Natural Resource & Water Management

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Natural Resource & Water Management

Sustainable management of natural resources is critical for achieving development goals, providing for citizens, and protecting ecosystems.

Changing land-use practices, chronic extraction mismanagement, and urbanization are among the major pressures that threaten availability and equitable distribution of natural resources. Through collaborations with local organizations, community groups, and others, SFS students and faculty research diverse management approaches and their applicability in the context of our Center.



The astonishing biodiversity of Australia’s rainforests makes Queensland an extraordinary laboratory for students to study natural resource and water management. Students consider the role of catchments (watersheds), riparian restoration, and connections between rainforest and reef. Management strategies developed here may serve as a model for conserving and restoring other rainforests around the world.


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Because most Bhutanese reside in rural areas and practice small-scale agriculture and forest product extraction, sustainable natural resource management is critical for achieving the country’s holistic development goals. Students conduct both social and biophysical research on natural resources and water management regimes and issues. We study community forest management and the opportunity it provides to improve local livelihoods.


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Though Costa Rica has a strong history of conservation and legal protection of natural resources, people’s health and livelihoods are being adversely affected by chronic mismanagement of resources and water. Students study the rapid conversion of rural agricultural landscapes into urban areas, the consequent loss and fragmentation of forests, and the increasing demand for water. Finding long-term solutions in sustainable practices is imperative for Costa Rica’s future.


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The rich natural resources of the Amazon region, and their proper management, have supported human populations for millennia, including indigenous groups who still live in these forests. Today, increasing extractive activities threaten the unique ecosystems, habitats, and species through urban and peri-urban development, road installation, destructive logging, unregulated mining, and high-input agriculture. Students study the impacts of the rapidly changing demands on natural resources in order to help promote the sustainable management of the unique and globally-important Amazon.


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Permanent homesteads and extensive agriculture have exerted a great deal of pressure on the region’s natural resources, including water and wildlife populations. Students participate in evaluating and promoting the management of wildlife and other natural resources, which contributes to longstanding conservation efforts and helps to reduce conflict between humans and wildlife. Students visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area to learn about the role and challenges of the multiple-use conservation model, which includes communities in conservation and management of natural resources.


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