A unit of Lasting Forests
Sustained forests; sustained profits
evolving since March 30, 1999


a distance-learning course for advanced students of

Modern Wild Faunal Resource Management

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Course Description

The major concepts of wildlife resource management with modern alternatives and options. Emphasizing forest wildlife resourses and its fundamentals, the course topics include theory development, wildlife-related enterprises, computer map applications and modeling, strategic studies, a total system paradigm, vertebrate pest damage management, an ecotourism alternative, and a dynamic land-use planning system. Advanced methods and approaches to wildlife resource management including analysis and design of managerial system. Exclusively a distance-learning course with extensive text supplied by the instructor and email-managed assignments and exam.

Prerequisite: Advanced ecology, forestry, biology, ecology, or environmental science; practical natural resource experience or other equivalent education; or permission of the instructor.

The Course Syllabus...is located below, but first ...

Welcome to the course called Modern Wild Faunal (or Wildlife) Resource Management. It is not a catchy title so I like to refer to it as Gamma Theory. I'll explain that later. I'm glad that you're visiting this site and I'll do whatever I can to make our time together useful, pleasant, and efficient for you. This is a text and work area that is equivalent to and suitable for a one-semester university graduate course. The open web unit is also available for working wildlife managers, for natural resource specialists who want to learn how to talk wildlife, for people who have been out of school a few years (a kind of review), or for people preparing to take my course.

Some will find scholarship support or encouragement. Colleagues at your destination can help find an apartment or house. I hope you will find the site useful, stimulating, and that it might result -- through you -- in major improvements in the way the wild faunal resource of the world (or even your backyard) is managed.

Hard to believe, I guess, but that is my real reason for offering the content of this website.

It's hard to know whom to trust these days. Check me out with a simple click, or ask around.

You complete assignments; I evaluate and comment on them. When you have completed the materials and feel ready and willing, then you take the final exam. Your score (if very high and with your permission) with its datewill be posted at this website.

I'd like to learn a little about you so that I can send email that may be useful and respond in special ways to your personal conditions, needs, and questions. I'm trying to become customer/student obsessed. I am not always at the computer so I will respond as quickly as possible. Do not hesitate to write in the space below. I read it all and enjoy hearing from people. My replies may be short, but they may be frequent until you get the ones that you need. Enter your name and Email address. (There is more space than is shown in the box. The words "wrap around.") Comments on your past resource-related experience and/or reasons for working with the Modern Wild Faunal Resource Management will be welcomed.

There is a person at the other end of this thing.

I hope you'll read the Preface to this web unit, this "hypermedium thing", and take a look at the Contents. Tell others about Modern Wild Faunal Resource Management. Consider studying it with another person. Questions about tests, quizzes, or the final exam?

The Conventional Parts of a Course Syllabus

Instructor: Robert H. Giles, Jr., Ph.D., Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0321.
Home Office- 504 Rose Avenue, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Phone: 540-552-8672

The course is available through the Northern Virginia Graduate Center. By linking to the Center you may find answers to questions about admission, registration, schedules, credits, etc.

A Letter to New Students in the Course. You may write to the instructor at any time. Call as needed.

There is no conventional text, only Forest Faunal Systems , a text on managing the fauna of the forest (with evident parallels) elsewhere. Also provided is Peculiar Manor, a book of essays on natural-resource-related topics by the instructor. Also provided as part of the course are abundant Web units . This vast resource for future professional uses is provided at no extra cost to you.

General Objectives

The objective of this course is to cause significant behavioral change in class participants so that they (1) more skillfully and rationally practice a systems approach to wild faunal resource management, and (2) begin to solve more creatively and accurately realistic wildland resource problems. A secondary objective is to cause the participants to evaluate a particular professional, technical, and ethical approach to modern, sophisticated, comprehensive resource management.

Grading: A to F or Pass-Fail

Course Outline and Approximate Percent of Content and Emphasis:

1 - Course Descriptions and Introductions 4
2 - Toward a Theory of Wildlife Resource Management 5
3 - Fundamental Concepts: Wildlife, Resources, Management, and General Systems 5
4 - General Systems Work and Decision Making 10
5 - Strategic Knowledge Bases 5
6 - Social Dimensions of Wildlife Resource Management 10
7 - Wild Fauna Population Concepts 10
8 - Faunal Space 20
9 - Natural Resource Enterprises 20
10 - Dynamic Planning Systems 10
11 - Evaluations and Exam 1

Each of the above is outlined with Assignments.

Wildlife no longer has singular meaning and management means little or many things to most people. Conservation Biology, a phrase in search of a definition, is narrow in scope. Concepts of game management and wildlife management of the 1930's have been powerful but many have been revised, replaced, or recently usurped by Conservation Biology, Landscape Ecology, and Environmental Economics. An alternative is needed. The proposed alternative is simply modern wild faunal resource management. It, however, is without theory or a centralizing concept and within the course we shall attempt to begin to develop such theory.

There is little precedence for determining the appropriate amount of time to spend on "distance-learning" courses such as this one. My tentative estimates are that a minimum of 120 hours of intensive efficient study should be devoted by the average student to the course to master the course content. This time is similar to 30 one-hour lectures and associated study time in current semester-long courses.(I shall welcome comments about the amounts each student actually spent (to aid future students).)

From one perspective, this is a "correspondence course" but it differs significantly because I am continually working on the course content and making it available to you instantly upon its completion. You get fairly immediate feedback to your assignments from me personally...and in some cases my responses are shared with the others in the class. The hyperlinks are new and create an educational medium that has little resemblance to former correspondence courses. There is far more material presented here for you than in any such course. Few people have the library resources made available here. The Internet opens additional doors, barely dreamed. Unfortunately, we cannot meet to discuss things face-to-face or to engage in group discussions. Also, you will not have typical on-campus access to the library for writing and study.

You are encouraged to maintain a complete "notebook" or set of computer files with a table of contents. (Cutting and pasting from the web, then using "find" has been effective for some students.) The notebook should reflect your efforts during the entire course. It should contain supplemental notes, ideas, reading notes, and elaboration on class experiences. All should be organized at the end of the course in a reasonable fashion, rarely in the sequence the material was encountered. It should be easily searched by your own personal procedures on your computer. New approaches are needed for taking notes when using the Internet and for rapidly returning to units later (as when taking an exam). You will one day see the utility of such personal notebooks or resources in your professional life. Few students can master the total material presented in the time we have available together. I want the opportunity for you to press your "learning-forgetfulness curve" back into shape for improved faunal system management. The notebook or files may also be necessary for use on the "open-book" exam.

This course is designed to encourage continuing education. Also, the course attempts to deal with high levels of management for the very intensively managed tract. This may be unrealistic, but it seems easier to fall back from the potential than it is to start at the "truly realistic" in all cases. In such cases the manager must wonder about the direction in which to build and also what techniques to use.

Great reliance must be placed on past courses. Where there are deficiencies, you are expected to regain strength. Working together is beneficial, but you must become self-reliant. Your future work will in all probability be very "individual" yet in many agencies teams are increasingly used. Gaining power to move the team is one objective of the course.

I encourage you to help me make the course all that it can possibly be for you. I expect your corrective feedback throughout.

My Email, RHGILES@VT.EDU is open to you. Please leave notes and I shall contact you. Send your assignments to me by email and I shall respond quickly. I'll welcome visits here in Blacksburg, Virginia. Also, call me at home at 540-552-8672 at reasonable times.

I shall make available much material on the Web and I shall supply basic computer programs (and perhaps others). You are responsible for having read, studied, and mastered the units. Most examinations will be based on your ability to use the material, as well as remember its presence and relevance. (Remembering that it does exist and where it is (or how to locate it within an index) will be important under certain stressful conditions).


Quizzes may be used but the assignments usually provide the interactions that we need. They may be used later. Quizzes provide me with valuable insight into how well we are doing together, and some people need and seem to appreciate some sort of pressure. Quizzes help students allocate limited resources (time) among competing demands (work, family, courses, and research).

Star Lights have also been provided. (Click on the sample Star Light).

Grading is a multidimensional problem and my tendency is to employ the following factors in assigning a final course grade.

The factors employed are:

  1. Completion of assignments (weighted, about 40% of the grade)
  2. Final exam grade (typically taken during a 2-5 hour period) (about 60%)
  3. Prior knowledge and experience of class members
  4. University grading scale of 91-100 = A, etc.
  5. The student's present or future employer's desire to learn of his or her performance
  6. Student's employability as a basis of grades
  7. Perceived needs of the wildlife profession
  8. Perceived amount of effort spent on each topic.

My objective is to cause behavioral change. My basis for evaluation is my perception of such change. Everyone's perception is limited; instruments and techniques for perceiving any system (in this case, the class) are limited. Your responsibility is to provide evidence of such change through class participation and full articulation of ideas and concepts for questions asked.

The criteria used to evaluate written class performance are:

  1. Clearness
  2. Conciseness
  3. Completeness
  4. Creativity
  5. Cooperation and assistance in learning experiences among class members by Email

Since increasing levels of abstraction and theoretical development are desired in the course, the greater our progress, the more difficult will be the evaluation of our progress. It is important to re-emphasize the significance of your responsibility in displaying such progress.

It is difficult to quantify all of the above and there are subtleties in many factors listed. The final course grade is a decision, not taken lightly by your instructor, but with full realization of the above factors and others. Numerical evidence is used, but, in the final analysis, the course grade is an instructor's decision. Failures to complete assignments are not excused; make full arrangement for any missed assignments by corresponding as soon as possible.

I've tried to provide some student orientation to the new characteristics of this course.

I shall try to answer questions about the course or syllabus. An outline of the course content that I intend to deal with during the course is included in the site. Do not hesitate to write an email to me or to use the space below. My answers may be short, but they may be frequent until you get the one that you need. Enter your name and Email address. (There is more space than shown in the box. The words "wrap around".) Of course you may send me a conventional message at any time.

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Last revision September 25, 2001.