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Department of Natural Resources Management

Department of Natural Resources Management 

Dr. Joshua L. Sloan, Department Chair and Associate Professor, Interim
Ivan Hilton Science Center, Room 335
Phone: 505-454-3208 Fax: 505-454-3103
E-mail: jlsloan@nmhu.edu


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Fall Admission

Applications are due no later than the first Friday in February.

Spring Admission

Applications are due no later than the first Friday in September.


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About

The Department of Natural Resources Management (NRM) Department offers an MS Natural Science degree with concentrations in Environmental Science & Management and Geology. The concentrations share a core set of foundational courses after which students develop individualized programs of study (course work plus independent research) that incorporate each student’s distinctive background, educational goals, and career objectives. Students gain experience in the design, execution, and reporting of scientific research by completing a master’s thesis (thesis option) or an independent study/research project (non-thesis option).  The MS Natural Science degree provides a unique opportunity for students to broaden their educational experience to include courses from fields they are less likely to encounter at traditional graduate programs as they prepare for employment in industry, government, or education or entry into doctoral programs.

The NRM Department also offers a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) graduate certificate. GIS is a computer-based database management system for capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial data. The GIS certificate program provides students with a basic proficiency with cutting edge GIS technology that can immediately be applied in the workplace, a highly marketable skill-base when seeking employment, and/or skills for pursuing an advanced degree in GIS. Students who complete the GIS certificate program are prepared to map data for decision-making in business, environmental protection, risk assessment, utility planning and management, emergency response, land use planning, transportation planning, delivery route planning, real estate, crime prevention, and other areas.

Master of Science in Natural Science


Faculty

James Biggs, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Blanca Cespedes, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Craig Conley, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Jennifer Lindline, Ph.D. (Geology)
Edward A. Martinez, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Michael S. Petronis, Ph.D. (Geology)
Kyle Rose, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Joshua L. Sloan, Ph.D. (Forestry)
Joseph P. Zebrowski (Geographic Information Science, Forestry)


Concentration in Environmental Science and Management

Required Core Courses: 15 credit hours

FORS 5250 Field Safety Practices (1)

BIOL 6000 Research Methods in Life Science (3)

FORS 6200 Advanced Topics in Natural Resource Management (2/2)*

FORS 6250 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Natural Resource Management (3)

FORS/BIOL 6500 Graduate Seminar in Life Science (1/1/1/1)**

*Repeated for credit with different subject matter for a total of 4 credits.

**Repeated 4 times for a total of 4 credits.

 

Thesis or Independent Study/Independent Research Credits

Thesis Option:

FORS 6990 Thesis (VC 1-7)*

*Students register for thesis until complete which may exceed the one credit-hour minimum. No more than 7 thesis credits can be counted towards the student’s program of study.

Students choosing the thesis option are required to form a thesis advisory committee and submit a program of study and thesis proposal within the first semester of study. Students are further required to complete a written thesis, following the guidelines established in the Graduate Handbook, and present the thesis orally to the thesis committee.

Non-Thesis Option:

FORS 6900: Independent Study (3)

OR

FORS 6920: Independent Research (3)

Students choosing the non-thesis option are required to form an independent study/independent research advisory committee and submit a program of study and independent study/independent research proposal within the first semester of study. Students are required to submit a written document and present an oral presentation of the independent study/independent research to the advisory committee. Students are also required to pass a comprehensive exam with a grade of 75% or greater. The exam is to be compiled by the student’s committee chair with questions submitted by faculty who taught courses within the student’s program of study. The advisory committee chair will administer the exam and the exam will be graded by the faculty who contributed the questions.

 

Elective Credit Requirements:

Students are required to take a minimum of 12 (thesis) and 22 (non-thesis option) elective courses. With the advice and consent of an adviser, students choose 5000- and 6000-level courses offered in forestry, geology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, or other appropriate disciplines to develop their program of study.

Degree Total:

Thesis: ≥ 34 credit hours

Non-Thesis: ≥ 40 credit hours


Concentration in Geology

Required Core Courses: 15 credit hours

FORS 5250 Field Safety Practices (1)

BIOL 6000 Research Methods in Life Science (3)

GEOL 6220 Advanced Topics in Geology (2/2)*

FORS 6250 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Natural Resource Management (3)

GEOL 6500 Graduate Seminar in Life Science (1/1/1/1)*

*Repeated for credit with different subject matter for a total of 4 credits.

**Repeated 4 times for a total of 4 credits.

 

Elective Courses: ≥12 credit hours

Students, with the advice and consent of the adviser, choose from 5000- and 6000-level courses in geology, forestry, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or other appropriate disciplines to bring the total number of credits to at least 34 semester hours.

Thesis: 1 credit hour minimum

 

GEOL 6990 Thesis (VC1-7)*

*Students register for thesis until complete which may exceed the one credit-hour minimum. No more than 7 thesis credits can be counted towards the student’s program of study.

Degree Total: ≥34 credit hours

 


Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Undergraduate Prerequisite:

GEOL 1110 Survey of Earth Science (4)

FORS 1010 Humans and Ecosystems (4)

POLS 1120 American National Government (3)

ANTH 1140 Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology (3)

 

Required Courses (15 credit hours):

FORS 5120 Surveying & Geographic Info System (4)

GEOL 5180 Advanced GIS (4)

GEOL 5150 Remote Sensing (4)

GEOL 5940 Capstone Seminar (3)

Certificate Total: 16 credit hours


Forestry (FOR), Courses in

FORS 5000 Surface Hydrology (3); Alt, Sp, Even

This is a course designed for graduate students in earth sciences and natural resources management. The course combines a qualitative conceptual understanding of hydrologic process, an introduction to the quantitative representation of those processes, and an understanding of approaches to hydrological measurements and the uncertainties involved in those measurements. Previous NMHU FOR 500.

 

FORS 5020 Silviculture (3); Sp

Silviculture is the set of practices to grow and manage trees. The course focuses on the factors affecting tree growth, tree stand dynamics and health, and the impact of management on ecosystem values. The ecological practices to sustainably produce forest products are emphasized. Previous NMHU FOR 502.

 

FORS 5050 Wildland Fire Management (3); Var

This is a course on the behavior of wildfires in forest and range ecosystems. The course reviews methods for fuel load assessment, fire weather prediction, fire suppression, and prescribed fire. Contrasts will be made between the costs and benefits of fires on ecosystem and humans. Previous NMHU FOR 505.

 

FORS 5080 Limnology (4); 3, 2; Alt, Fa, Even

This course is a study of the interrelationships among plants, animals, and environmental factors in aquatic ecosystems. The course is field oriented and concentrates on the development of sampling techniques and the analysis of biotic and abiotic components of nearby lakes and streams. Previous NMHU FOR 508.

 

FORS 5100 Forest Management (3); Fa

This course focuses on the economic and scientific decisions for large tracts of land and multiple types of forest stands. The elements of planning management activities to create the least costs and greatest benefits to a landowner are explored. Previous NMHU FOR 510.

 

FORS 5110 Mensuration and Biometrics (4); Fa

Mensuration is the practice of measuring lengths and angles. Biometrics is the set of techniques for measurement and analysis of biological phenomena. Together, these topics provide a comprehensive overview of measurement and analysis techniques used in forestry and natural sciences. Previous NMHU FOR 511.

 

FORS 5120 Surveying and Geographic Information Systems (4); 3, 2 Fa, Sp

Surveying is the determination of boundaries and positions on the earth’s surface. Geographic information systems are geospatially referenced databases that relate positions of objects to associated data and properties. The course explores the application of these technologies to forestry and geology problems. Previous NMHU FOR 512.

 

FORS 5130 Ecological & Environmental Monitoring (3); Var

Monitoring is the observation of treatment effects on the conditions of natural and human systems over time. Many systems are monitored for pollutants and regulatory compliance, adverse outcomes of environmental management practices, and to determine trends in animal and plant populations. The course explores roles of monitoring in environmental management and ecology, considerations in designing monitoring programs, sampling methodologies for soil conditions, water quality, animal and plant populations, and responses to treatments, and uses of monitoring results. Previous NMHU FOR 513.

 

FORS 5150 Dendrology (3); 2, 2 Fa

Dendrology is the study of trees and woody vegetation. The course will first look at tree and shrub identification with associated botanical nomenclature. The second portion of the course examines the structure and function of trees and woody vegetation. A collection of local trees and shrubs is a requirement of the course. Previous NMHU FOR 515.

 

FORS 5160 Soil Science (4); Fa

This course provides students with basic soil science concepts. The physical, chemical, and ecological properties of soils are applied to soil classification, genesis, fertility, productivity, irrigation, and erosion. Previous NMHU FOR 516.

 

FORS 5170 Watershed Management (4); 3, 2 Alt, Fa, Even

This course emphasizes the interdisciplinary characteristics of watershed management and the need to incorporate physical, chemical, biological and socioeconomic factors when planning and implementing natural resource programs to achieve sustainable, environmentally sound natural resource development. Previous NMHU FOR 517.

 

FORS 5200 Wildlife Habitat Management (3); Sp

This course explores principles and practice of wildlife management; with emphasis on habitat, distribution, abundance and legal considerations. Previous NMHU FOR 520.

 

FORS 5220 Forest Pathology (3); Var

This course is a survey of the beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms found in forests. Particular focus will be on pathogens that reduce commodity value and stand productivity, and microorganisms that have beneficial effects in forested ecosystems. Methods of detection and response to pathogen infestations will be examined. Previous NMHU FOR 522.

 

FORS 5250 Field Safety Practices (1); Fa

This course provides training to graduate students in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s heavy equipment and field operations regulations, safe practices for field workers, and risk management and liability issues surrounding field work by various types of personnel. Field Safety Practices is required for natural resources management graduate students. Graduate students will prepare a field risk-management plan for their thesis work. Previous NMHU FOR 525.

 

FORS 5280 Forest Entomology (3); Var

This course is an introduction to the study of arthropods and insects. Particular focus will be on arthropods that reduce commodity value, threaten human and animal health, or have beneficial effects. Methods to manipulate arthropod population to achieve management objects are discussed. Previous NMHU FOR 528.

 

FORS 5310 Terrestrial Ecology (4); Var

The ecology of natural and artificial groups of terrestrial organisms used in the production of goods and services is the focus of this course. Course topics include biological productivity, vegetation dynamics, biodiversity, range ecosystems, forest ecosystems, and pest populations. Previous NMHU FOR 531.

 

FORS 5350-6350 Selected Topic in Natural Resources Management (1-4 VC); Var

Course in topic(s) in natural resources management. May be repeated with change of content. Previous NMHU FOR 535-635.

 

FORS 5400 Integrated Natural Resources Management (3); Var

This course is an introductory course to the broad field of natural resources management for graduate students who do not have a resource management background. The course will cover the ecological and biological underpinnings of agriculture, forestry, range management, watershed management, and ancillary fields, as well as the decision-making processes that are utilized. Natural resources management will be placed in the context of broader societal mandates and concerns about natural, environmental, and cultural resources. Previous NMHU FOR 540.

 

FORS 5530 Toxicology in Life Science (4); 3, 2 Var

Toxicology studies the effects of chemical substances on the health of organisms and ecosystems. Toxic substances from industrial activities have wide ranging effects on natural systems at long distances from sources. Moreover, toxic substances are utilized in health care, agriculture, forestry, wildlife management, and fisheries to manipulate populations of pests. This course explores the basic principles of toxicology, and application of toxicology to life science and environmental problems. Previous NMHU FOR 553.

 

FORS 5610 Atmospheric Science (3); Var

Atmospheric science embeds the disciplines of meteorology, climatology, and air pollution regulation and management. The structure and dynamics of the atmosphere will be explored with an emphasis on air pollutant dispersion. The linkage of atmospheric dynamics to biotic, geologic, aquatic and marine systems phenomena will be highlighted. Previous NMHU FOR 561.

 

FORS 5890 Applied Ecology and Environmental Restoration (3); Alt, Fa, Even

This course explores ecological principles applied to solving environmental problems including pest and biological resource management, conservation biology, environmental planning, impact assessment, remediation, reclamation and ecological restoration. Previous NMHU FOR 589.

 

FORS 6020 Environmental Assessment (NEPA) (2); Var

This course explores principles and practice of the science and art of assessing environmental impacts of various stress agents in the environment. It includes consideration of the legal framework (e.g., National Environmental Policy Act), various approaches to prediction and assessment of environmental impacts, and factors entering environmental decision making. Previous NMHU FOR 602.

 

FORS 6200 Advanced Topics in Natural Resource Management (2); Var

This course is an in-depth consideration of a specific topic of interest to faculty and graduate students. Subject matter will vary from semester to semester, and, the course may be repeated for credit. Previous NMHU FOR 620.

 

FORS 6250 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Natural Resource Management (3); Fa

The course provides hands-on experience with the analysis and design of experiments and observational studies. Parametric and nonparametric techniques commonly utilized in the analysis of ecological, biological, and environmental data sets will be explored. Students will gain familiarity with the use of spreadsheets and statistical software programs for data analysis. Previous NMHU FOR 625.

 

FORS 6300 Vegetation Analysis and Management (3); Var

Vegetation analysis entails the methods to measure and characterize plant communities and associations. These techniques are useful in habitat typing and the recognition of sensitive systems. The other aspect of the course are the techniques that are commonly utilized to manage vegetation, both desirable and undesirable. Economic and social considerations in vegetation management are also discussed. Previous NMHU FOR 630.

 

FORS 6400 Recreational Resource Management (2); Var

This course explores the fundamentals of managing recreation on or near public lands to minimize disruption of natural ecosystems and cultural artifacts. Recreation is currently the greatest social and monetary use of public lands in the United States. Natural resource managers are often involved with teams to analyze and mitigate adverse impacts from pack stock in wilderness areas, off-road vehicles, heavy pedestrian traffic, campgrounds, trails, and unwanted vegetation and animals. People with a background in recreational resource management are involved in local, state, and federal parks and monuments, and public lands with recreational uses. Previous NMHU FOR 640.

 

FORS 6900. Independent Study (1-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Independent study arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU FOR 690.

 

FORS 6920. Independent Research (1-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Independent research arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU FOR 692.

 

FORS 6990. Thesis (1-7 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Individual research and writing in preparation of a graduate thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU FOR 699.


Geology (GEOL), Courses in

This course is designed to raise students’ awareness about rock and mineral resource occurrences and the policies in place to protect public and private lands from hard rock mining impacts. The course briefly covers the nature and origin of the Earth’s rock and mineral resources, methods of resource extraction, and impacts on the environment. The course thoroughly covers the major types of regional and federal environmental policies, discusses the roles of the major players in the public policy process, and considers how to use science to inform the debate and remediate or lessen mining impacts. The class will study the 1872 Mining Law, which grants free and open occupation, exploration, and purchase of public lands to U.S. citizens as well as the 1993 New Mexico Mining Act that improved regulation of mining at the state level. Selected New Mexico hard rock mining cases and issues relevant to the Southwest will also be reviewed. Previous NMHU GEOL 512.

 

GEOL 5150. Remote Sensing and Analysis (4); 3, 2 Fa

Remote sensing is a technique used to collect data about the Earth without taking a physical sample of the Earth’s surface. A sensor is used to measure the energy reflected from the earth. This information can be displayed as a digital image or as a photograph. This class provides students with an understanding of remote sensing theory, applications, and case studies, conceptual and working knowledge of airborne and satellite remote sensing and image processing. Students will be able to acquire data, process the images, create appropriate data, analyze the accuracy of the results, and utilize the data for specific applications. Prerequisites: FORS 4120, MATH 1220 with at least a C or better, or permission of instructor.  Previous NMHU GEOL 515.

 

GEOL 5180. Advanced Geographic Information Systems (4); 3, 2 Sp

A geographic information system (GIS) is a scheme of hardware, software, and procedures designed to support the capture, management, manipulation, analysis, modeling and display of spatially referenced data for solving complex planning and management problems. GIS applications are both spatial information (maps) and databases to perform analytical studies. The course will build upon knowledge and experience in GIS gained in the introductory course to provide students with an understanding of cartographic and geodetic concepts impacting GIS analysis, field data-collection techniques with global positioning systems and handheld computer mapping software, effective map design, and modeling topographic and statistical surfaces. Prerequisites: FORS 120, MATH 1220 with at least a C or better, or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU GEOL 518.

 

GEOL 5210. Environmental Ground Water Hydrology (4); Alt, Sp, Even

This course is a study of the origin, movement, method of entrapment, and removal of subsurface waters. Course includes extensive discussion of problems associated with ground water pollution and remediation. Previous NMHU GEOL 521.

 

GEOL 5220. Genesis and Environmental Impact of the Earth’s Resources (3); Var

This course is a study of the distribution, mineralogy, classification, modes of occurrence, and economic implications to industry and world affairs of mineral deposits. Previous NMHU GEOL 522.

 

GEOL 5240. Environmental Geophysics (4); Alt, Fa, Even

How do we know about structures in the subsurface without digging of drilling? Is water present? How deep is bedrock? Where are those buried drums of hazardous waste? Is there anything buried here of prehistoric value? There is only one way to find these things out: geophysics. Lectures and class discussions will develop the basic principles of each method (gravity, magnetic, paleo-magnetic, seismic, resistivity, and electromagnetic techniques). Group cooperation on weekly assigned exercises and field reports is encouraged, and an individual or small group research project on a topic (or topics) of interest is required. Previous NMHU GEOL 524.

 

GEOL 5250. Geomorphology (4); 3, 2 Alt, Sp, Odd

Geomorphology is the study of landforms. The emphasis in this class is on the physical, chemical, and biological processes, which create and modify landforms. Nonetheless, an understanding of the history of landforms, and the climatic and tectonic conditions that influence landform evolution, are also essential to understanding the form of the Earth’s surface. Previous NMHU GEOL 525.

 

GEOL 5320. Environmental Geochemistry (4); 3, 2 Alt, Sp, Even

Environmental Geochemistry is a study of the chemistry of the Earth, including mineral mobility, cosmo-chemistry, chemical weathering, diagenesis, igneous and metamorphic chemistry, stable isotopes, pollution, and the thermodynamics and kinetics associated with these systems. Previous NMHU GEOL 532.

 

GEOL 5350. Selected Topic in Geology (1 – 4 VC); Var

Course in topic or topics in geology. May be repeated with change of content. Previous NMHU GEOL 535.

 

GEOL 5920. Independent Research (1 – 4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Individual, directed research arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU GEOL 592.

 

GEOL 5940. GIS Capstone Seminar (3); Fa, Sp

Individual, directed research study arranged with an instructor. Students will conduct an independent research project involving GIS and/or remote sensing analysis applied to a subject of study associated with their discipline. Each student will present a written report and applied GIS project to his or her mentor. All students will be responsible for demonstrating how GIS technology has enabled them to more effectively address a spatial problem. Prerequisites: FORS 5120, GEOL 5150 Remote Sensing and Analysis, and GEOL 5180 Advanced GIS. Previous NMHU GEOL 590.

 

GEOL 6000. Environmental Mineralogy (3); Var

This course explores an emerging topic that combines the studies of mineralogy and environmental science. Topics cover the physical and chemical properties of minerals and how scientists are applying mineralogy to serious environmental problems caused by human activity. Numerous environmental case studies will be explored. Previous NMHU GEOL 600.

 

GEOL 6200. Clay Mineralogy (4); 3, 2 Var

This is a lecture and laboratory course. The lecture provides an in-depth survey of the structures, classification, genesis, weathering, and importance of clay minerals in controlling nutrient uptake, influencing the plastic properties of earth materials and retarding the mobility’s of contaminants in the environment. Weekly laboratory time will be dedicated to providing X-ray safety training, covering principles of X-ray diffraction, and utilizing a powder X-ray diffractometer for qualitative and quantitative clay analysis. Previous NMHU GEOL 620.

 

GEOL 6220. Advanced Topics in Geology (2); Var

This course is an in-depth consideration of a specific geology topic of interest to faculty and graduate students.  Subject matter will vary from semester to semester, and the course may be repeated for credit.

 

GEOL 6500. Seminar (1); Var

Seminar course in a topic or topics in Geology. May be repeated with change of topic. Previous NMHU GEOL 650.

 

GEOL 6900. Independent Study (1-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Independent study arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU GEOL 690.

 

GEOL 6920. Independent Research (1-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Individual, directed research arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.  Note: this course currently exists as GEOL 5920. Previous NMHU GEOL 692.

 

GEOL 6990. Thesis (1-7 VC); Fa, Sp, Su

Individual research and writing in preparation of a graduate thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU GEOL 699.

 


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 This major is under the College of Arts and Sciences