect you to know the basics of statistics - hypothesis testing and analyses of variance. You are not going to be able to perform an equivalence test if you do not know how to perform a basic t-test.

So who does take FOR 750?

Class size varies from 5 to 15. Students come from several majors here at NC State, primarily Natural Resources, Biological and Agricultural Engineerig, Soil Science, and Landscape Architecture. There is also usually a student or three from the Masters of Environmental Management program at Duke University. The range of disciplines makes the class all the more fun (at least for me).

When does the course meet?

One night a week (usually Thursday night) for three hours (usually 6:00-9:00 though we sometime fiddle with the time to accomodate those students who fight rush hour traffic to get here).

Is this course graded?

Most definitely. Grades are typically not a problem for graduate students. But I will expect you to attend every weekly session after having read all the papers for that week, participate in class discussions, join us on that weekend field trip, and do a bang-up job on your data analysis assignments.