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A Struggle for Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam in China is one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, providing energy for millions of people. However, the dam's constru ...


A Tale of Twin Towns

This case study presents the fictional tale of two neighboring towns that have recently experienced a growth boom and are now suffering the environ ...


Can Suminoe Oysters Save Chesapeake Bay?

This dilemma case explores the controversy over introducing non-native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay as a means of improving its ecological and eco ...


Cancer Cure or Conservation

This case is based on the controversy that surrounded harvesting of the Pacific yew from 1989 to 1997 to develop paclitaxel (Taxol), a revolutionar ...


Carbon Balance of Forest Thinning and Bioenergy Production

This interrupted case study introduces students to the concept of carbon storage and how land management decisions can affect this vital ecosystem ...


Cauldron of Democracy

This case study explores the controversy surrounding Yellowstone bison (Bison bison) and the relationship between wildlife management and ...


Community-Based Management and Conservation in Africa

Niko lives in Namibia and is about to attend a community meeting at which the fate of his family's re-settlement will be decided. He is not sure wh ...


Complexity in Conservation

Conservation biology focuses on the scientific study and practice of preventing biodiversity loss. Many complex sociocultural factors affect the su ...


Cooling Off a Warming Planet

This role-playing case on climate change policy is designed to engage student groups in parallel discussions on policy instruments and packages for ...


Corn Ethanol Debate

To what extent should corn be used for the production of ethanol? Are we better off producing corn for food or producing corn for fuel? This case s ...


Could Grazing Be Dangerous? Ask the Cows!

This case study introduces important issues related to invasive species and noxious weeds that have particular ecological and agricultural importan ...


Dead Fish in Bear Pond

This interrupted case study introduces students to the complexity of understanding natural variation in ecosystems through time in the absence of l ...


Dengue in the Landscape

This interrupted case engages students in issues contributing to the increase of dengue fever in Jamaica. The overall goal of the case is to make c ...


Do Corridors Have Value in Conservation?

This case study discusses conservation corridors as a means to reduce the problems of population size and isolation in a fragmented habitat. In an ...


Does the Matrix Matter?

In this case study, students apply principles of landscape ecology, experimental design, and data interpretation to examine alternative explanation ...


Dredge Today, Restore Tomorrow

In this case study, students role-play members of a task force whose task it is to advise the Director of the National Park Service (their instruct ...


Endangered? The St. Croix River

Managing the St. Croix River has sparked tremendous controversy due to conflicting uses of the river. At risk is the water quality and aesthetic va ...


Exotics

This case examines the biological, ecological, social, political, and economic factors surrounding exotic species as well as the role of resource m ...


First in Flight, Last in Wetlands Preservation?

Developed for an introductory environmental studies course, this case study explores the ecological, economic, and legislative issues associated wi ...


From Prairies to Corn Fields for Fuel

With increasing U.S. government support for biofuel production in the late 2000s came increased pressure to convert more land to cornfields for eth ...


Grazing in Vernal Pools

This case study in restoration ecology utilizes two peer reviewed articles that ask a similar question about the effects of grazing in temporary we ...


Impacts of Climate Change on Pinyon Pine Cone Production

In this interrupted case study, students explore how changing climate may affect cone production in pinyon pine (Pinus edulis). Students b ...


Indigenous Knowledge and the Search for Medicine

This case study is based on a real scenario in which a high-profile ethnobotanical study in Chiapas, Mexico, ended when local and international org ...


Is Iron Fertilization Good for the Sea?

This case study describes experiments to seed the ocean with iron to encourage algae growth. It explores how human activities contribute to greenho ...


Kill the Aliens: Controlling Leafy Spurge

The majority of people in the world interact with nature in an urban setting. Management issues in urban parks tend to be more challenging than in ...


Losing the Farm

In this case study, students examine hydrologic characteristics of a real farm property in northwest Georgia and calculate the volume of storm runo ...


Making It Fit: Using Excel to Analyze Biological Systems

In this case, students read about a biologist who needs to determine how to analyze age-at-length data, a common situation in fisheries biology. Th ...


Mathematics in Conservation

This interrupted case study teaches probability theory and transmission genetics through their application to the conservation of the endangered Fl ...


Mildred Using Plants

The format for this case is unusual.  The PowerPoint of the "case" provides an in-class framework for working through all of the activities as ...


Mini Cases on Choosing Appropriate Statistical Tests for Ecological Data

This set of mini cases on the ecology of eastern cottontail rabbits is designed to give students practical experience using statistics in a scienti ...


Moving to Higher Ground: Ecosystems, Economics and Equity in the Floodplain

Healthy river systems serve a wide variety of functions, including recreation, crop production, and navigation. Effective floodplain management req ...


Oak Clearcutting

The topic of this debate case, developed for a course in “Issues in Environmental Biology,” is clear-cutting, a controversial method of ...


Of Silt and Ancient Voices

This case explores the complex and multifaceted resource management issues that arose when traditional Zuni Indian land and water use practices wer ...


Oil in the Amazon

In this case study, students participate in a game in which they assume the roles of various stakeholders in a proposed oil and gas proje ...


On a Wing and a Prayer

The essential elements of this dilemma case are based on a real-life wetland mitigation problem. A biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servic ...


One Glass for Two People

This case study focuses on the growing issue of water use rights in the southeastern United States. Approximately 1.3 million people in North and S ...


Pesticides

By simulating a public hearing, this case study requires that students sift through and organize information on pesticide use presented to them fro ...


Prairie Garden of Troubles

This "clicker case" was developed for a general biology course for non-majors. It focuses on prairie habitat ecology and restoration. Jim, a young ...


Responding to a Changing Climate

This case study uses a jigsaw activity to introduce students to four specific plant responses to climate change: elevational range shifts, phenolog ...


Response to Plant Invasion

This interrupted case study provides students with an opportunity to compare and contrast methods for controlling spotted knapweed, an invasive spe ...


Restoring Resilience: Changing the Landscape Legacy in Patagonia

Sheep ranching has destroyed habitat and decimated species in many areas of the world, but in Patagonia declining wool prices provide an opportunit ...


Salton, A Sea of Controversy

The Salton Sea is an “accidental” lake that receives used irrigation water from the Colorado River. Humans have profoundly altered the ...


Seeing the Forest for the Trees

This case study has for its central theme the importance of tree size in both ecology and natural resource management and is designed to introduce ...


The Art of a Deal

This case is a classroom simulation of the types of negotiations that went into the Kyoto Protocol agreement on limiting global greenhouse gas emis ...


The Bear Facts

In this decision case, students consider the pros and cons of reintroducing grizzly bears into the northwestern United States as they learn about n ...


The Big Bad Wolf or Symbol of the American Wilderness?

Students enrolled in natural resource programs typically have classroom experience in science-based curricula with little exposure as to how to app ...


The Case of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Based on the disputed rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in April 2005, this interrupted case study tells the story of a fictional characte ...


The Dangers of Deicing

Loss of species richness is often due to anthropogenic activity. The global decline of amphibians is one such example. This case study examines the ...


The Demise of the Forest People

In this case study, the complexity of the Malaysian palm oil industry is examined through the perspective of various stakeholders, namely, villager ...


The Ecological Footprint Dilemma

Is it better to have a new parking lot on campus or use that space to develop a community garden? This is the issue presented in this "clicker cas ...


The Galapagos

Using problem-based learning and role-playing, students analyze the geological origins of the Galapagos Islands, their colonization, species forma ...


The Great Patagonia Land Grab

This PowerPoint case (~2.4 MB) was developed for an undergraduate, non-majors course in conservation biology. It explores the controversy surroundi ...


The Horseshoe Crab

This case study examines the population dynamics of the horseshoe crab, which is sometimes described as a “living fossil.” Students are ...


The Klamath Basin Water Crisis

In this case study, students examine global water shortage problems in the context of the current Klamath Basin water crisis. Two main perspectives ...


The Last Spruce Grove

This case study follows a drama that unfolded around a stand of Sitka spruce trees (Picea sitchensis) on Vancouver Island, British Columbi ...


The Mystery of the Missing Martens

This interrupted case study introduces basic modeling to investigate a decline in an American marten population on an island in Southeast Alaska. T ...


The Polar Bear of the Salt Marsh?

Polar bears are an iconic symbol of climate change, but regionally relevant examples of susceptible biota are needed to highlight how global forces ...


The Poop on Composting

This interrupted case study tells the story of Miles, a freshman in college, who volunteers to help with the composting program on campus. Miles is ...


The River Damned

In this dilemma case, Congresswoman Madeline Gibson must cast her vote on the fate of the lower Snake River dams. The stakeholders in this decision ...


The Value of a Wetland

This case study introduces students to the elements of a renewable resource management project. The issue of wetland drainage, for the purpose of i ...


The Wealth of Water

Many students take the availability of water for granted. This case study, which focuses on the Cochabamba water revolt in Bolivia, is designed to ...


To Be or Not To Be a Golf Course in Wimberley?

This interrupted case study examines the tensions that a small town in Texas faces between economic development and the preservation of a natural w ...


Unintended Consequences of Plant Domestication on Plant-Insect Interactions

This case study investigates how plant domestication sometimes produces unintended consequences for plant-insect interactions. The narrative follow ...


Unsustainable Use of the High Plains Aquifer

This case spotlights Great Plains water shortages by focusing on the High Plains Aquifer. This groundwater reservoir provides nearly a third of gro ...