Advancing society’s stewardship of the environment
Cornell University has a long and distinguished history in the fields of wildlife conservation and forest ecology and management, hosting the first New York State College of Forestry in the early 1900s. Our mission is to create knowledge and facilitate learning that will advance society’s stewardship of the environment. To pursue of our mission, faculty and students in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment engage in basic and applied research of ecological processes at scales from organisms to ecosystems that provide a framework for investigating important aspects of human-accelerated environmental changes. Efforts occur locally, regionally, and at national and international levels. A strength of the department is the integration of our ecological knowledge with social science research to address important questions that provide insight into community-based resource management, habitat impacts, and climate change.
We guide students in systems-thinking at levels ranging from genes to ecosystems, and from individual actors to institutions and cultures, as well as toward expanded perspectives to address problems whose solutions reside at multiple scales. Examples of current programs in terrestrial ecology include conservation biology, invasive species management, biodiversity, and agroforestry in systems that range from forests to estuaries and wetlands. Examples of current programs in wildlife ecology include population management, behavioral ecology and habitat conservation using approaches that include quantitative models, conservative genetics, and community dynamics. Coursework for undergraduate and graduate students combines ecological and social science principles in an active-learning environment.