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ERSC303 - Conservation of Natural Resources

Course Details

Course Code: ERSC303 Course ID: 4746 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course examines the ways in which modern economies use and conserve natural resources, and how the use of those resources impacts the environment. Resources are defined not just by their physical properties. They are, in part culturally defined. This necessitates investigating how cultures conceptualize resources, how economies value resources and what political and social institutions have been created to manage resource use. The extraction and use of resources has consequences for societies and their physical environment. This course explores these consequences through a survey of the major categories of resources and the issues associated with their extraction, use and conservation. It also examines the prospects for establishing more sustainable resource management. (Prerequisite: GEOG103)


Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
06/29/20 - 12/04/20 12/07/20 - 01/31/21 Fall 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Afrer successfully completing this course, the student will be able to:

1. Explain how societies define and value natural resources (human populations, soil, water, forests, wildlife, climate, energy sources), and conservation priorities.
2. Define and discuss categories of natural resources, such as renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
3. Analyze the impact of human societies (i.e., population growth, economies) on resource use.
4. Explain sustainable resource use (i.e., air, water, land/soil) and major challenges involved in achieving resource conservation and sustainable societies.
5. Analyze the prospects of future energy resources and the roles in sustainable societies and conservation of natural resources.

Forum Assignments:

We can learn as much from each other and academic investigation as we will from the material. The purpose of the Forums is to develop our understanding of the weekly readings and forum topics. This participation is required. (WARNING: First Forum topic (Introduction) must be at least 250 words long. Your response must be submitted before the end of the first week, it is our way of confirming your attendance in the course. See instructions in classroom.)

For each forum, all students should respond to the forum topics indicated in the Forums area to express their understanding of the issue and ability to research academic information to add to the discussion. You are expected to provide a substantial comment of several well-written paragraphs in each forum. You are also required to post a substantial comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contributions. All sources must be cited correctly and posts must use appropriate writing styles and grammar for academic work. Criteria for evaluation will include proper application of concepts from the required readings. Statements such as “I agree” or “good post” will not count as a reply. The grading rubric is provided in the classroom.


There are 2 exams in this course. The format of the exams will be mainly short answer and essay questions. You may use the book during exams, although they will be constructed so that you must do the reading before you take the test. You may not use any other resource during exams, and using a resource other than the textbook is a violation of the university academic honesty policy. All answers must be in your own words.

Final Project (3 Assignments):

There is a 3-part series of Assignments culminating a quality 15-minute presentation, such as you might deliver in a professional or academic setting, on a problem related to the conservation of natural resources. Your topic should be specific enough for you to introduce it, describe it, examine issues, and assess potential solutions within the time allotted. You must reference at least 7 academic sources (peer-review papers). Being able to distill and present complex ideas is a vital skill for scientists to have, and one purpose of this presentation is to give you experience in doing this.

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at
Book Title:Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future, 10th ed - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
Publication Info:VS-Pearson
Unit Cost:$174.18
Electronic ISBN:9781269590785
Electronic Unit Cost:$37.80

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.