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Environmental Science and Ecology
On this page you will find several openly licensed Environmental Science and Ecology textbooks along with supplemental material, interactive simulations, and other resources.
Discipline-specific pages are not intended to be exhaustive, but to showcase content that may be of interest to faculty considering adopting open educational resources for use in their classes.
For more information about Creative Commons including license descriptions, please see the Creative Commons tab.
Environmental Biology by Matthew R. Fisher
Overview: This open textbook covers the most salient environmental issues, from a biological perspective. The text is designed for an introductory-level college science course. Topics include the fundamentals of ecology, biodiversity, pollution, climate change, food production, and human population growth.
Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation by Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin,
With “Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation”, first and second-year college students are introduced to this expanding new field, comprehensively exploring the essential concepts from every branch of knowledge – including engineering and the applied arts, natural and social sciences, and the humanities. As sustainability is a multi-disciplinary area of study, the text is the product of multiple authors drawn from the diverse faculty of the University of Illinois: each chapter is written by a recognized expert in the field.
Introduction to Environmental Science: 2nd Edition
This course uses the basic principles of biology and earth science as a context for understanding environmental policies and resource management practices. Our planet is facing unprecedented environmental challenges, from oil spills to global climate change. In ENSC 1000, you will learn about the science behind these problems; preparing you to make an informed, invaluable contribution to Earth’s future.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
Evaluate the diverse responses of peoples, groups, and cultures to environmental issues, themes and topics.
Use critical observation and analysis to predict outcomes associated with environmental modifications.
Demonstrate knowledge of the causes & consequences of climate change.
Apply quantitative skills to solve environmental science problems.
Demonstrate knowledge of environmental law and policy.
Design and critically evaluate experiments.
Interpret data in figures and graphs.
Survey of Environmental Science by Amanda Senft, Gwyneth Jones, Marina Brandon
This is a survey course in which we will discuss the science behind historical and current environmental issues. We will discuss the major threats to biodiversity and ecosystem function. We will study how human activities have affected the limited resources of our planet. We will learn how air, water and soil degradation have affected human health. Lastly, we will explore the emerging field of sustainability, what it means, and how it is being applied in today’s world.
Biological Invasions in Changing Ecosystems Vectors, Ecological Impacts, Management and Predictions
When organisms are deliberately or accidentally introduced into a new ecosystem a biological invasion may take place. These so-called ‘invasive species’ may establish, spread and ecologically alter the invaded community. Biological invasions by animals, plants, pathogens or vectors are one of the greatest environmental and economic threats and, along with habitat destruction, a leading cause of global biodiversity loss.
In this book, more than 50 worldwide invasion scientists cover our current understanding of biological invasions, its impacts, patterns and mechanisms in both aquatic and terrestrial systems.
The Bionarrative: The story of life and hope for the future
This book is for the general reader interested in the human place in nature and the future of civilisation. It is based on the biohistorical approach to the study of human situations. This approach recognises human culture as a new and extremely important force in the biosphere.
The book discusses the evolution of life and the essential ecological processes on which all life, including human civilisation, depend. It describes the conditions of life and ecology of humans in the four ecological phases in human history, with emphasis on the impacts of human culture on biological systems.
It explains how, as cultures evolved, they often came to embrace not only factual information of good practical value, but also assumptions that are sheer nonsense, sometimes leading to activities that caused unnecessary human distress or damage to local ecosystems. These are examples of cultural maladaptation. There have been countless instances of cultural maladaptation in human history.
The days of the fourth ecological phase of human history, the Exponential Phase, are numbered. Cultural maladaptations are now on a massive scale, and business as usual will inevitably lead to the ecological collapse of civilisation.
The only hope for the survival of civilisation lies in radical changes in the worldviews and priorities of the prevailing cultures of the world, leading to a fifth ecological phase — a phase in which human society is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life. This is called a biosensitive society. The book concludes with discussion on the essential characteristics of a biosensitive society and on the means by which the necessary cultural transformation might come about.
Strange Bedfellows: Science and Environmental Policy
2.103 explores the role of scientific knowledge, discovery, method, and argument in environmental policymaking from both idealistic and realistic perspectives. The course will use case studies of science-intensive environmental controversies to study how science was used and abused in the policymaking process. Case studies include: global warming, biodiversity loss, and nuclear waste disposal siting. Subject includes intensive practice in the writing and presentation of "position statements" on environmental science issues.
To Catch the Rain by Lonny Grafman
To Catch the Rain is targeted at makers – DIYers looking for practical solutions to water problems for themselves or their communities. The book also provides an excellent overview of rainwater harvesting for students and teachers in environmental science, sustainable design, international development and engineering.